23 SES 09 A, Education Privatization
During the last few years, with new concerns and discourse about ‘PISA decline’ in Finland (e.g. Ministry of Education and Culture 2013), there have been some overt signs that private actors are seeking niches in education improvement (e.g. SCOOL 2016a & 2016b). Recent government policy to do with digitalization of comprehensive schools also offers room to private sector actors in comprehensive schooling (e.g. Ministry of education and culture 2015a & 2015b). There may be further hidden private influences on national education policy-making such as corporate actors involved in working parties and governance roles (Ministry of Education and Culture 2016). These subtle privatisations are occurring at the same time that introducing open forms of privatisation in Finland, such as subsidised private provision, seem improbable, at least in the short-term. The current legislation of basic education states that local municipalities are in charge of organising basic education and others would need particular clearance from government supervised by municipalities. The possibility of private actors as providers in basic education has been rejected for centuries. Private primary schooling was abolished by legislation in the 1950s and in the 1970s the comprehensive school system (peruskoulu) took over almost all private lower secondary schools, merging them under local government (e.g. Seppänen 2006, 54-63). Finland is already involved in some privatisation developments in compulsory education, even if this is not always recognised. For example, the first OECD “Global Education Industry Summit”, an event being held annually, was hosted in Helsinki in 2015. We need to understand these “new policies” and whose interests they serve. Does a country like Finland, which according to the OECD (2013, 4) has a “low impact of students’ background on educational performance”, need a private education industry? This paper will identify and characterise private actors in compulsory schooling in Finland. Methods used will include analysis of government policy documents, analysis of registers and databases of companies and charities as well as observations of national events and activities for agenda setting. The intention is to add knowledge of whether and how national and transnational education business is gaining impetus. Because Finland has been in the limelight as “one of the top-performers” in international large-scale assessments (ILSAs, like PISA), it might attract global education business as a new site for products as expansion possibilities emerge. This paper aims to understand the possible trajectories and impact of current and future private involvement in Finnish compulsory education.
Ministry of education and culture, Finland (2013). PISA 2012: Proficiency of Finnish youth declining. Press release 03.12.2013. Retrieved 18.10.2016 http://www.minedu.fi/OPM/Tiedotteet/2013/12/pisa.html?lang=en Ministry of education and culture, Finland (2015a). Osaamisen ja koulutuksen kärkihankkeilla uudistetaan suomalaista koulutusta [The Finnish education is reformed by the spearheads of know-how and education] Press release, 04.9.2015 Retrieved 11.10.2016 http://www.minedu.fi/OPM/Tiedotteet/2015/09/osaaminen_koulutus.html?lang=fi Ministry of education and culture, Finland (2015b). Minister Grahn-Laasonen: Yritykset vauhdittamaan koulujen oppimisympäristöjen uudistamista [The enterprises to speed up the reforms of the schooling environments] Press release, 20.10.2015 Retrieved 11.10.2016 http://www.minedu.fi/OPM/Tiedotteet/2015/10/Yritykset_vauhdittamaan.html?lang=fi Ministry of education and culture, Finland (2016). Johtoryhmä ohjaamaan peruskoulun uudistamisen kärkihanketta [Advisory Board for steering the spearhead of compulsory school reform] Retrieved 17.9.2016 http://www.minedu.fi/OPM/Tiedotteet/2015/12/johtoryhma.html OECD (2013). Education Policy Outlook: Finland. Retrieved 24.9.2016 from http://www.oecd.org/edu/EDUCATION%20POLICY%20OUTLOOK%20FINLAND_EN.pdf OECD (2015a). Global Education Industry Summit. Retrieved 20.9.2016 from https://www.oecd.org/education-industry-summit/ SCOOL (2016a). We help schools to change. Retrieved 30.3.2016 from https://scool.fi/en SCOOL (2016b). The goal of HundrED is to help Finland maintain a world-leading education system. Retrieved 18.9.2016 https://hundred.fi/partners
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