23 SES 01 D, Marketisation in Education
Introducing open forms of privatisation for compulsory schooling in Finland, such as subsidised private provision, seems improbable, at least in the short-term. Legislatively the local municipalities are in charge of organising all compulsory education, and others (currently only 2% of all comprehensive schools) would need particular clearance from Government. However there are various type of Finnish actors that are reaching out to find a market niche inside public schooling in Finland as well as those that are reaching out globally reflecting the international growth of the ‘Global Education Industry’ (GEI) (Verger, Lubienski & Steiner-Khamsi 2016; Ball 2012). Recent Centre-right governments in Finland have promoted education export (see in Schatz 2016). Few corporate actors are involved in working parties and governance roles (Ministry of Education and Culture 2016) that indicate that private actors might shape education policy agenda (Mundy et al. 2016). Also policy regarding digitalization of comprehensive schools offers room to private sector actors in comprehensive schooling (e.g. Ministry of education and culture 2015a & 2015b). Furthermore new concerns and discourses about ‘PISA decline’ in Finland (e.g. Ministry of Education and Culture 2013; SCOOL 2016b) might create niche for education improvement (Seppänen, Rinne, Kauko & Kosunen, in press). Overall this reflects the current climate where compulsory education is being pushed from public good to gain economic advantage (Hogan 2015).
In this paper the aim is to identify and characterise private actors in compulsory schooling in Finland and to analyse scale and type of their international connections. The paper is part of comparative research project looking at developments in privatisation in three small countries – Finland, Sweden and New Zealand - that traditionally have had strong public education.
To identify private actors in compulsory schooling in Finland data is gathered from four forums/sites in 2017 (i) a leading event in the field of teaching and education (Educa) that consists of Finland’s largest exhibition organised by the Trade Union of Education (OAJ) (Messukeskus 2017) (ii) a website of a national education export program (Education Finland) operated by governmental Finnish National Agency for Education (Education Finland 2017) (iii) a website of a not-for-profit company (HundrED) that “seeks and shares inspiring innovations in K12 education” (iv) a website of an education company xEdu that is a “business accelerator for edtech startups creating transformative learning solutions with pedagogical impact” (xEdu 2018). The companies involved or wishing to be involved in compulsory education in Finland were identified as private actors with identifiable commercial interests. The research material includes description of ‘products and/or services’ for schools at compulsory level (age of 7 – 15 years). The study is part of a research project Hollowing Out of Public Education Systems? Private Actors in Compulsory Schooling in Finland, Sweden and New Zealand (HOPES) funded by Academy of Finland (1 Sep 2017 – 31 July 2021) at the Centre for Research on Lifelong Learning and Education (CELE), University of Turku.
There seems to be an increasing number of companies attached to the education sector in various areas in Finland. Some of these are small-scale or start-up companies originally put up by Finns who wish find markets mainly in education technology and/or to sell their products globally with the help of Finland’s ‘PISA reputation’. These have also been promoted as an educational export by recent governments. Others are global, large-scale businesses in areas that are already involved with or wishing to create new business in some section of education. The third group identified are businesses to promote edu-business in Finland and globally such as digital marketing agencies and ‘start-up company accelerators’. Private actors are involved in connections to digitalisation in education and any industry prospect around education “improvement” or evaluation solutions or related digital tools, and/or “innovations” as new business ideas.
Ball, S.J. (2012). Global Education Inc: New Policy Networks and the Neoliberal Imaginary. Oxon: Routledge Hogan, A. (2015). Boundary spanners, network capital and the rise of edubusinesses: the case of News Corporation and its emerging education agenda, Critical Studies in Education, 56(3), 301-314, DOI: 10.1080/17508487.2014.966126 Mundy, K., Green, A., Lingard, B., & Verger, A. (Eds.) (2016). The Global Education Policy Handbook. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons Schatz, M. 2016. Education as Finland’s hottest export? - A Multi-Faceted Case Study on Finnish National Education Export Policies. Research Reports of the Department of Teacher Education. Doctoral Dissertation. Helsinki: University of Helsinki. 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 Seppänen, P., Rinne, R., Kauko, J. & Kosunen, S, (in press) Declining PISA results in Finland and the reconstruction of projections. In Florian Waldow & Gita Steiner-Khamsi (eds.) Understanding PISA’s attractiveness: Analyses in comparative policy studies. Bloomsbury. Verger, A., Lubiensky, C., & Steiner-Khamsi, G. (2016). World Yearbook of Education 2016: The Global Education Industry. Oxon & New York: Routledge.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
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