Educational Change in Finland

  • Pasi Sahlberg
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE, volume 23)


In the early 1970s – a century after the first Finnish novel Seven Brothers was published – Finland was known for its long-distance runners, introverted people, saunas on lakes, and successful political coexistence with the Soviet Union. In those days, the Finnish economy was characterized by traditional agriculture and it relied on forestry and heavy-metal industries. Being a rather poor member within a much wealthier family of industrial market economies, Finland was ranked in the lower half of the OECD nations. The Finnish education system had only a few features that attracted any praise among international observers and many education policy ideas were adopted from its wealthier Western neighbor, Sweden. Indeed, Finland’s education system was recognized internationally exceptional only on one account: Finnish 10-year-olds were among the best readers in the world (Allerup & Mejding, 2003; Elley, 1992).


Social Capital Education System Education Policy Education Reform Educational Change 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I wish to thank Henry Heikkinen and David Oldroyd for their constructive suggestions on this chapter. I also wish to acknowledge several colleagues in Finland who provided their comments and corrections to the data and the conclusions presented above. However, any lack of clarity, errors, and omissions are the author’s responsibility alone.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for International Mobility and Cooperation CIMOHelsinkiFinland

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