NOVEMBER 14:  Author to lecture on Finnish education


Author to lecture on Finnish education

By Gordon Y.K. Pang

POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Nov 11, 2013

Pasi Sahlberg, a Finnish educator and author, is headed to Hawaii to share lessons that his country learned as it transformed its school system into one in which students consistently place at or near the top in international charts.

Sahlberg will give a free lecture at the University of Hawaii-West Oahu at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Finland once had a school system much like that of the United States but now bans standardized testing before age 16. While Americans are focused on oversight of teachers, tougher academic standards and testing young children, Finland emphasizes equity, collaboration and autonomy.

Sahlberg is a visiting professor at Harvard and author of the 2011 book “Finnish Lessons.”

Pasi Sahlberg

UH West O‘ahu to host Distinguished Visiting Scholar Dr. Pasi Sahlberg
Internationally renowned education expert to discuss “Finnish lessons for Hawai‘i”
University of Hawaiʻi-West Oʻahu

Julie Funasaki Yuen, (808) 689-2604
Public Info Officer, Communications Department
Posted: Oct 30, 2013

The University of Hawai‘i – West O‘ahu will host a presentation by Distinguished Visiting Scholar and Finnish educator Dr. Pasi Sahlberg at its Kapolei campus on Nov. 14. The internationally renowned education scholar will travel to the Islands to discuss the story of education reform in Finland and how these lessons might inspire new policy and practice in Hawai‘i.

Sahlberg is director general of the Centre for International Mobility and Cooperation in Helsinki, Finland, a Visiting Professor at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education, and a recognized expert in classroom teaching, training teachers and leaders, and coaching schools. He advises education policy-makers around the world, and has given more than 300 keynote speeches, and published over 100 articles, chapters and books on education. While in Hawai‘i, Sahlberg will address relevant education topics including standardization, competition, readiness, and equity in a global context, as well as offer insights on alternative ways to view teaching and learning.

“We are excited to bring to the West O‘ahu community and the entire State of Hawai‘i accomplished education scholar Dr. Pasi Sahlberg,” said UH West O‘ahu Chancellor Rockne Freitas. “Finnish educational policy is characterized by the belief that everyone should have the same opportunity to learn, and it is fitting that he share his insights here at UH West O‘ahu with the University’s high percentage of Native Hawaiian, Asian Pacific Islander students and other underrepresented groups in higher education.”

“We are honored to bring Professor Sahlberg to Hawai‘i through the efforts of the Honorary Consulate of Finland,” said UH West O‘ahu Professor of Early Childhood Education Dr. Susan Matoba Adler. “His book Finnish Lessons, based on equity for all children, reflects the belief of our UHWO Early Childhood Education bachelor’s degree program. Schools in Finland are ready for children rather than expecting children to be ready for school.”

During his presentation, Sahlberg will address topics from Finnish Lessons: What can the world learn from educational change in Finland? including Finnish schools’ focus on equity over excellence, and how the Finnish education system was reformed from one much like the United States, to one that views education as “an instrument to even out social inequality.”

Happening on Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. in the UH West O‘ahu Campus Center Multipurpose Room C208, this event is free and open to the public with free on-campus parking.

Dr. Pasi Sahlberg’s presentation is made possible by the UH West O‘ahu Distinguished Visiting Scholars Program, the University of Hawai‘i Diversity and Equity Initiative, and offered in partnership with the Consulate of Finland and the Hawai‘i Association of Independent Schools (HAIS). He will also speak at an HAIS event on Nov. 18. For more information, visit

Pasi Sahlberg has lived and worked in England (King’s College), the United States (World Bank in Washington D.C.) and Italy (European Training Foundation in Torino) and worked in 50 countries around the world. He earned his PhD from the University of Jyväskylä in Finland in 1996 and was an invited speaker at Harvard University, Stanford University, Columbia University, Vanderbilt University and Parliament Houses in England, Scotland, New Zealand and the European Union.

Sahlberg is a member of the Board of Directors of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, and the International Association for the Study of Cooperation in education, and member of the Advisory Board of the Center on International Education Benchmarking, as well as Adjunct Professor at the Universities of Helsinki and Oulu.

His book Finnish Lessons: What can the world learn from educational change in Finland? (2011) won the 2013 Grawemeyer Award, the 2012 Education Award in Finland, and 2011 Upton Sinclair Award in the United States. He is also known as an international “school improvement activist” because of his direct links to practitioners and their communities. For more information, visit

UH West O‘ahu became a four-year, regional comprehensive university when it served its first class of freshmen in fall 2007. The University offers quality education, small classes and personalized attention at convenient locations. UH West O‘ahu serves approximately 2,400 students at its brand new, state-of-the-art campus that opened in the City of Kapolei in 2012. For more information, visit,, or call (808) 689-2800 or toll-free (866) 299-8656.