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Supporting education system reforms


REFORM refers to larger scale partnerships in which the main goal is to develop a local education system, or parts of it, to enable the full potential of learning. The key is in co-creation. We know we can't export the Finnish education system as itself, but we support the client's reform process by providing the suitable elements of our education system and helping the local experts to build the best kind of model for their environment.

ECF has been involved in reform processes and education policy development in primary education, vocational education and higher education all over the world, e.g. in the Middle East, Africa, Southeast Asia and in Eastern Europe.


Roadmaps for education system reform are built through long-term partnerships with local stakeholders, national ministries and education authorities. All support for implementation is anchored into the local education strategy framework. Local education reforms gain added value through adapting best Finnish practices to local contexts.

Possible tools and modes of collaboration for the reform process:

  • Expert cooperation in designing and implementing the reform processes on a day-to-day basis
  • Coaching and facilitation in development processes
  • Up-skilling and capacity building of key personnel
  • Pilot process in selected schools / school districts to test new approaches derived from the Finnish best practices
  • Cascade and dissemination processes (further roll-out, further training, dissemination activities)


For example ministries, national education authorities and education providers


Usually over 3-5 years collaboration processes

Case example

Educational Partnership Programme | EPA 2010-2015

The EPA Programme is a partnership programme that creates a pedagogical fusion combining both the Abu Dhabi and Finnish experience, leading to the creation of world-class flagship schools in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain from 2010 to 2015.

Client benefits:
  • New Flagship model for Finnish-Emirati School model (through testing the best Finnish teaching practices) 
  • Professional development of Emirati teachers (upskilling the work force through peer teaching and mentoring )                 
  • Better performing schools (new curriculum, ICT, bi-literacy, materials)


The studies were implemented during three semesters. Semester syllabus (based on curriculum) was designed around three- to five-week periods, with unique structure in all periods. As part of the studies the students had the possibility to make two study visits to Finland with separate programmes. The cornerstones of University PD curriculum are the same as in Finnish teacher education: evidence-based teaching, child-centred learning and continuous reflective teacher development. These elements have been applied to the idea of life-long-on the job learning environments. The holistic view over theory and practice has linked the students’ everyday work and their PD-studies. In the PD curriculum, a special emphasis has been given to the emerging issues in the Emirati schools, such as bilingual school and assessment. Additionally, internationally topical issues such as community building and teachers’ interaction skills have also been noted in University PD curriculum.


“My experience with Cycle 1 students in the past two years in Al Raqia School has taught me that the Finnish approach is completely different than our teaching approaches in the UAE. The Finnish approach focuses on preventing a problem before it occurs. Teachers observe their students carefully, and have an open dialogue with other teachers and parents on that particular students’ performance.”  - Kheloud Al Dhaheri

from ‘ADEC Press release: Round table discussion on the Emirati-Finnish fusion programme at the 2012 GESS exhibition

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