India and Finland to strengthen bilateral cooperation in all areas of education, skill development, and frontier research

New Delhi: The Union Minister for Education and Skill Development, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, held a meeting with the Finnish Minister of Education, Science, and Culture, HE Mr. Petri Honkonen, in New Delhi. The ministers discussed topical issues of education in the challenging post-Cold War times. They both noted that a determined approach is needed to bridge the learning gap of the most vulnerable children. The ministers also discussed the path-breaking educational reforms currently underway in India. They also had fruitful discussions on making knowledge a priority pillar of bilateral cooperation and deepening engagements in all areas of education, skill development, and frontier research.

Speaking on occasion, Shri Pradhan expressed his happiness that Finland has evinced interest in collaborating with India on the knowledge front, especially as a result of the possibilities arising out of NEP. Both India and Finland can benefit from each other’s best practices in ECCE, teacher training, and digital education, among others, he added. Shri 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 me 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, that are similar to Finnish pedagogical thinking, noting that a 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 euros a year to a cluster of Finnish universities’ as core funding to enable their collaboration with India in the domain of education. The Global Innovation Network of Teaching and Learning, or GINTL, started its function amid the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2021 to tackle the learning crisis and to co-create joint activities between Finnish and Indian educational institutions. The Finnish National Agency of Education (EDUFI) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with NCERT to promote educational collaboration through the 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, the application of ICT in education, curriculum research, design, and development, etc. The MoU envisages utilizing the experience of EDUFI and GINTL in these areas.

Ambassador of Finland to India, Ms. 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 the previous structure of understanding”,

Another university network, the Finnish Indian Consortia for Research and Education, CORE, puts another one million euros a year into Indo-Finnish collaboration, focusing on higher education and research. The CORE includes all academic universities in Finland and all IITs in India. The scheme is coordinated by Aalto University and IITB.