CMRubinWorld Interviews the Minister for the Best Schools in the World

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In a new in-depth interview with C.M. Rubin, Sanni Grahn-Laasonen, Minister of Education and Culture, illuminates what makes the Finnish system so effective at producing great schools and excellent students.

The education system in Finland is both highly unconventional and wildly successful. Instead of control and competition, the focus is on less standardized testing, an elevated teacher profession and plenty of time for play.

In a new interview with C. M. Rubin (Founder of CMRubinWorld and author of The Global Search for Education), Minister of Education and Culture Sanni Grahn-Laasonen says her country’s vision for education is a nation that is, “continuously learning.” Finland wants an education system that gives everyone “strong, transferable skills, and allows everyone to return to education when they need it.” In the workplace, this requires a culture that “allows for continuous professional development,” and she believes it is the government’s job “to encourage people to learn.”

As Minister, Grahn-Laasonen oversees national education policy and leads all improvement efforts including national legislation, guidelines and strategies. Decision making in the Finnish system, she says, is characterized by a “broad consensus rather than dictating things from above.” While the government determines how much time is spent on individual subjects, the National Core Curriculum (developed by the Finnish National Board of Education in close cooperation with all stakeholders in education, especially teachers) sets subject-specific guidelines. The bottom line, she notes, is that it’s up to “teachers to determine what activities take place in classrooms. Finland is renowned for teacher autonomy. They are the ones that are doing the valuable work; we must value and respect their opinions.”

“A school system is never finished, and teachers are the change makers.”

Sanni Grahn-Laasonen has been the Minister of Education and Culture since 29 May, 2015. She was the Minister of the Environment in Alexander Stubb's cabinet between 2014 and 2015.

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CMRubinWorld launched in 2010 to explore what kind of education would prepare students to succeed in a rapidly changing globalized world. Its award-winning series, The Global Search for Education, is a celebrated trailblazer in the renaissance of the 21st century, and occupies a special place in the pulse of key issues facing every nation and the collective future of all children. It connects today’s top thought leaders with a diverse global audience of parents, students and educators. Its highly readable platform allows for discourse concerning our highest ideals and the sustainable solutions we must engineer to achieve them. C. M. Rubin has produced over 550 interviews and articles discussing an expansive array of topics under a singular vision: when it comes to the world of children, there is always more work to be done.

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David Wine



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