In Finland everyone is needed
By Anna Koster (translated by Malu Zachte-Schenkels), Clusius College, The Netherlands
In November 2017 a group of Clusius College colleagues travelled to Finland to attend the EAPRIL conference about educational research. It was an impressive, inspirational and instructive week, funded by the Erasmus+ programme.
The first day we split up and visited schools at various levels. It is impossible to convey everything we have learned, but we will try to give an impression with a report, a vlog and a meeting later on. We will publish more on the intranet.
In this blog I would like to take you to a very ordinary primary school in Hämeenlinna. We got a warm welcome from the school head and a teacher, after which they gave us an explanation of the Finnish educational system. All teachers have a master’s degree. Many creative subjects, soft skills, learning-by-doing as well as lessons in leadership are taught to help children become well-balanced and confident adults. Once a week, pupils take over a class from their teacher to practise leadership skills. I am impressed.
Most remarkable to me, however, is that the head tells us that Finland cannot afford any drop-outs. With a population of just six million everyone is needed to organise and manage this huge country. I think this is very interesting and I am touched by it. Not because in the Netherlands with its growing economy, we also need more “hands”. Neither because schools don’t receive any funding for unqualified drop-outs. Nor because a drop-out is likely to turn criminal and therefore costs society money. I just think that each and every child has the right to blossom, to develop its talents to their full potential, even in more difficult circumstances. Dropping out is not an option. For it might be your child (or mine).
The Clusius College is a school with 8 locations which provides (pre-) vocational education for students (age 12 – 20 years) in the North-west of the Netherlands. Last year (2017) we visited the Eapril conference with 5 colleagues and were very enthousiastic about the organisation, content and school visits in Hämeenlinna, Finland. We were very touched by the visit to the Seminaari Primary School. This blog is inspired by this visit.
Corrie Mulder, Lara Meijer, Menno Groen, Bert Hoeve and Anna Koster