A group of organisations in Finland is taking steps to make the country’s much-praised educational expertise into an exportable, global commodity.
The Finns have long prided themselves on their educational expertise, and their well-publicised, stellar results in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) have increased the Finnish educational system’s reputation abroad. A venture called Future Learning Finland (FLF) seeks to export homegrown educational expertise and practices in such a way that the benefits can be utilised in other countries.
Future Learning Finland is coordinated by Finpro, a trade and investment development organisation, and supported by the Ministry of Education and Culture, the Ministry of Employment and Economy and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. Its 74 members include universities, vocational schools, foundations and associations. Companies are also involved, particularly from educational and ICT fields, and EduCluster Finland, an organisation specialised in creating educational excellence, has a significant role.
Physical and virtual learning
Education ambassadors: Project manager Niko Lindholm (left) and project director Eeva Nuutinen of Finpro are involved in exporting educational expertise.
“Future Learning Finland was born when a Finnish education export strategy was laid out in 2010,” says Eeva Nuutinen, project director at Finpro. “Finland had done well in PISA, and the objective was to figure out how to commercialise this success. It became evident how much of Finland’s expertise has a lot of market potential.”
“Three years ago education export as an industry did not exist in Finland. It has been established along with this programme.” Nuutinen points out that while education export is mostly associated with degree sales, this does not apply to Finland, so it has had to take a different approach to education export.
So what is this expertise, and more importantly, how can it be exported to other countries? Teacher training, and especially vocational education development, form important aspects, along with ICT and public and private degrees. “We don’t exactly export degrees, but we build and tailor educational entities according to different needs,” says Nuutinen. “Educational consulting also takes place. The educational level and needs of a country or region are evaluated, along with how they could be developed.” Physical and virtual learning environments both enter the picture.
Rapidly transforming societies
ICT forms one sector that Future Learning Finland seeks to reach when promoting Finnish educational expertise.
FLF is involved in events including forums, seminars and roadshows. They’re important for identifying and reaching certain segments, such as ICT. Local media helps increase visibility. The traffic is two-way: there are delegations visiting Finland as well as Finnish export promotion trips.
Nuutinen describes Saudi Arabia as the most important market region for FLF at the moment. A massive reform taking place there comprises significant investments in education. Finland can have a role to play in sharing expertise in education, but also in educational infrastructure. “They want whole schools, for example,” says Nuutinen. “We have architect agencies in Finland that plan schools and construction companies [to build them]. FLF also has member companies that can provide proper furniture and equipment.”
In addition to the Persian Gulf, Russia, China and possibly Hong Kong are among the regions that interest Finnish education professionals. In February 2013, the annual International Exhibition and Forum for Education (IEFE) took place in Saudi Arabia. It is described by Finpro project manager Niko Lindholm as highly significant in terms of Finnish educational promotion on a large scale. A number of commercial deals were sealed, and Finland enjoyed a highly visible role at the event.
“When the Saudi Arabians began researching where to seek educational expertise as they began their reform, Finland, Singapore and South Korea turned out to be societies that have most rapidly transformed from manufacturing societies into information societies,” Lindholm says.
One of the many FLF member companies that took part in IEFE is 10monkeys.com, an e-company in the field of mathematics. Managing director Katri Björklund describes the event as highly successful on their behalf, as they sealed a deal of with a local agent in Saudi Arabia. “As a small company it was great to have the support an organisation like Future Learning Finland, and to have credibility on our side,” Björklund says.
FLF is set up for three years, after which an evaluation determines whether it continues. “We are in the process of reviewing what Finnish education will look like in 2018,” Nuutinen says. “The industry will hardly have run its course [by then], even if this programme has.” It seems fitting that Future Learning Finland has picked as its motto, “We see brilliant futures.”
By Annika Rautakoura, April 2013
There is a reason why Finland is known as “one of the best places in the world to be a student”, as the country has an extremely efficient educational system.
Students in Finland are rarely given home work. Instead, they are encouraged to play more, as that makes them more social and boosts their creativity level.
Also, schools in Finland are able to set their own timetables, which can include 15 minutes of playing for every 45 minutes spend “working” (source: Timothy D Walker, The Atlantic).
Opportunity for everyone
Finns believe every student is capable of reaching the same high standards, so all children have access to preschool up to the age of 7. Oh, and they all have personalized learning support.
There are no privately funded schools in Finland, which means that all children get equal educational opportunities. Teaching is well paid and highly respected profession. Teachers are trusted to get on with the job.
Investing in education
The advantages don’t stop once you leave high school, as university education is free, and the country spends more of its GDP on education (1.2%) than other OECD countries (0.8%) (Source: OECD).
What could your country learn from Finland’s approach to education?
A Universal Basic Income (UBI) experiment is taking place in Kenya. Thousands of people are receiving free money for 12 years. The experiment could redefine social welfare around the world.
Thousands of people are enrolled to the experiment across dozens of villages in Kenya. For up to 12 years, these Kenyans are getting almost double their ‘normal’ income, as part of the experiment.
The experiment is run by the charity GiveDirectly. After analyzing the spending data, GiveDirectly will learn how the UBI affects factors like quality of life & gender equality.
This experiment could make Governments around the world to replace the current welfare, which according to many reports has failed terrible, leaving poverty and inequality still there.
Why Basic Income is Revolutionary
Monica Atieno Aswan is a 28 year old woman taking part in the UBI experiment. “This money has really changed my life,” the Kenyan woman said.
Basic Income could free people from jobs they don’t like, and give them time to find something that they truly like. Today, most young people want to start their own business, but they can’t afford to take risks.
