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Finnish educators expand reach, geographically and thematically

Finnish educators are preparing students with 21st-century skills.

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Kide Science has announced a foray into physical education, while EduCluster Finland and Code School Finland have entered Turkey and Panama, respectively.

Kide Science in October revealed that it is expanding its inquiry-based lessons to physical education through a partnership with Kids Collab, a South African educational platform offering children knowledge-based content on physical development and wellbeing. The partners have used their respective competences to create an educational bundle that teaches children about motion and movement.

Kide Science recently also signed a contract with STEM METS Resources Limited to provide curriculum enhancement STEM education programmes for youngsters in Lagos, Nigeria.

Kide Science

“Problem-solving, stories and play drive learning – and with these tools we can make physical education more meaningful for children,” viewedJenni Vartiainen, head of research at Kide Science.

“Recent studies highlight the importance of physical activity and play-based learning for children’s physical and mental wellbeing. These are really powerful in early childhood, so this collaboration is especially important.”

Rachel McMahon, co-founder of Kids Collab, said the company is excited to see how its objective of inspiring children to move mindfully works with the “powerful” teaching methods of Kide Science.

“These lesson plans are not only fabulous for learning, but also just genuinely fun and educational for the little ones,” she said.

Kide Science and Kids Collab have announced a partnership designed to improve the physical literacy of children by applying play and story-based pedagogics to physical education.

Mary Taylor / Pexels

The bundle includes lesson plans designed to improve the physical literacy of children while motivating them to be active, build confidence, move with purpose and utilise creativity in movement. Such tools, the partners believe, will set up children with the right attitude toward active lifestyles.

Kide Science announced later last month it is continuing its collaboration with Gabby’s Dollhouse, with a plan to introduce more lessons themed around the hit children’s show on Netflix.

EduCluster to open first school in Europe

EduCluster Finland (ECF) in October reported that it has signed an agreement to establish and operate the first Finland International School in Istanbul, Turkey.

EduCluster Finland’s Kati Loponen and Sajaad Hussein on 25 October shook hands on an agreement to establish and operate a Finland International School in Istanbul, Turkey.

EduCluster Finland

The school is scheduled to open its doors to pupils in grades one to five in September 2023, with a view to later expanding up to grade 12 and host more than 2 000 pupils on a campus situated on a 29 000 square-metre plot. The curriculum will be based on the national core curriculum of Finland, with certain local adaptations imposed by the Turkish Ministry of Education.

Kati Loponen, CEO of ECF, said the school will be the second international school operated by the company following the launch of Qatar-Finland International School in 2014. “We hope this will be the first of several collaborative projects between our organisations,” she added.

“Appreciating ECF’s international project achievements, we look forward to importing the leading school education practice to Turkey,” commented the other contract party, Sajaad Hussein. “I am sure that Finnish educational experience will make a significant impact with parents, students and educators in the region.”

ECF was established in 2010 to export educational solutions co-developed with its three owners: the University of Jyväskylä, Jamk University of Applied Sciences and Jyväskylä Educational Consortium Gradia.

Code School strikes Panamanian partnership

Code School Finland and Knowledge Group in September said they have entered into a strategic partnership to provide teachers tools and skills to implement digital skills education in primary schools in Panama.

The programme is set to launch at international schools for the school year 2023–2024.

The partnership was announced after the completion of pilot programmes at two international schools in Panama City. Experts from Code School Finland prepared teachers at the schools during an online upskilling programme before the teachers implemented what they described as enjoyable, easy-to-use and well structured curriculum and teaching materials in their work.

The students, in turn, reported to having fun playing, programming and solving the challenges, showing progress in both coding skills and positive attitudes toward coding.

“With [Code School Finland], students work on projects that can be applied in real life, are evaluated based on their progress and encouraged to co-operate with their classmates,” saidIlka Barahona, academic director at Knowledge Group. “Teachers receive professional development that can be applied to all subject areas to enhance learning.”

Programming instruction is widely regarded as key for preparing children for the future labour market and increasing equality in technology professions, for example.

Cottonbro Studios / Pexels

The ultimate goal of the strategic partnership is to offer a technology curriculum based on Finnish educational principles, outlined Mónica Fábrega, chief operating officer of Knowledge Group.

Code School Finland seeks to support the problem-solving skills of children with a digital skills curriculum and teacher capability development services. Its programme has been contextualised in 10 countries around the world.

Finnish education exports to hit EUR 1bn

Despite the growth in the global appeal of solutions developed by the likes of Code School, EduCluster and Kide Science, about four-fifths of the added value of education exports stems from the training of foreign degree students in Finland, reveals an upcoming review conducted by Labore Institute for Economic Research.

Foreign degree students, the review found, had a positive net effect of 81 million euros on the Finnish economy in the 2019–2020 school year. The review accounted for not only the resources used to provide education and the net tuition fees paid by the students, but also indirect income transfers and income earned by foreign students who graduated between 2000 and 2019.

The upcoming report also adds to the knowledge base for assessing the significance of education exports, said Minna Kelhä.


A significant share of the remaining fifth, meanwhile, stemmed from the exports of educational material publishers.

“In Finnish education and training, we have promoted knowledge-based decision making for a long time,” commentedMinna Kelhä, director general at the Finnish National Agency for Education (OPH). “However, so far there is little research on the economics of education and training.”

Labore also concluded that the value of education exports fell only narrowly short of one billion euros in 2019, the long-term objective of the export promotion programme led by OPH, Education Finland.

Foreign students have had a positive net effect on the Finnish economy.

Satu Haavisto

The review defined education exports as goods exports, such as learning materials and environments, and service exports related to education, training and competence, such as educational solutions and education provided to foreign degree students in Finland. Their value was determined based on a new method of calculation proposed by Labore.

While the results of the review are only indicative, they suggest that education exports are economically significant and poised to continue growing in future, analysed OPH.

“Finnish education has an excellent reputation, and there is a great deal of demand for our competence,” noted Tuomo Puumala, state secretary at the Ministry of Education and Culture. “These operations called competence exports do not hurt anyone. On the contrary, they benefit everyone involved.”

Southwest Finland centred on virtual production

Turku Science Park and the Turku University of Applied Sciences in October said they have embarked on a joint project to tackle the talent shortage that is holding back innovation in virtual technologies in the education and industrial sectors of Southwest Finland.

The project seeks to increase the knowledge capital on augmented reality, virtual reality and extended reality in companies and universities, thereby creating new opportunities in areas such as design, simulation, training and product development in key regional sectors, including maritime and pharmaceuticals.

“Virtual solutions can be seen as a competitive advantage in the future in different industries, similar to the way sustainability is today,” stated Teija Raninen, commissioner for film at the Western Finland Film Commission.

“In film and TV productions, for example, it is already one of the fastest growing areas.”

The partners believe that co-operative education and development will create a foundation for a bright virtual future for the region. Their long-term goal is to establish an international collaborative education and development centre for virtual productions in Southwest Finland.

By: Aleksi Teivainen