Over the past four decades, Finnish education has improved to an extent that it is recognised by teachers as the best in the world. Its approach is also noticeably different from global trends.
As a result, there is a solid reason for educators everywhere to learn from what Finland has done.
Pasi Sahlberg, head of the Centre for International Mobility and Cooperation at Finland's Ministry of Education and Culture, revealed many secrets behind his country's educational successes at EDUCA 2013.
Organised by PICO (Thailand), this annual congress for teachers' professional development has brought together the world's leading educators. Keynote speakers have come from successful countries like Finland, and Hong Kong. More than 50,000 teachers registered for the event, which ran from October 9 to October 11.
"While others are preoccupied with setting the same standard for all schools, we believe that standardisation will block creativity," Sahlberg said. "While others encouraged competition as a means to improve educational quality, we trust that collaboration will work better."
He said his country encouraged shared responsibility based on trust, not on tests that have kept students, teachers and school executives under check in many countries, including Thailand.
"Equity is also very important," Sahlberg said.
In sum, when it comes to educational improvement, Finland goes for collaboration, customisation, trust-based responsibility and equity.
The Global Education Reform Movement, meanwhile, has embraced competition, standardisation, test-based accountability and school choice.