Koulutusvienti avaa ovet oman toiminnan kriittiseen reflektointiin 

Kirjoittaja: Henna Juusola.

Kansallisessa keskustelussa suomalaisen koulutuksen vahvuus on nähty perustuvan ennen kaikkea hyvään ja korkealaatuiseen koulutusjärjestelmään. Esimerkiksi koulutusviennin kansallisessa strategiassa suomalaisen koulutuksen hyvä maine ja kilpailukykyinen koulutusjärjestelmä katsotaan antavan vakaan pohjan koulutusvientitoiminnalle (Valtioneuvoston periaatepäätös 2010). Uusimmissa korkeakouluja koskevassa kansainvälisyyden edistämisen linjauksissa (2017) suomalaisen koulutuksen laadun nähdään konkretisoituvan kansainvälisissä tunnustuksissa, kuten hyvänä menestyksenä peruskoululaisten osaamista mittaavassa PISAssa ja aikuisten osaamista selvittävässä PIAAC-tutkimuksessa (OKM 2017, 23).

Kansainväliset koulutusosaamista koskevat tunnustukset herättävät kiinnostusta ja lisäävät luottamusta suomalaista koulutusta ja koulutustoimijoita kohtaan. Tämä osaltaan edesauttaa koulutusviennin implementointia, mutta ei suoraan tarjoa pohjaa korkeakoulujen toteuttaman koulutusvientitoiminnan laadunvarmistukselle. Ensinnäkin, koulutusvienti on monilta osin suomalaisille korkeakouluille uusi kansainvälinen toimintamuoto, jonka järjestämisestä ei ole ehtinyt kertyä pitkäaikaista kokemusta. Toisekseen, koulutusvientitoiminta sisältää lukuisan määrän erilaisia hankkeita ja kansainvälisiä yhteistyötahoja, jolloin laadunvarmistuksessa pitäisi pystyä huomioimaan sekä kansallinen että kansainvälinen toimintaympäristö moninaisine toimijoineen.

Kansainvälisillä foorumeilla koulutusvientitoiminnan laadunvarmistuksesta on käyty keskustelua jo jonkin aikaa. Tällöin esille on nostettu muun muassa tutkintojen kansainväliseen tunnistamiseen liittyviä asioita, kontekstisensitiivisen lähestymistavan tärkeyttä ja riskien hallintaan liittyviä käytänteitä (esim. Healey 2015; Pyvis 2011; UNESCO & OECD 2005). Toisaalta käytännön esimerkkejä löytyy koulutusvientiä pitempään toteuttaneiden tahojen kansallisista suosituksista ja selvityksistä. Esimerkiksi British Council ja saksalainen kansainvälisen liikkuvuuden keskus (German Academic Exchange Service, DAAD) lanseerasivat kesäkuussa koulutusviennin systemaattista tiedonkeräämistä koskevan manuaalin: Transnational education data collection systems, jossa keskiössä on yhtenäisen ja kansainvälisesti ymmärrettävän tiedon järjestelmällinen kerääminen (Knight & McNamara 2017).

Tässä artikkelissa mielenkiinnon kohteena on koulutusvientitoiminnan laadunvarmistuskäytänteet suomalaisten korkeakoulujen näkökulmasta. Artikkeli valottaa sitä koulutusvientitoiminnan laadunvarmistukseen liittyvää pohjatyötä, jota Haaga-Helia ammattikorkeakoulussa parhaillaan tehdään. Artikkelissa nostetaan esille myös niitä kansainvälisiä esimerkkejä, jotka koulutusvientiä koskevassa laadunvarmistuksessa voi olla järkevää ottaa huomioon.

Koulutusvientitoiminnan laadunvarmistus kansallisesta näkökulmasta

Lähtökohtaisesti koulutusvientitoiminnan laadunvarmistusta ohjaavat samat tekijät kuin mitä tahansa muutakin korkeakoulujen toteuttamaa toimintaa. Esimerkiksi tutkintoon johtavassa koulutuksessa on huomioitava muun muassa kunkin korkeakoulun tutkintosääntö ja laadunvarmistukseen liittyvät käytänteet (kuten laatupolitiikka). Toisaalta korkeakoulujen laadunvarmistukseen vaikuttaa myös koulutuspoliittinen ohjaus kuten ammattikorkeakoululainsäädäntö, ammattikorkeakoulujen rahoitusmalli ja kansallinen, auditointiin perustuva laadunvarmistus. Jälkimmäisen osalta keskeisessä asemessa ovat laadunvarmistuksen yhteiseurooppalaiset suositukset (The Standards and guidelines for quality assurance in the European Higher Education Area, ESG), jotka kattavat myös koulutusviennin. ESG:n keskiössä nähdään muun muassa opiskelijakeskeinen oppiminen ja koulutuksen laadun jatkuva kehittäminen (ENQA 2015).

