Lessons from Finland reach far and wide
Kide Science currently reaches more than a million children in 32 countries.Kide Science
Finnish education specialists have forged partnerships to export their expertise to an even broader group of learners.
Education exports have quietly emerged as a notable export segment for Finland.
The Labour Institute for Economic Research (Labore) estimated last year that the value of education exports rose to nearly a billion euros in 2019, accounting for roughly half a per cent of gross domestic product. Although the results of its review are indicative, they do confirm that the growing economic significance of education exports, analysed the Finnish National Agency for Education (OPH).
The review is important also because it proposed for the first time a method for calculating the value of education exports.
According to Minna Kelhä, there is little research on the economics of education and training.OPH
“In Finnish education and training, we have promoted knowledge-based decision-making for a long time,” commented Minna Kelhä, director general of OPH. “However, so far there is little research on the economics of education and training. The report […] also adds to the knowledge base for assessing the significance of education exports.”
Labore examined the amount of turnover and added value generated by education exports, finding, for example, that four-fifths of the added value stems from foreign degree students in Finland. Foreign degree students were estimated to have a positive effect of 81 million euros on the national economy, when taking into account the use of education resources and income transfers on the one hand, and their consumption, earnings and tuition fees on the other.
A significant share of the remaining one-fifth of added value, meanwhile, was derived from exports of education-related publications.
Education Finland, an export promotion programme established under OPH, is seeking to increase the value of education exports to one billion euros by 2030.
Knowledge-based decision-making has been fundamental in Finnish education and training.Pasi Markkanen
Education exports encompass goods such as learning materials and environments and services related to education training and competence, including education solutions and the training of foreign degree students in Finland.
Cracking the code
Code School Finland and Flúirse Education Solutions have joined forces to deliver coding instruction courses for teachers across Ireland.
The courses will focus on hands-on learning, real-world applications and interactive experiences with a view to making coding education accessible and engaging for all. Their launch, the partners proclaimed, is a “giant leap” toward equipping teachers with the skills and resources to ignite a passion for coding in students – the thinkers, innovators and problem solvers of tomorrow.
“We are delighted with the partnership agreement with Code School Finland,” said Kristian O’Donovan, CEO of Flúirse Education Solutions.
“These courses will prepare teachers to teaching coding in schools using simple step-by-step and practical instructions. Teacher[s] will be enabled to introduce their pupils to the world of coding and technology.”
The CEO of Code School Finland, Kaisu Pallaskallio, founded the company in 2017.Edtech Finland
Imparting such skills to learners is critically important for creating a stronger and technologically savvy workforce for future – especially given the role of coding as the “language of innovation” in the digital age.
The courses start from the very fundamentals, ensuring they are accessible to teachers regardless of previous skills.
“No previous experience or qualifications are required,” said Kaisu Pallaskallio, CEO of Code School Finland.“Teachers are guided through the lessons and provided with all the materials they need to develop lesson plans and teach a coding class. Flúirse Education Solutions will also have qualified tutors available to call should teachers need additional help.”
The Finnish education startup also provides schools and teachers materials on robotics and artificial intelligence.
A scientific snap-up
Kide Science, a Helsinki-based company offering play-based lessons in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) for children aged three to eight, has been acquired by Accelerate Learning.
The US company believes the acquisition will enable it to expand its early-childhood offering and international reach at a moment when countries around the world heighten their focus on early-childhood education.
“Young children have an innate sense of curiosity about the world, which makes the early years an ideal time to explore the wonders of STEM,” noted Philip Galati, CEO of Accelerate Learning. “With Kide Science, teachers have research-backed lessons that tap into children’s drive to play, investigate and discover.”
Kide Science has a portfolio including play and story-based lessons for children and professional development materials for teachers. Each lesson consists of video instructions, print-outs, assessment tools, scientific explanations and tips to adjust the content to the age and ability of learners.
The lessons present problems in the four technical disciplines in a way that is not only fun and concrete for learners, but also contributes to the development of their literacy, critical-thinking, problem-solving and social-emotional skills.
The company currently reaches more than a million children in 32 countries.
Sari Hurme-Mehtälä, CEO of Kide Science, said the company is excited to continue setting learners on a successful path and creating the next generation of problem solvers as part of Accelerate Learning.
Kide Science has its roots in the University of Helsinki.Kide Science
GraphoGame, a learning game developed in Finland, recently received the King Sejong Literacy Prize from UNESCO.
“This recognition underscores the importance of our work and the significance of devising solutions that include those who might otherwise be left behind in education. We have seen first-hand the profound impact literacy has on people's lives,” commented Mervi Palander, CEO of GraphoGame.
Based on a Finnish-language game launched in 2007, the game promotes the development of literacy skills by having players connect spoken sounds with letters and words. It has been downloaded more than nine million times and is available in nine languages, with another 14 language versions waiting for publication, Palander revealed to Helsingin Sanomat in September.
GraphoGame also works with governments and non-governmental organisations to make sure the game is available to children around the world for free.