How Finland Remains Immune to the Global Educational Reform Movement

Deans lecture series 2012

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About the lecture

This presentation describes the birth of the global educational reform movement, which has seen the emergence of an educational reform orthodoxy based on increased competition, more school choice, use of data from standardised tests to determine teacher pay, more prescription, and stronger accountability. Student assessments that measure academic performance at different points of schooling are one of the most visible products of this movement.

In this lecture, Dr Pasi Sahlberg will discuss some of the movement’s key implications, and suggests alternative policies and practices that have kept Finnish education system immune to these global influences. It warns that we should be cautious with the dominant supranational education policy discourses, and questions experiments underway in some of the systems most influenced by the global educational reform movement.

About the speaker

Pasi Sahlberg

Dr Pasi Sahlberg

Director General, CIMO (National Centre for International Mobility and Cooperation), Ministry of Education, Finland.

Dr Pasi Sahlberg is Director General of CIMO (National Centre for International Mobility and Cooperation) in the Ministry of Education, Helsinki, Finland. He received a Master of Science (Mathematics) from University of Turku and PhD from the University of JyvaskylÀ. He also has Teacher’s Diploma from the University of Helsinki.

He has global expertise in educational reforms, training teachers, coaching schools and advising policy-makers. He has worked as teacher, teacher-educator, policy advisor and director in Finland and served the World Bank (Washington, DC) and the European Commission (Torino, Italy) as an education expert. He is Adjunct Professor at the University of Helsinki and at the University of Oulu, and sits in the Board of Directors of the ASCD, International Association for the Study of Cooperation in Education (IASCE) and Centre for Continuing Education at the University of Helsinki. His fields of interest include educational change, school improvement, cooperative learning and international education policy.

He has published several books and more than one hundred articles in journals, research periodicals and magazines around the world. His forthcoming book, titled "Finnish Lessons: What can the world learn about educational change in Finland" will be published in December and will be available in Australia. More at