Toisaalta taas koulutusvienti laajassa merkityksessään sisältää hajanaisia toimintoja ja vaihtelevan paikallisen kontekstin. Käytännössä koulutusvientiä koskevat laadunvarmistuskäytänteet ovat riippuvaisia siitä, minkälaisesta koulutusvientitoiminnasta on kyse ja siitä missä koulutus pääosin järjestetään. Esimerkiksi lukukausimaksulliset tutkintoon johtavat koulutusohjelmat voivat sijaita Suomessa, Suomen ulkopuolella tai useassa eri maassa. Ne voidaan järjestää yhteis- tai kaksoistutkintoon johtavina koulutusohjelmina, ns. franchising-toteutuksina tai soveltaa jotakin muuta tapaa. Osa koulutusvientihankkeista keskittyy tutkintoon johtamattomiin koulutuskokonaisuuksiin ja osa voi toteutua asiantuntijakonsultaationa. Jotkut koulutustoteutuksista järjestetään tiiviissä yhteistyössä partnereiden kanssa, jolloin henkilökunnasta osa voi olla paikallisia ja osa tulla Suomesta.

Tämänkaltaisessa sirpaleisessa toimintakentässä koulutuksen laadunvarmistuksessa on pystyttävä ylläpitämään yhtä lailla vertailukelpoisia oppimistuloksia, hyvää kansainvälistä mainetta kuin koulutustoiminnan jatkuvaa kehittämistyötä. Tämä vaatii koulutusvientitoimijoilta kattavaa ymmärrystä paitsi kansallisista lähtökohdista myös kansainvälisestä toimintaympäristöstä, joka taas voi vaihdella kohdemaasta ja koulutusmuodosta riippuen.

Kansainvälisiä näkökulmia koulutusviennin laadunvarmistukseen

Erään lähtökohdan koulutusvientitoiminnan laadunvarmistukseen tarjoavat Unescon ja OECD:n (2005) laatimat suositukset: Guidelines for Quality Provision in Cross-border Higher Education. Suositukset kattavat sekä kansalliset toimijat, korkeakoulut että opiskelijat. Korkeakoulujen osalta suosituksissa korostetaan muun muassa koulutuksen laadun vertailtavuutta koti- ja ulkomaan toteutusten välillä, sidosryhmien osallistamista laadunvarmistukseen ja aktiivista otetta hyvien käytänteiden vaihtamiseen. (UNESCO & OECD 2005.). Toisaalta British Councilin ja DAADin toimesta toteutettu koulutusviennin systemaattista tiedonkeruuta käsittelevä raportti sisältää käytännönläheisen näkökulman koulutusvientitoiminnan kategorisoimiseen. Kategorian keskeisenä lähtökohtana on määritellä seuraavat kolme asiaa: 1) mikä taho myöntää pätevyyden (qualification), 2) millä taholla on ensisijainen vastuu opintosuunnitelmasta ja 3) millä taholla on ensisijainen vastuu laadunvarmistuksesta (Knight & McNamara 2017, 17).

Koulutusviennin laadunvarmistusta käsittelevässä tutkimuskirjallisuudessa on nostettu esille muun muassa riskienhallintaan, opiskelijoiden aikaisempaan koulutustaustaan ja kontekstisensitiivisyyteen liittyviä näkökulmia. Esimerkiksi Healey (2015) esittää, että koulutusvientitoiminnan suunnittelussa olisi hyödyllistä huomioida koulutuksen tarjoajan ja kansainvälisen partnerin odotukset koulutusvientihanketta kohtaan, sopimukseen kirjatut roolit sekä koulutusvientitoiminnan luonne (esim. yhteisohjelmat, franschising-sopimukset jne.) (Healey 2015). Vastaavia huomioita on esittänyt myös Shams (2017), jonka mukaan koulutusvientitoiminta voi sekä vahvistaa että vahingoittaa korkeakoulujen kansainvälistä mainetta (Shams 2017). Toisaalta taas, Pyvis (2011) peräänkuuluttaa kontekstisensitiivistä lähestymistapaa ja muistuttaa, että opiskelijoiden opiskelutottumukset voivat perustua toisenlaiseen akateemiseen perinteeseen ja tällä taas voi olla merkitystä esimeriksi pedagogisiin valintoihin ja opiskelijoiden ja opetushenkilökunnan väliseen kommunikaatioon (Pyvis 2011).

