Union Minister for Education and Skill Development Dharmendra Pradhan held bilateral talks with the Finnish Minister of Education, Science and Culture Petri Honkonen, in Delhi on Tuesday. The Ministers discussed topical issues of education in the challenging post-covid times. They both noted that a determined approach is needed to bridge the learning gap of the most vulnerable children. The Ministers also discussed about the educational reforms currently underway in India. They had discussions on making knowledge a priority pillar of the bilateral cooperation and deepen engagements in all areas of education, skill development and frontier research.
Speaking on the occasion, Pradhan said that Finland has evinced interest to collaborate with India on the knowledge front, particularly as a result of the possibilities arising out of National Education Policy (NEP) 2020. Both India and Finland can benefit from each others best practices in ECCE, teacher training, digital education among others, he added. Pradhan further said that Finnish Universities are welcome to collaborate with Indian Higher Education Institutions through joint/dual degrees and twinning programs. He also informed that the Government is coming up with a policy to allow foreign universities to set up campuses in India soon.
During the meeting, Minister Honkonen pointed out that there are many components in the NEP 2020, which are similar to Finnish pedagogical thinking, noting that student-oriented approach and activity-based pedagogy are core elements of the Finnish education system as well. This makes it easier than ever before for our countries to collaborate in the domain of education, Minister Honkonen added. To foster this approach, the Ministry of Education and Culture of Finland has allocated specific funds of up to one million euro a year into a cluster of Finnish universities’ as core funding to enable their collaboration with India in the domain of education. Global Innovation Network of Teaching and Learning, GINTL, started its function amid the Covid-19 pandemic in the spring 2021 to tackle learning crisis and to co-create joint activities between Finnish and Indian education institutions. The Finnish National Agency of Education (EDUFI) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with NCERT to promote educational collaboration through sharing of information and content in different areas of School education. These include early childhood care and education, vocational education, teacher education and training, school leadership and management, application of ICT in education, curriculum research design and development, among others. The MoU envisages utilizing the experience of EDUFI and GINTL in these areas.
Ambassador of Finland to India, Ritva Koukku-Ronde said that we aim at long-standing collaboration in the field of education, bearing in mind that education is not a sprint but rather a long-distance run, where teacher professionalism, school culture and deep learning evolve gradually, drawing on previous structure of understanding”,.
Another university network, the Finnish Indian Consortia for Research and Education, FICORE, puts another one million euro a year into Indo-Finnish collaboration, focusing in higher education and research. FICORE includes all academic universities in Finland and all IITs in India. The scheme is coordinated by the Aalto University and the IITB.