Ulkoministeriö / Utrikesministeriet

MFA and Ministry of Education and Culture: Finland to strengthen its role in addressing the global learning crisis


A working group consisting of development and education specialists proposes that Finland should adopt education as one of its development cooperation and development policy priorities and significantly increase its funding for the cause. Ministers Anne-Mari Virolainen and Sanni Grahn-Laasonen support the proposal. They have decided to set up a broad-based steering group to promote the working group's recommendations and to foster closer cooperation between operators in the field in Finland.

On Thursday 7 February, a vision of Finland's strengthened role in fixing the global learning crisis was submitted to Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Anne-Mari Virolainen and Minister of Education Sanni Grahn-Laasonen.

Development and education specialists in the working group propose that Finland should make the education sector one of its development cooperation and development policy priorities and significantly increase funding and resources for development cooperation in this area. Other national measures and resources will be needed, too.

"I endorse the working group's vision for making education one of the key themes in Finland's development cooperation. We have much to offer, education is the foundation of all other development, and this is a question of Finland's country image, too. Let's respond to the demand even better than before, as it is what we are expected to offer in any case," Minister Virolainen says.

The working group also underlines the need to strengthen synergies between Finnish operators in the field by means of closer collaboration and more flexible practices.

"Finland has succeeded in combining the provision of both high quality and equality in education. We have the world's best and most highly educated teachers. In terms of educational expertise, we are a super power. It is important to make better use of our special competence in, for example, teacher training also in development cooperation. Through our strong educational expertise we will be able to create opportunities and stability in the developing countries, too," says Minister of Education Grahn-Laasonen.

The Ministers reminded that Finland has significant opportunities for expanding its education exports and for strengthening the use of innovative solutions in efforts to overcome the global learning crisis and to promote Goal 4 (SDG4, Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning) of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Steering group to strengthen cooperation

The Ministers encourage Finnish operators in the field to work closely together. With this in mind, they decided to set up a broad-based steering group to strengthen cooperation, to carry out the proposed measures and to monitor their implementation.

The Ministers consider that it is important to promote the export of Finnish education expertise across the world on a broad front.

In October 2018, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs set up a working group to explore ways for Finland to intensify its contribution to efforts to fix the global learning crisis. The group's work was based on a report entitled Stepping Up Finland’s Global Role in Education, published in August 2018. The working group was assigned to prepare a vision and clear goals for closer cooperation between different operators.

The release of the vision for Education as a key goal in Finland's development policy will be broadcast live on 7 February 2019 at 9.30–10.30 at http://www.mediaserver.fi/live/formin.

Tuula Yrjöjä, Ambassador, Chair of the working group, Ministry for Foreign Affairs,
tel. +358 295 350 367.The Foreign Ministry’s email addresses are in the format firstname.lastname@formin.fi
Jaana Palojärvi, Director for International Relations, Ministry of Education and Culture, tel. +358 295 330 242.


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