Lopuksi

Globaalissa mittakaavassa tarkasteltuna Suomi on pieni toimija. Tämän vuoksi kansallinen, korkeakoulusektorin ylittävä yhteistyö on ensiarvoisen tärkeää. Korkeakoulujen näkökulmasta on pystyttävä tunnistamaan koulutusvientiin liittyviä kriittisiä riskitekijöitä ja samaan aikaan näkemään ne moninaiset oppimismahdollisuudet, jotka auttavat kehittämään koulutusvientitoimintaa eettisesti ja taloudellisesti kestävällä tavalla.

Systemaattisen ja järjestelmällisen laadunvarmistusjärjestelmän rakentaminen, jossa kuitenkin on riittävästi joustoa kontekstisensitiiviselle otteelle, vaatii uudenlaista näkökulmaa laadunvarmistuksen järjestämiseen. Työ on haastavaa, mutta ei mahdotonta. Haaga-Heliassa koulutusvientitoimintaa koskevan laadunvarmistuksen kehittämistyön lähtökohdaksi on nähty systemaattinen tiedon kartoitus ja eettisesti kestävä toiminta, jossa opiskelijoiden oppiminen ja osaava henkilökunta ovat keskiössä. Kansainvälisten tutkimusten hyödyntäminen, koulutusvientiin osallistuvien opiskelijoiden ja henkilökunnan kokemusten kartoittaminen sekä muilta oppiminen tukevat tätä työtä. Jälkimmäisen osalta erään vaihtoehdon voi tarjota esimerkiksi benchmarkkaus kansainvälisten partnereidemme kanssa, joilla on Suomea pitemmät perinteet koulutusviennin toteuttamisessa. Koulutusvientitoiminta voi tarjota mahdollisuuden paitsi taloudelliseen kasvuun myös oman toimintamme kriittiseen reflektointiin, joka tukee koulutustoiminnan jatkuvaa kehittämistyötä. Tässä suhteessa laadunvarmistus ei liene koskaan valmis.

Kirjoittaja

Henna Juusola, FM, projektikoordinaattori, Haaga-Helia ammattikorkeakoulu, henna.juusola(at)haaga-helia.fi

ENQA. (2015). Standards and guidelines for quality assurance in the european higher education area (ESG) ENQA. Haettu 16.10.2017. http://www.enqa.eu/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/ESG_2015.pdf.

Healey, N. (2015). Towards a risk-based typology for transnational education. Higher Education, 69(1), 1–18. doi:10.1007/s10734-014-9757-6.

Knight, J., & McNamara, J. (2017). Transnational education: A classification framework and data collection guidelines for international programme and provider mobility (IPPM). Britisch Council and AAD. Haettu 16.10.2017.
https://www.britishcouncil.org/sites/default/files/tne_classification_framework-final.pdf.

OKM. (2017). Suomalaisen korkeakoulutuksen ja tutkimuksen kansainvälisyyden edistämisen linjaukset 2017–2025. Haettu 16.10.2017.
http://julkaisut.valtioneuvosto.fi/bitstream/handle/10024/79438/okm11.pdf.

Pyvis, D. (2011). The need for context-sensitive measures of educational quality in transnational higher education. Teaching in Higher Education, 16(6), 733-744. doi:10.1080/13562517.2011.570436.

Shams, S. M. R. (2017). Transnational education and total quality management: A stakeholder-centred model. Journal of Management Development, 36(3), 376-389.

UNESCO, & OECD. (2005). Guidelines for quality provision in cross-border higher education. Haettu 16.10.2017.
http://www.unesco.org.helios.uta.fi/education/guidelines_E.indd.pdf.

Valtioneuvoston periaatepäätös. (2010). Kiinnostuksesta kysynnäksi ja tuotteiksi. suomen koulutusvientistrategia. Haettu 16.10.2017.
https://julkaisut.valtioneuvosto.fi/bitstream/handle/10024/75525/okm11.pdf?sequence=1. 

Chat – the Future Platform of Finnish Education Exports?

