Finn Church Aid currently runs a number of education programmes in its project countries. The idea for the new collaboration with higher education institutions came about as a response to a global need for teacher and guidance counsellor education.
– Organisations such as UNESCO have pointed out that the standard of teacher education significantly influences the quality of education. In many countries, teachers are underpaid and undervalued. Many teachers have no formal training, says education specialist Carita Cruz from Finn Church Aid.
Partner involvement beyond expectations
Initially, Finn Church Aid was hoping to find one partner institution in Finland, but all five vocational teacher education providers wanted to get involved.
– It is fantastic. Finnish education providers are relatively small organisations, and we were able to get everyone on board. Research carried out by these institutions will also feature in the programme. In many developing countries, there are fewer resources for vocational education than there are for basic education. Finnish expertise can be put to good use in education development projects.
Vocational education is a good way to reduce youth unemployment. The joint programme aims at delivering change at three different levels. Firstly, it will support individuals’ welfare as they develop marketable skills and improve their employment outcomes. This will also improve families’ livelihoods and ability to build homes.
The second goal is to increase the supply of skilled workers for businesses. And thirdly, the programme will deliver national benefits through economic growth. Vocational education can also promote social harmony and reduce conflict by offering young people a meaningful way to build livelihoods.
Huge potential for the programme
The programme will include education for guidance counsellors and teachers, research co-operation, Finnish degree programme exports, and local development of the education sector and vocational curricula in co-operation with government ministries.
– A steering group will first map the target countries and identify interested funding partners. The target countries have not been chosen yet. Finn Church Aid has extensive contacts, networks and expertise in developing countries, and the partner institutions have prior experience of delivering trainings and education. The joint programme has huge potential,” says Jari Laukia, director of the School of Vocational Teacher Education at Haaga-Helia.
Prior experience in education export
Finnish education expertise has already been successfully exported to a number of developing countries, and the new collaboration will support growth in this sector. Many African countries have an acute shortage of vocational education expertise. Finn Church Aid is active in some of the world’s most fragile countries, where vocational education and teacher education are often lacking or non-existent.
– Obviously the programme schedules are still open, and it will take time to establish education instruments in different countries. In this new collaboration, we will explain and discuss the principles of Finnish education with potential local partners and specify its prerequisites. Haaga-Helia already has plenty of experience in delivering education exports globally. We are therefore well placed to establish new programmes quickly.