Not content with the status quo, Finland continues to look for ways to innovate in education

Finland is the world leader at the provision of future skills education, according to the Worldwide Educating for the Future Index (WEFFI) 2018, which is now in its second year, closely followed by Switzerland. Both countries particularly excel in the policy environment category, and specifically in terms of formulation of future skills strategy, the periodic review of strategy and the assessment frameworks to support future skills training.



It might seem risky for one of the world’s most lauded education systems to experiment with its approach to learning, but Finland launched just such an experiment in 2016, mandating all ts schools adopt collaborative teaching methods, with the aim of better preparing students for the challenges they will face in the coming decades. It is one of the reasons why Finland rose from third place in the last iteration to the top position in the 2018 Worldwide Educating For the Future Index.

Another Finnish strength directly relevant to 21st-century skills is the use of digital technology in the classroom. Broadband access is enshrined as a legal right in Finland, and this extends to its schools. All upper-secondary schools, for example, have access to the internet for pedagogical purposes. This does not mean, however, that teaching and learning revolve around technology: in the phenomenon-based approach, it is up to teachers, and often to students themselves, to determine how to use technology in the learning process.

Prodiags has been a forerunner in skills development in the technical automotive sector using digital technology since the 1990s.

Policy: not resting on laurels


The future calls for more broad-based knowledge
and the skills to apply this knowledge.

Minister of education, Finland



The system-wide shift mentioned above involves the adoption of “phenomenon based learning”, which is a multidisciplinary approach to inculcating 21st-century skills. One of its defining elements is a focus on studying practical, real-world phenomena, in place of facts organised around discrete subjects. “The future calls for more broad-based knowledge and the skills to apply this knowledge,” says Sanni Grahn-Laasonen, Finland’s minister of education. “Phenomenon-based learning allows for building bridges between school subjects, learning about how things relate to each other and applying one’s knowledge to It allows for learning both in and outside an existing phenomenon in the world of the school, exploring different perspectives and applying different individual learning styles.”

Compiled from sources: The economist and World Economic Forum