Framework education ambassador to Latvia Daiga Brakmane was curious to find out more so she traveled to Finland and met with several key stakeholders in education. Read this week’s report to learn about the crucial role NGOs play for the success of the Finnish education system.

I visited Finland in October. I had the privilege to be part of a Latvian delegation visiting our well-known neighbor. I had heard a lot of good things about their education system and was very excited to finally learn more. What I found was extremely interesting. The opening talk for the conference was given by Sanna Rekola, an expert on global education and coordinator at KEPA.

KEPA is a Finnish umbrella organization, which brings together more than 300 NGOs active in areas such as global justice and sustainable development. It receives funding from a variety of sources like the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Most of the funding is project specific, which keeps the organization flexible and lean. KEPA has taken on the responsibility of maintaining a fertile working relationship between its organizations for a mutually beneficial learning process. One of the ways it does this is by organizing various trainings and platforms for the sharing of experiences.

What was particularly interesting to me was the fact that KEPA is also very active in the area of education, providing experienced practitioners, developing high-quality teaching materials and cooperating with schools on all levels. The Finnish government is generally quite open to various forms of cooperation with organizations of civil society. There are no national limitations on what can or can’t be used as teaching material, which gives teachers the freedom to choose the materials most suitable for their purposes. Students in Finland have the opportunity to do research with and receive support from various organizations. KEPA also provides professional development for teachers of various fields.

For more than a decade Sanna Rekola has also been actively involved in the preparation of teachers before they start teaching at school. Collaboration with universities occurs on special days of global education, in which KEPA’s participating organizations share their experiences and materials they’ve already developed and inform about opportunities for co-operation.

Under Sanna’s tutelage KEPA has recently launched a new initiative called Transformer 2030, which aims to train and support teachers to become agents for change for sustainable development. Here lifelong learning and global education come together.

So, let me summarize what we can learn from the example of KEPA. It goes to show that any education system needs significant public involvement, including non-governmental organizations, parents and student councils to be successful moving forward. The curriculum also needs public involvement which includes an open discussion of the content and guidelines set forth in it. Public confidence in the education system, education policy makers and practitioners is key.

Thank you for reading, if you’d like more information simply visit:

https://www.kepa.fi/english

and if you’d like to find out to what extent your teaching materials meet the guidelines of global education check out this link:

https://www.globaalikasvatus.fi/tiedostot/kepa-globa-2018-update-your-learning-materials-check-list-web.pdf

I hope you enjoyed reading this article and stay posted for more interesting news from the frontlines of the education revolution!

circumstances

The  trip was organized by the National Centre for Education in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Latvia, the Latvian National Commission for UNESCO, the Latvian Platform for Development Cooperation and the Global Education Network in Europe – GENE and the European Commission financial support.