The Asian Development Bank has selected an international consortium to provide technical assistance for Sri Lanka’s Secondary Education Sector Improvement Programme (SESIP). As a partner in the international consortium, the University of Turku provides educational expertise in pedagogical methods and curriculum development.
With the SESIP Programme, Sri Lanka aims to strengthen its secondary education system. The technical assistance provided by the international consortium focuses on curriculum development of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and commerce subjects, pedagogy, educational leadership, teacher deployment, and assessment and university entrance.
The international consortium led by the University of Helsinki HY+, includes the University of Turku from Finland, the Korea Institute for Curriculum and Evaluation (KICE), and the Korean Educational Development Institute (KEDI). Both Korean partner organisations have extensive experience in technical assistance and consultancy in the education sector.
The technical assistance project will last for three years in total and it is an important opening in extending the cooperation in the field of education between Sri Lanka and Finland.
- I congratulate HY+, the University of Turku and their Korean partners for winning ADB’s technical assistance project in Sri Lanka. Finland has a lot to offer in terms of education sector reforms. By building partnerships and international consortium, Finnish education sector players can play an even bigger role globally, says Marjaana Sall, the Ambassador for Education at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland
Implementing 21st century skills and learning methods to secondary schools in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is carrying out an ambitious education reform, which aims at enhanced human resource development and globally competitive and knowledge-centered modern economy. The SESIP also focuses on new strategies, such as online learning and teaching, blended learning, and distance mode education.
- Our role is to counsel teachers and educational professionals in Sri Lanka in new pedagogical methods such as inquiry-based, learner-centered and blended learning, says Professor Eila Lindfors from the Department of Teacher Education, Faculty of Education at the University of Turku.
- We also work closely with our partners in Sri Lanka in curriculum development in order to redesign the contents of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and commerce subjects, and innovation laboratories to enhance hands-on learning in Sri Lankan secondary education, says Professor Lindfors.
The cooperation with the National Institute of Education and the Ministry of Education has already begun with several online training sessions and workshops. The participants to these workshops are officials and trainers who will pass on the new skills and methods to teacher training schools and secondary school teachers at Sri Lanka.
In addition to Professor Lindfors, Teacher Training Expert Pekka Parkkinen has been one of the main coaches in these workshops. Parkkinen has hands-on experience in teaching science subjects on the secondary school level. He now works at the University of Turku Teacher Training School.
- In Finland and at the University of Turku, we have a system of teacher training schools, which is unique and rare in the global context. All our future teachers practice teaching in these schools as part of their pedagogical studies. We also cooperate closely with the Faculty of Education and the Departments of Teacher Training. All new learning methods are thus tested in practice and developed further together, Parkkinen explains.
- This collaboration is an excellent example of the multidisciplinary expertise we have at the University of Turku. Without the craft, design and technology education research and subject teacher training at the Faculty of Education, we would not have expertise for this project, adds Professor Lindfors.
According to Key Account Manager Ari Koski and Programme Manager Iina Hautala from the University of Turku Global Educational Services, this project is also an outstanding example of the growing demand for international collaboration, but also of the practical collaboration between the Finnish universities in global educational services.
- The University of Turku is really proud of this partnership. The role of our University matches well to our research strengths, says Koski.
- We believe that we can help our Sri Lankan partners in their education reform. At the same time, this is also a great opportunity for us to learn and broaden our educational cooperation areas, adds Hautala.
Text: Kati Kaarlehto
Photo: Hanna Oksanen