The Minister of Education met cities: Provision of English-language education to be as much as doubled
Minister of Education Sanni Grahn-Laasonen invited the leaders of Finland’s major cities to discuss increasing the provision of international education. Grahn-Laasonen estimates that the provision of English-language education will be doubled within the next few years. Many cities have already taken decisions on increasing provision. According to the Minister of Education, the increase in demand for foreign-language education offers opportunities to attract experts and their families from around the world to Finland, and also opens up opportunities for internationalisation to Finns.
The meeting with the major cities also went through the steps that the Government is taking to make education more international and to attract international experts to Finland. The meeting was attended by representatives of the cities of Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, Joensuu, Jyväskylä, Kuopio, Lappeenranta, Rovaniemi, Tampere, Turku, Vaasa, Lahti and Hämeenlinna.
According to the city leaders, demand for foreign-language education is growing. The demand is spurred by the need to attract international experts. In many cities, there are more people interested in international education than there are places available. Many cities have already decided to increase the provision of foreign-language education substantially. For example, Helsinki will double the amount of English-language teaching at a rapid pace.
The needs brought up by the cities concerned, in particular, early childhood education and basic education in foreign languages, English-language vocational education, and the development of teachers’ skills.
“English-language early childhood education, basic education and upper secondary education may be decisive factors when a foreign expert considers whether to accept a job offer from Finland. Foreign-language education may provide Finnish pupils with better opportunities to develop their language skills and to go international. I’m glad that all of the cities that participated in the discussion are strongly committed to increasing the provision of international education,” says Minister of Education Sanni Grahn-Laasonen.
According to the Minister of Education, the state wants to support efforts to increase the provision of English-language education, in particular.
“The Ministry of Education and Culture undertakes to handle applications for licences as smoothly as possible when expanding education requires a licence,” Grahn-Laasonen continues.
A study on the adoption of an English-language matriculation examination is currently in progress. The Ministry of Education and Culture will also respond to the demand for English-language vocational education and the needs to develop teacher education, the minister says.
The Government has set the goal of increasing internationality in education and research. Many steps have been taken during this government term for strengthening internationality in education, from early childhood education to university education. The Government’s joint Talent Boost programme attracts international experts to Finland and utilises their skills and networks for attracting investments.
Earlier language teaching is supported by language experiments. Thanks to experiments carried out during the government term, 25,000 pupils have come within the sphere of earlier language learning. Education exports are accelerated by dismantling barriers and by utilising the revised Education Finland growth programme. The visibility of Finnish expertise is increased through, for example, the Team Finland Knowledge network, which will send seven university and science specialists abroad in 2018–2019.
A summary of actions taken in education and science to promote internationality is available here: Avoin ja kansainvälinen Suomi, OKM 6.2.2018, pdf
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