Connecting the Big Message (#79/100)

In search of the Big Message

Yesterday was a big day. Education Finland (EF here) growth programme had the first workshop in EDUFI, the Finnish National Agency for Education, in Hakaniemenranta Helsinki. EF had the most inspiring guest – or host? – Director General Olli-Pekka Heinonen amongst us for a while. He intrigued me with his request for us all to find and define the Big Message from Finland. The clue that we international education agents all live by and repeat after each other. This is a big task for us and we cannot take it lightly.

I love finding the clue. That is, after all, the thing that I have been searching for in this Finland 100 years of independence, Finnish VET blog all year around. Have I found it? I believe so. Have I expressed it? Let’s see. The key words in the most common tags tell a lot of the Finnish story: ”Partners, networks, workplaces, learning environments, customer service”. I may be blue-eyed, but not blind. These words tell about a learning culture that is practical, very social and yet with vision of the daily work to be done by everyone. Like the design that we do: few lines, simplicity, beauty, practicality and everlasting character. Like the houses that we have built of the Nordic timber for centuries, they last for a hundred years and more.

I also love finding the connections with our own Finnish VET, vocational education and training.  – Once I heard a director of IVO (now Fortum) tell me that ”Hey Ulla, Finns would not build even a sauna on the groundwork these guys build highrise skyscrapers on!” That IS the connection. We build our education the same way as we do with the design or our houses. Permanent, lasting, stable, with vision far beyond our own generation. TAKK can tell the story of students who KNOW and who CAN. Like my dear colleague once told me, the employers in her sector always take our students first, because they are ready to work on Day One.

No question about it.

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