C J Koh Professorial Lecture 2010: Professor Hannele Niemi

C J Koh Professorial Lecture 2010: Professor Hannele Niemi

Thursday, 28 October 2010

The National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University (NIE/NTU), Singapore will be organising the C J Koh Professorial Lecture entitled Between Success and Challenges: The Finnish Educational System and Teacher Education, to be delivered by Professor Hannele Niemi.

Professor Niemi is Professor of Education, University of Helsinki.

We believe that the lecture will be of great interest to policy makers, educationists, parents and the general public. Finland is regarded as having one of the best education systems in the world and a country in which the teaching profession is held in high regard. Professor Niemi’s talk will discuss how this has been achieved and how its experiences can inform policy and practice elsewhere.

The series of C J Koh Professorial Lectures has been made possible through a donation of S$1.5 million to the Nanyang Technological University Endowment Fund by Mr Ong Tiong Tat, executor of the late lawyer Mr Koh Choon Joo’s (C J Koh) estate. The endowment serves the programme of the Koh Choon Joo Professorship in Education. An additional sum of S$500,000 was donated to the endowment fund for the awards of the Pradap Kow (Mrs C J Koh) Scholarship in Higher Degrees in Education.

Between Success and Challenges: The Finnish Educational System and Teacher Education


The Finnish education system has received attention globally due to its stellar performance in the PISA surveys of 2000, 2003 and 2006 (OECD 2010). Finnish 15-year-old students excel in science, mathematics, the reading of literature and problem solving; only a very few fall within the lowest PISA categories. Likewise, the differences between schools are small.

The lecture introduces how the Finnish system has purposefully aimed at equity and inclusion. Important decisions include the discontinuation of streaming, allocation of affordable educational resources to lower secondary education, decentralisation of decision making, early intervention for weak students and free education for all. Beside education policies, high-quality teachers and teacher education contribute to students’ high learning outcomes. All teachers have master’s level qualifications and are responsible for their own professional development. Teacher education programmes provide teachers with a readiness to analyse complex situations and develop their teaching methodologies for different learners.

A concept of learning as a socio-constructive process has been crucial in the development of curriculum. National and local evaluations are seen as a tool for improvements throughout the educational system. Future challenges facing the Finnish educational system and teacher education will be elaborated at the lecture.

Event Details

Date:    Thursday, 28 October 2010
Time:   4.00pm – 5.30pm
Venue: Auditorium, NTU Alumni Club 
             11 Slim Barracks Rise, level 3 

About the Speaker

Dr Hannele Niemi is Professor of Education (1998 - present) at the Faculty of Behavioural Sciences, University of Helsinki.

She is Chair of the Cross-disciplinary Initiative for Collaborative Efforts of Research on Learning (CICERO) Network (www.cicero.fi) for multidisciplinary research on learning (2005 - present).

Professor Niemi has been Scientific Director of the national research programme, “Life as Learning”, Academy of Finland (2002 - 2006) and a member of the Steering Committee of the British national research programme, “Teaching and Learning Research Programme” (2003 - 2008).

She has been Vice Rector for academic affairs at the University of Helsinki (2003 -2008, 2008 - 2009), Dean of the Faculty of Education (2001 - 2003), Head of the Department of Education and Vice-Dean at the University of Helsinki (1998 - 2000). She has been Professor of Education in Teacher Education Departments of Oulu, Turku and Tampere Universities (1987 - 1998) and Visiting Scholar at Michigan State University (1989). She has had many memberships in scientific councils eg the Standing Committee of Social Sciences of the European Science Foundation, the Council for Society and Culture in the Academy of Finland and the Scientific Council of the University of Helsinki. She is an advisor or a reviewer in many scientific journals. She is a board member and vice-chairperson of the Finnish Virtual University. She is also a member of the Finnish Higher Education Evaluation Council (2004 - 2007, 2008 - 2009).

She has contributed in many European Union and Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) projects as an expert or researcher and served as a keynote lecturer in several international forums eg in Hungary, Slovenia, Spain, Portugal, German, Norway, Sweden, Scotland, England, France and Estonia. Her main research interest areas are teachers’ professional development, moral education and technology-based learning environments. She has published several articles and books on education in Finland and Finnish teacher education eg Research-Based Teacher Education in Finland (2006) and Education as a Societal Contributor (2007) and contributed in many international education research publications eg Evidence in Education, Linking Research and Policy, OECD/CERI (2007). She has published in 10 languages.

During the past 20 years, she has been a chairperson or a researcher in many national and international evaluation projects for development of educational research and teacher education. Professor Niemi has graduated as Master of Philosophy (1974), Master of Theology (1977) and Doctor of Philosophy (1978) at the University of Helsinki.

Further details are available at www.helsinki.fi/hanneleniemi