Finland’s Minister of Education and Science has been sharply followed by officials and journalists on her trip around South East Asia.
Minister of Education in Finland Krista Kiuru went to Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore in August 2013 to share experiences from the Finnish way of running the educational system. With the trip she also wished to find inspiration to how Finland can solve its future school related problems.
Her delegation included the Finnish ICT companies Rovio, who is the founder of the Angry Birds videogame, and Songhi, demonstrating the growing interest in South East Asia towards Finnish companies who operate in the education and training sector.
On Ms. Kiuru’s way around the region she has given plenty of interviews concerning the Finnish school system and how Finland manages to have some of the best resulted primary school pupils in the world.
In Indonesia she was interviewed by Jakarta Post about how Finland manages to spend a huge percentage of the national budget on education, while the rest of Europe suffers from economical crisis. She explained that it would be stupid to cut the education budget for the future generation of the country.
Furthermore she explained that the reason why Finland does not support elite schools is that in Finland they do not believe the teachers are able to see what skills a student might develop in the future, already in the early school years.
“We don’t believe that only the most highly qualified students will make the biggest difference to society. If we want to develop society as a whole, we have to educate the whole nation — even the least able,” she said to the Jakarta Post.
In Singapore Ms. Kiuru visited Rulang Primary School, where she met several Singapore officials, including Director-General of Education Ho Peng. Channel NewsAsia quoted her for saying following about exchanging educational experiences with Singapore:
“I definitely believe we can learn from you (Singapore). We cannot be one of the top-class education organizers if we don’t believe that we can develop the system (to) meet the future challenges,” she said.
Moreover Ms Kiuru said Finland could collaborate with Singapore on several areas, such as the sharing of Finnish educational technology expertise and exchanging tips on teacher training and group work in the classroom.
In Malaysia Kiuru was acquainted with the country’s Education Blueprint and the 1BestariNet project, and she held discussions with Malaysia’s Deputy Minister of Education P. Kamalanathan in Putrajaya.
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