“Comparative Argument and Education Policy Making: The “Finnish Education Model” and public discourse in Greece”
The success of its pupils in PISA has brought the Finnish system of education to the attention of many in Greece, including politicians, academics and teachers. The press is hosting articles about it, conferences are organized and a number of educationists and policy makers actually travel up north to acquire first hand information. Public discourse is characterized, as one could have expected in such occasions, by arbitrary generations and remarks, by piecemeal and selective information and by unsubstantiated recommendations.
The article looks into this discourse from the comparative perspective. In the first place it shows how misleading the explanation of the Finnish pupils’ high level reading skills can be if the historical dimension –Lutheranism and long foreign occupation– and the contemporary socio-economic context are neglected. Secondly, it demonstrates how even the factual data could be misinterpreted and distorted when the observer is either not aware of the cultural subjectivity of his/her observation and/or selective in collecting them. It concludes by providing and alternative approach to the study of the “Finnish model” of education that would respect the fundamental principles and the conventional wishes of Comparative Education.