Opetusalan Ammattijärjestö


Key organizations in education establish academy to safeguard education in Finland

Sivistysakatemia’s logo is a fingerprint.
Three expert organizations in the Finnish education sector are celebrating Finland’s centenary by establishing a high-profile education entity called Sivistysakatemia. The objective is to safeguard the standard of learning, education and culture in Finland for the next 100 years.
Education made Finland a highly-developed welfare society. But how can these standards be maintained in the future? To find the answer to this question, the Trade Union of Education in Finland (OAJ), the Finnish National Agency for Education, and the Ministry of Education and Culture have launched an academy for learning, education and culture called Sivistysakatemia.
Sivistysakatemia is a high-profile education entity for decision-makers and other social opinion leaders. It aims to update the debate on education and culture, to raise the status of education, training and research, and to find solutions for maintaining and reinforcing Finland’s standard of education. Decision-makers and other social opinion leaders are invited to take part.
“We need this academy so that we can keep the knowledge base of opinion leaders up to date regarding the challenges of learning and education, and to join hands in formulating new solutions that will carry our unique model of education through the next 100-year period. We want Finland to be an close-knit and unified society for all. That can only happen if every child and young person can reach their full potential and receive the support and guidance they need. We have our work cut out for us in this respect, even here in Finland,” says Olli-Pekka Heinonen, Director General of the Finnish National Agency for Education.
Sanni Grahn-Laasonen, Minister of Education, emphasizes the importance of updating the information about what education in Finland means today and how it is currently being developed.
“People’s ideas about education are often formed through their personal experiences or their children’s experiences. When making decisions concerning societal values, it is important for decision-makers and opinion leaders to have the best possible research-based understanding of the direction in which the future of education should be taken,” says Grahn-Laasonen.
Education and culture create a good life
OAJ, the Finnish National Agency for Education, and the Ministry of Education and Culture have previously considered ways of shining a light on the importance of education and culture in society. The proposal to join forces came from OAJ. The Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra was also brought on board to help with the Academy’s practical arrangements.
Every year, some thirty opinion leaders from different segments of society will be invited to participate in the Academy. They will learn about the entire education system, from early childhood education all the way to university. Olli Luukkainen, OAJ president, hopes to see the participants take a clear stand on behalf of education and culture.
“We need bold heralds who understand the value of education and civilization to bring more dialogue and concrete actions that highlight the significance of education, training and research,” says Luukkainen.
He underlines that education has an intrinsic value that creates a good life.
“Education must not be separated from its mission of civilizing people. Education must also not be seen merely as a tool for producing human resources to serve working life,” says Luukkainen.
Teachers play a key role
OAJ, the Finnish National Agency for Education, and the Ministry of Education and Culture share the view that Finland can remain a leading nation in education – now and for years to come.
“The development of educational equity has guaranteed every child the opportunity to reach their full potential, regardless of their family background. The world’s best, pedagogically independent and university-educated teachers have also played a key role in the Finnish education system. Finland has all the necessary conditions to retain its world-leading position also in the future, but it requires staying on top of a continuously changing environment and reacting to changes,” says Grahn-Laasonen.
The continuous development of teacher competence, for example, will play an important role in future solutions.
“Teachers play a key role in building a civilized society. Sivistysakatemia should work to ensure that we retain our status as a civilized and educated welfare society for the future,” says Luukkainen.
What exactly is Sivistysakatemia?
  • Sivistysakatemia is a high-profile education entity. Its first session will be held in October 2017. Sivistysakatemia was launched jointly by the Trade Union of Education in Finland (OAJ), the Ministry of Education and Culture, and the Finnish National Agency for Education. The Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra is also highly involved in the Academy’s practical arrangements.
  • A carefully selected group of social opinion leaders and decision-makers will be invited to participate. They will learn, in entirely new ways, about our education system – the cornerstone of Finnish society. The participants will also brainstorm ways of keeping Finland’s standard of education and culture high for the next 100 years.
  • The Academy will convene annually, with new participants invited every year. The number of decision-makers and social opinion leaders who understand the importance of education and culture will thus grow every year.
  • Sivistysakatemia’s logo is a fingerprint. It serves as a reminder that education and culture belong to everyone and are made up of different parts. The fingerprint also symbolizes the mark left on Finland’s future by those who participate in the Academy.