When Equality Produced QualityDevelopment, Reforms and Change in Finnish Educational system
Jussi Pakkasvirta, Elisa Tarnaala, PhD

At the beginning of the twentieth century, Finland was one of the least developed European countries. Hundred years later, Finland stands in top ten in most of the global welfare rankings, with its educational system often elevated as a model for others to follow. This article analyzes the development and some characteristics of Finnish educational system after the Second World War, from the perspective of reconciling political conflicts and competing interests.The article focuses particularlytothe postwar de-polarization, search for stability and the challenges of a globalized and digitalized society to educational systems. Why today, in Finnish schools, the gap between high and low performing students is still relatively small, as is the gap between students from high- and low-income families? Is this an achievement of a conscious political planning, or just an historical coincidence? Exceptional qualities of the Finnish system are to be understood as a consequence of a particular historical trajectory, where causalities in outcomes can be detected and the process of change traced.Understanding these patterns of change – the effects of inclusionary parliamentary politics to post civil war political reconciliation; the impacts of expanding social policies to national integration after the Second World War; and the depolarizing effects of consensus-based corporatist arrangements to labor markets during the Cold War - is fundamental for grasping why the system developed in the direction it did.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/jehd.v7n1a15