Tamos Education sets its sights on Finnish Education: “The Best of Finland” Concept School interests in Kazakhstan
Tamos Education is the largest private secondary school in Kazakhstan. It has two schools in Almaty, Tamos Education Physical and Mathematical School with 1300 students and Tamos Education Linguistic School with 250 students.
A delegation, including owners, directors, teachers and a principal of the company, visited Finnish schools and met Finnish education companies during their three days long visit hosted by Finpro’s Education Export Finland.
Seisembayev Margulan, main investor in Tamos Education, is impressed with Finnish education. After visiting Kirkkojärvi comprehensive school, he tells, with a twinkle in the eye, that he is jealous for the first time in his life. Despite the humorous approach, Mr. Margulan openly discusses the challenges in education in Kazakhstan.
“In Kazakhstan, we concentrate on subjects. Delivering knowledge is the cornerstone of our education. We are not paying enough attention on students and their personality, how to support individual growth. We produce specialists with only certain kind of technical know-how. We don't teach how to communicate and co-operate with each other, how to do team work and solve problems together.”
In Finland there are no national tests in basic education and trust is one of the ingredients behind Finnish education success. During the visit to Kirkkojärvi school, the delegation was guided by the Principal Kari Louhivuori. He told that there is no need for national tests, since the teachers are professionals and the principal and parents trusts their expertise, as well as the municipality trusts the principal, and the state trusts the municipality.
Mr. Margulan tells that there are many good things in education in Kazakhstan, but lack of trust is concern in the country.
“We have a lot of national tests, because there is not enough trust. People don't trust each other and this kind of environment does not support innovativeness, taking responsibility and creating a friendly environment.”
During the visit, the delegation members learnt of typical Finnish school day, which is relatively short and allows children enough free time to play. They also heard how pupils with special needs are taken care, how early support method prevents problems to grow bigger, how communication between school and parents are handled, and how the new Finnish curriculum supports phenomena-based learning.
“The Best of Finland” Concept School
In addition to Kirkkojärvi School, the delegation visited Saunalahti School, a multipurpose school building integrating daycare center, school, public library and youth center. They also paid a visit to Isku, a company that designs, manufactures and markets furniture for learning and working environments.
The delegation members connected with Finnish companies providing education services and consultancy, educational technology and architectural services. Meeting with Marianne Huusko, Finland’s recently appointed Ambassador for Education Export, highlighted all the means Finnish government uses to support education export.
The representatives of Tamos Education are convicted that enhancing education in Kazakhstan is possible by localizing the best practices of Finnish education to existing strengths in the country.
Tamos Education and Finpro have been discussing the next steps. At first, Finnish experts are asked to do assessment of Curriculum, with development proposals, for one of the existing Tamos Education schools. If the co-operation is successful, the next step could be opening a totally new entity applying “The Best of Finland” School Concept.