Via @EvaHartell I came across this 26 September 2012 interview with Pasi Sahlberg by John Hattie (author of the useful and very influential Visible Learning, himself interviewed - 28/8/2014 update - by the BBC's Sarah Montague, here) .
You would have to have been asleep in recent months to have missed the discussion about what is special about the Finnish education system, but there is a big difference between reading about it, and hearing Sahlberg's highly nuanced responses to Hattie's questions.
Particularly striking for me are the following.
- It has taken 40 years for Finland to transform its school system.
- Finland places a very great emphasis on preschool and primary education.
- Parental/pupil choice about school only starts at and beyond age sixteen.
- Pupils are given/take responsibility for their own learning rather than being "taught to the test".
Note, in particular, Sahlberg's favourable comparison of those working in pre-school and primary education with other high status, collectively run/regulated hard-to-get-into professions like law and medicine, and what Sahlberg says about the large proportion of pupils for whom expensive (but, he explains, cost effective) "special" interventions of various kinds are made at some point in their school education.
Above all, note how the policy aim of equity supported by an internal ethos that is collaborative rather than competitive is so central to the success and effectiveness of the Finnish system.