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Curriculum Development in Finland. Pasi Sahlberg, PhD Senior Education Specialist World Bank. Brief outlook. Population: 5.2 million The most northern corner of the EU GDP per capita: $26,000 4,100 comprehensive schools (1-9 grades) 475 upper secondary schools 50,000 teachers

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Curriculum Development in Finland


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curriculum development in finland

Curriculum Development in Finland

Pasi Sahlberg, PhD

Senior Education Specialist

World Bank

brief outlook
Brief outlook
  • Population: 5.2 million
  • The most northern corner of the EU
  • GDP per capita: $26,000
  • 4,100 comprehensive schools (1-9 grades)
  • 475 upper secondary schools
  • 50,000 teachers
  • Public expenditure on educational institutions: 5.7 % of the GDP
why curriculum change
Why curriculum change?
  • Situation in the beginning of 1990s
    • Teachers rarely used curriculum in their work
    • Teachers demanded more freedom
    • Teachers’ professional qualifications were increasing
    • Decentralization of public administration
    • Central administration didn’t know exactly how schools could improve performance
    • Paradigm shift in understanding learning
what was the solution
What was the solution?
  • New National Framework Curriculum 1994
    • Loose conceptual framework describing intended experiences rather than content
    • Schools were invited to design their own curricula (but not by Law)
    • Increased flexibility and freedom of choice
    • Focus on new conception of learning
    • Support to schools in curriculum design
what happened
What happened?
  • Schools progressed in different rhythms
  • School curricula became very diverse (but still based on a common core)
  • Curriculum became a school improvement instrument and an active reference for schools
  • Schools created new identities and profiles
  • Fundamental curriculum change!
possible impact of 1994 reform
Possible impact of 1994 reform
  • Focus shifted from individual teachers to school as a community of professionals
  • The hidden potentials in schools, i.e. motivation, creativity and moral purposes were released but some got burned-out
  • Trusting teachers increased their working commitments
  • Schools became gradually learning centers