Many people are ‘trapped’ into their 9-5 jobs, as a result, they don’t have the time and money to start something their own business, or the job that they really want to do.
It seems like the Basic Income not only could eliminate poverty and inequality around the globe, but it could also solve really important issues in our society.
Other Basic Income experiments have shown that people will not spend the money unwisely, as in most cases they bought just the necessary. That can be food or an apartment.
Don’t let your child use a cell phone
Barring a life-threatening emergency, children should not use a cell phone, or a wireless device of any type. Children are far more vulnerable to cell phone radiation than adults due to having thinner skull bones, and developing immune systems and brains.
Keep your cell phone use to a minimum
Turn your cell phone off more often. Reserve it for emergencies or important matters. As long as your cell phone is on, it emits radiation intermittently, even when you are not actually making a call. Use a landline phone at home and at work, and if you use a cell phone, develop a practice of forwarding it to a landline whenever possible.
Reduce or eliminate your use of other wireless devices
Just as with cell phones, it is important to ask yourself whether or not you really need to routinely use wireless devices. A hard-wired Ethernet internet connection for computers, printers and peripherals is not only safer for your health, but significantly faster and more secure. Reconsider any wearable tech, like smart watches, which emit extremely high levels of radiation. Wireless on the body is extremely misguided.
Opt for older portable home phones
If you must use a portable home phone, use the older kind that operates at 900 MHz. They are no safer during calls, but at least some of them do not continuously broadcast when not in use. Note the only way to truly be sure if your cordless phone is emitting radiation is to use an electrosmog meter, and it must be one that goes up to the frequency of your portable phone. (I recommend looking for an RF meter that goes up to 8 Gigahertz to cover most phones).
You can find RF meters at www.emfsafetystore.com. Even without an RF meter, you can be fairly certain your portable phone is problematic if the technology is labeled DECT, which stands for “digitally enhanced cordless technology.” Alternatively, be careful with the base station placement as that causes the bulk of the problem since it transmits signals 24/7, even when you aren’t talking.
Try keeping the base station at least three rooms away from where you spend most of your time, especially your bedroom. Ideally, it would be beneficial to turn off or disconnect your base station at night before you go to bed. Or, better yet, just have it on hand for times when portability is essential and use a corded landline phone the majority of time.
Limit cell phone use to areas with excellent reception
The weaker the reception, the more power your phone must use to transmit, and the more power it uses the more radiation it emits. Ideally, only use your phone with full bars and good reception.
Avoid carrying your cell phone on your body, and do not sleep with it below your pillow or near your head
Ideally put it in your purse or carrying bag. Placing a cell phone in your bra or in a shirt pocket over your heart is asking for trouble, as is placing it in a man’s pocket if he seeks to preserve his fertility.
There’s no such thing as a “safe” cell phone. A specific absorption rate (SAR) value for a phone only addresses one form of risk, the thermal effects, comparing one phone to another, and it is not a measure of biological safety. Frequencies, peaks, pulsing and other signal characteristics are also biologically active. The longer one is exposed the greater the risk. If you want to be safe, use hard-wired connections.
Respect others; many are highly sensitive to EMF/RF
Some people who have become sensitive can feel the effects of others’ cell phones in the same room, even when it is on but not being used. If you are in a meeting, on public transportation, in a courtroom or other public places, keep your cell phone turned off out of consideration for the “second hand radiation” effects. Children are also more vulnerable, so please avoid using your cell phone near children.
Use a well-shielded wired headset
Wired headsets will certainly allow you to keep the cell phone farther away from your body. However, if a wired headset is not well-shielded — and most of them are not — the wire itself can act as an antenna attracting and transmitting radiation directly to your brain.
So make sure the wire used to transmit the signal to your ear is shielded. Better headsets use a combination of shielded wire and air-tube. These operate like a stethoscope, transmitting the sound to your head as an actual sound wave. Although there are wires that still must be shielded, there is no wire that goes all the way up to your head.
Be a role model
Set limits on how people can communicate with you to minimize cell phone and wireless radiation exposures. The instant gratification one may get from being in constant contact is not worth the serious risks of radiation exposures. Take a stand for yourself and be a role model for your children.
Help educate your children’s schools
Bring evidence of risk from cell phone and wireless technologies to schools and teachers unions. Protective change is not going to happen soon enough at the federal level, thus grassroots action to educate people responsible for the lives of vulnerable populations is essential. Follow this topic at Campaign for Radiation Free Schools on Facebook.
Lots of people are talking about Universal Basic Income: the idea that every citizen deserves a minimum income by right. But this focus on rights neglects one of the most important characteristics of being a citizen: our duties to the state. In this wide-ranging and historically eye-opening talk, Raf Manji explores why we definitely need a Universal Basic Income — and why we can’t stop there. Raf is a Christchurch City Councillor and chair of the Strategy and Finance committee. His main focus has been the Council’s financial position, as well as its strategic direction and risk management. Raf graduated from the University of Manchester in 1987 with a degree in Economics and Social Studies, after which time he spent 11 years trading global markets for investment banks in London. In 2000, he left banking to help start up and develop Trucost, which helps companies measure their environmental footprint in monetary terms. In 2002, he moved to New Zealand with his young family and has since been actively involved as a volunteer and trustee with Christchurch Budget Services, Pillars, Volunteer Army Foundation, Christchurch Arts Festival, as well as investing in and helping out early stage companies. He has a Grad Dip Arts in Political science, and a Masters in International Law and Politics from the University of Canterbury. Raf is interested in overt monetary
fina This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx