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Lauri Tuomi. Photo: Heli Salonen, Opetushallitus

Photo: Heli Salonen

Finnish National Agency for Education to boost education export – Education Finland growth programme launched

The Finnish National Agency for Education (EDUFI) was commissioned to boost Finnish education export in the beginning of June. The new growth programme – Education Finland – will support businesses, higher education institutions and other education and training providers in expanding in the international market.

Target to increase education export turnover by a third by 2018

In 2014, the turnover of Finnish education export was about 260 million euros. However, there is potential for much more. The Government Programme has set a target to increase the turnover to 350 million euros by the end of 2018.

– Finland is in a good position to become a leader in education export. Our education system is regarded highly worldwide and there is demand for our education expertise. Compared to many other countries, however, education export is still in its infancy in Finland. In addition to public education providers, we also have promising start-up and more established growth companies. With this new unit, we want to support their continued success. To succeed, we need consistent work to develop a model for education export that is best suited and unique to us, different from our competitors. This is where Education Finland comes in, explains Olli-Pekka Heinonen, Director General of EDUFI.

Potential for education export at all education levels

Businesses, universities and vocational education and training institutions are the main operators in education export. Digital learning solutions designed by Finnish companies have been successful across the world. Schools employing Finnish teaching methods and teachers have been established in Qatar and United Arab Emirates. Finnish excellence in teacher training has been sold to countries such as Saudi Arabia, Colombia, Indonesia and South Africa. Finnish expertise in curricula development and early childhood education and care has also attracted international interest.

From the beginning of next year, the vocational education and training reform will allow export of vocational qualifications. EDUFI is already running a pilot project in which 11 training providers are selling vocational competence-based qualifications to 20 countries. The most popular products include qualifications in entrepreneurship, management, metal work and machinery, processing industry, social and health care, electrical engineering and automation technology, engineering and product development.

Potential for education export can be found at all levels – liberal adult education institutions as well as general upper secondary schools have also expressed interest in starting education export. The most promising markets for Finnish education export include China, the Arab States of the Persian Gulf, South-East Asia and Latin America. Africa is also regarded as a growing market. In addition to these regions, the pilot projects to export vocational education and training are directed at Russia, USA and India, too.

Exporters of the best education in the world deserve the best support

Dr Lauri Tuomi was appointed the leader of the education export growth programme, and took up his position in EDUFI on 24 July. Tuomi has been pioneering Finnish education export both as an entrepreneur and as the Vice President of the Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences. He was also leading the project to develop an operating model for the growth programme in the beginning of 2017. He also wrote a benchmarking report about countries successful in education export in 2016.

– The Education Finland growth programme has many strengths: the service structure is already there, designed in cooperation with actors in the field, there are strong links to the Finnish ministries of education and culture, foreign affairs, and economic affairs and employment. We work together with other growth programmes of Team Finland and Business Finland. The wide expertise and international links of EDUFI are great assets for promoting education export. Support services for sales and active presence in the target markets are the most important keys to the growth. The exporters of the best education in the world deserve the best support, Tuomi says.

Further information

Programme Director, Dr Lauri Tuomi, tel. +358 (0)29 533 1667,

The Education Finland growth programme offers companies, education and training providers and others involved in education export information about new business opportunities, develops know-how in education export, and promotes Finnish education and training abroad. The programme also develops new support solutions together with other operators in education export. The Finnish National Agency for Education is responsible for the implementation of the Education Finland growth programme. The programme receives funding from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment and the Ministry of Education and Culture. The programme will be open for membership applications from autumn 2017.

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