Interest in enhancing education strengthens collaboration between Finland and Norway

30-09-2016 Interest in enhancing education strengthens collaboration between Finland and Norway Finland is well-known globally for its educational expertise. Also in Norway, when someone mentions PISA (The Programme for International Student Assessment), Finland’s excellent results pop up. Norwegians benchmark Finland in educational questions. However, Finland has been quite unknown in Norway. Now the co-operation is starting to strengthen: two successful events were arranged this fall.
Oslo seminar speakers: Riitta Vänskä, Sanna Vahtivuori-Hänninen, Erja Vitikka and Tim Walker (Image: Karoliina Huhtanen)
Tobias Elgh, CEO of Sanako, presenting Sanako’s language teaching solutions at the EdTech seminar.

Embassy of Finland in Norway arranged an education seminar in Oslo in September to raise the awareness regarding Finnish educational expertise and the challenges education needs to deal with.


At the beginning of September, on the occasion of Norwegian State Visit to Finland, Finnish and Norwegian collaboration in educational technology was covered in an EdTech seminar in Helsinki.


Ten years on the top – how to stay there?

The Finnish Embassy in Oslo arranged Ti år på topp seminar on September 15, 2016 in co-operation with University College of Oslo and Akershus. The college hosts one of the leading teacher education faculties in Norway, and the seminar was held at their premises.


The purpose of the seminar was to bring up the factors behind Finnish success but also to lighten up what is going on in Finland to keep up the good results and to tackle present and future challenges.


The seminar hosted around 50 participants interested in educational questions. The participant profile covered representatives from educational and research institutions, ministries, municipalities and from NHO, the main representative organization for Norwegian employers, and other attendees from business life. Also politicians were present, since educational questions in Norway are very much political issues, and education is one of the hot topics at the upcoming Parliament election.


Erik Lundberg, Finland’s Ambassador to Norway, was pleased with the event and sees the future of Finnish-Norwegian co-operation very bright.


“Education is at a turning point globally. Finland and Norway share the same interest to keep up with the change. Norwegians are very eager to learn from our experiences. We have good contacts with relevant stakeholders in Norway. We, together with Education Export Finland and other Team Finland members, are working on to find the best ways for bilateral and international co-operation. Finland’s centenary celebrations next year support this work. Education will be one the main themes in our most important celebration event in September 2017”, Lundberg tells.  
The speakers at the Ti år på topp seminar represented Finnish education from a wide perspective.


Riitta Vänskä, Program Manager of Finpro’s Education Export Finland program, told the audience about Finnish education offering, how the Finnish education is exported and also shared thoughts about how Finland and Norway could collaborate in education export.  


Erja Vitikka from the Finnish Board of Education told the audience about the brand new Finnish national curriculum. She highlighted that doing well in PISA is not the most important thing for Finns. To have schools, in which the students really are learning and enjoy being at, is the key.


Digitalization of education is high on the list of the Finnish Government. Sanna Vahtivuori-Hänninen from the Ministry of Education and Culture manages a project that studies how students and teachers all around Finland keep up and better their digital skills. She told that Finnish teachers have certain guidelines how to act, but they still have plenty of room to decide on details.


Tim Walker, an American teacher and writer living in Finland since 2013, shared his view on the “simple secrets” behind the Finnish education.


All the presentations woke up a lively discussion. The Norwegian education specialists shared Finns view that staring only at PISA results is not enough when measuring good quality education.


EdTech creating new collaboration possibilities

Innovation Norway arranged Norwegian State Visit to Finland at the beginning of September. As a part of the visit program, Oslo EdTech, in co-operation with Finpro’s Education Export Finland, hosted an Education Technology (EdTech) seminar in Helsinki on September 7, 2016.  


The event was organized to further develop and expand the collaboration possibilities of the EdTech and education export companies and organizations.


The seminar included presentations about the EdTech landscape in both countries, and there was also a workshop, in which Finnish and Norwegian EdTech companies presented their knowhow and expertise.


Riitta Vänskä introduced the audience with Finnish EdTech, the companies belonging to Education Export Finland, and she also discussed collaboration between the countries.


“I was glad to be invited to speak at this event, but more important I was glad to see representatives of Finnish innovative companies like Sanako, Seppo, Bitville, Mightifier and Claned at the stage telling about their solutions. I see a lot of possibilities in exporting EdTech in collaboration with Norway. We continue the work to find the best ways”, Vänskä promises.


The audience included Their Majesties of Norway King Harald V and Queen Sonja accompanied by President Sauli Niinistö and Mrs. Jenni Haukio.