Live Your Dreams
September 6, 2018

My Fascination with Finnish Education


Like most educators around the world who sometimes go into the “what if” dream world of education; many times the Finnish education system would fill that cloud of utopia. Most have been simply amazed with the international results of Finland on various international rating scales over the decades. I applaud those scores yes, but I love the story behind the scores. My fascination with Finnish education lies within the core of my education philosophy but has played out in their education reform implementation over the past forty years which simply excites me and gives me hope.

My philosophy of education in short (very short in this blog) acknowledges the dignity and uniqueness of an individual. My attitude towards children, adolescents and adults as lifelong learners, is one of true enthusiasm. I believe that education is a critical tool for nation building and one of the determining factors in the success of a country’s productivity and competitiveness in today’s global economy through creativity and innovation. Through Branches Of Learning Inc. and BIG On Learning, I hope to create learning environments that develop and build capacity in children, young adults, teaching professionals, and education leaders to be effective communicators, competent problem-solvers, self-directed learners, responsible citizens and quality producers as they prepare to meet the dynamic needs of an exponentially changing landscape of education and the world.

Finland has developed and owned its own vision of educational and social change connected to inclusiveness and creativity rather than renting a standardized vision that has been developed elsewhere. Creating genuine cultures of trust, high levels of respect, professionalism of teachers and education leaders. Thus, enhancing the autonomy needed to innovate within the classroom and schools all while respecting and taking shared responsibility for the education of ALL of their citizens. Education became the main vehicle of social and economic change in the postwar era. Finland knew they needed a better educated population and this was their new vision for the entire nation. When we know better, we should simply do better.

As my Finnish education experience unfolds, I revel at the impact these core beliefs and principles had for a nation and try to unpack to make meaningful a Finnish fusion within my home country as education reform-transformation remains a hot topic. My framing is shaping up with these thoughts:




Now of course it’s only the beginning, but we all have to start somewhere, and honestly I have more questions than before. What is our vision for and value of education? What are your thoughts?


Njeri Richardson-Carty