The very core of the Finnish education system is its values that frame the uniqueness of each student and everyone’s right to good education. The system values personal growth; to raise active citizens who know their place in the community. Education promotes participation, a sustainable way of living and growth as a member of a democratic society. We teach students to identify their personal strengths and to build their future by learning. We want our students to grow into balanced adults with a healthy self-esteem. These values lay the foundation for lifelong learning.
In the new National Core Curriculum, seven transversal skills are framed. At the moment, the focus is on 21st century skills: ICT skills, multiliteracy and cultural competence. However, learning does not end with school. In fact, Finnish adults are very active users of liberal adult education: the participation rate is high in international terms. As an adult, one learns for professional development, the other for fun – the reasons are many. Languages, arts and crafts, music and different well-being courses are among the most popular ones. The purpose of adult education is somewhat the same as in basic education: to provide education that fosters equality, active citizenship and cohesion of the society.
General knowledge and skills build up to lifelong learning. It is not enough that students learn information about subjects, but it is vital that they get the necessary skills to survive in the changing modern world. And the same goes with adults. The key skills of lifelong learning are those required by the changing demands of working life: being able to take control of the future and new circumstances and continuous learning. These reflect one’s readiness to cope with all situations and to follow the changes happening both in the society and working life.
The Finnish National Core Curriculum is updated approximately every ten years. Hence, it answers to the needs of the near future. We cannot tell what competences will be foregrounded in the future. In this lights, the basic values and principles of the Finnish system become vital; they provide the students with not only general knowledge but also self-knowledge and learning skills that prepare them for the changing requirements and carry them for their entire lifetime.
The values of the Finnish education system, lifelong learning and many other topics will be discussed during KOULU Group’s EduVenture event in Helsinki, Finland September 2017. Learn more and join us at http://koulugroup.com/eduventure/