“The Finnish Model as a proposal for the reform of Greek education. A heretical view”
This article is based on two fundamental assumptions, namely: (a) that schooling/ education is a mechanism of governance, or in Althusser’s phraseology, “an ideological mechanism of the state”, and (b) that in understanding and critically looking at the Finnish Model of Education we might bear in mind Sir Michael Sadler’s, the pioneer comparativist’s famous dictum, that “the things outside the schools, and govern and interpret the things inside”.
Bearing these assumptions in mind, this essay seeks to explain the great success which Finland registered in the PISA project, in part, in term of the politico-ideological neo-conservative and neo-liberal “turn to the right” that characterized the Finnish political – economic and educational restructuring following the rise to power of the National Coalition Party in 1987. Specifically in education, such reform policies included: devolution and parental choice, efficient management, accountability steering by result and school-based management, and frequent teacher assessment and educational evaluation.
In view of the great interest shown by the Greek stakeholders in the Finnish Model, the article in the end comments on what the Greek education and lawmaker should bear in mind in any reform strategists based on the Finnish prototype. First, the Greek lawmaker must note that PISA assessed the effectiveness or quality of national educational systems solely on the basis of student measurable achievements in literacy, mathematics and science, for which it should be added, it has been criticized. Secondly, if indeed the Greek lawmaker wants to raise achievement level of Greek students in literacy, mathematics and science to the Finnish levels, Greece should not only adopt similar educational policies as Finland, but it should also restructure the Greek politico-economic and cultural context.