The Past, Present and Future of the Comprehensive School Reform in Finland: From Planning to Marketization?

Rakhmat Hidayat, Juha Suoranta


The aim of this article is to examine the historical and present changes in educational policy in Finland. In this article we track and describe the development of the comprehensive school reform in Finland by asking: What was the background to the comprehensive school reform in Finland? What was the main content of the reform and how did it lay the foundation for the success today of Finland’s educational model? What are the main contemporary challenges for the Finnish educational model? The article is supported by bibliographic, qualitative document analysis and makes use of state-of-the-art sources taken from studies pertaining to Finland’s education system. It also draws from official government documents and multilateral institutional documents in which Finland’s educational policymaking is investigated. We argue that the comprehensive school reform in Finland laid the foundation for the success of the country’s educational model in international comparisons and that the success of the reform was the result of a set of historical, social, cultural, political, economic, and ethical-moral factors that have shaped Finnish society since the mid-19th century.

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