Authors: Kaius Karlsson, Jonas Tana, Outi Ahonen.

Image: A screenshot of a DeDiWe Slackinar in October 2017 delivered in Slack by lecturer Marge Mahla from Tartu Health Care College. The left-hand sidebar displays channels and workspace members. A Slackinar group chat channel is active in the center. The right-hand sidebar exhibits one of the channel’s several threaded discussions. Screenshot image by Kaius Karlsson.

Starting next year, the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture (2017) will channel 75 million euros into the development of university and UAS level education. Specifically, one target for funding is the enhancement of digital learning environments. Finland already holds a reputation as an education powerhouse (Arene 2016) and a digital pathfinder, so leadership in higher education online learning solutions should be a natural way forward.

In our current delivery of the Developer of Digital Health and Welfare Services study module, or DeDiWe in short, we are experimenting with what we consider an example of a forward-thinking online learning solution. The DeDiWe study module brings together a diverse virtual learning community whose lecturers and students come from various professional orientations in several institutions, universities, and UASs in different countries. (Arcada 2017).

DeDiWe’s pedagogic framework is based on the Learning by Developing Action Model, or LbD in short, which in itself is a Finnish education innovation dating back to 2002 when it was first used in Laurea (Pirnes 2008, 102). In LbD, lecturers, students, and professionals from working life partnerships collaborate in a shared learning environment. (Raij 2014, 14).

The DeDiWe study module was piloted in 2016-2017. Feedback from students stirred an urge to modernize the study module’s delivery. In order to co-learn, co-design, and co-create eHealth service development in the DeDiWe study module, experts of nursing and welfare must join in collaboration with experts of software engineering and service design. For this, we looked for a platform that is accessible, communication-focused, and intuitive to use — a platform that could provide an equal playing field for our diverse community of students, lecturers, and participants from professional partnerships.

Everything Is Based on Chat

From currently available online collaboration solutions, we picked Slack as the platform for the 2017-2018 curriculum. Slack is a professional virtual workspace service used by productive communities such as NASA, Harvard, and Oracle (Slack 2017). Originally, DeDiWe’s modernizer Kaius Karlsson utilized Slack throughout his studies in Laurea UAS. Typically, Karlsson set up a Slack workspace for his fellow students and himself when a new Learning by Developing group project started. Later, as a student in DeDiWe, Karlsson set up a Slack workspace for fellow DeDiWe students when the communication features of a traditional virtual learning environment were deemed insufficient.

In traditional learning management systems, assignments, source materials, and interaction are usually arranged behind folders and tabs. Interestingly folders, tabs, and even email can be seen as virtualized relics from the age of paper and pen. Their efficiency and productivity in online learning delivery can be questioned.

Interestingly folders, tabs, and even email can be seen as virtualized relics from the age of paper and pen.

Slack’s growing popularity (Forbes 2017) in itself can be regarded as part of a movement where users are looking for alternatives to traditional online collaboration and communication methods. On a platform like Slack, everything is based on chat. Instead of folders and tabs, files and documents shared in Slack are organized and rediscovered by taking advantage of features like pinning and favoriting.

For example, an interesting comment or a shared PDF document can be pinned to a Slack channel for quick rediscovery for all the channel’s members. One can think of pinning in Slack as in pinning to a virtual bulletin board. Likewise, an individual member may favorite comments and contents and thus accumulate a personal list of bookmarks within the workspace.

As part of the modernization, the study module’s content delivery and learning processes were rethought, simplified, and repackaged around what we call Slackinars — a term first coined by DeDiWe’s modernizer Kaius Karlsson in his 2017 blog post (Karlsson 2017). A Slackinar is perhaps best described as a chat-based seminar delivered in Slack.

During a Slackinar, the transnational DeDiWe learning community lights up into a fervent two-hour group chat session where virtual contents are fluidly shared and commented on. Between Slackinars, students work in small groups on LbD assignments. The small groups have their own chat channels where their learning activity is focused on different development themes. The development themes are based on professional interests expressed by students in an entry questionnaire.

Figure 1. A visualization of the cyclical interplay of Slackinars, small group collaboration, summaries, and Learning by Developing of the DeDiWe study module in Slack. Each cycle is designed to propel the small groups’ creative development processes.

It could be said that we are future-proofing our students by introducing them to a true working-life professional collaboration environment. We are building a virtual chat-based pedagogic foundation with an emphasis on dialogue, openness, and transparency — factors we consider imperative to innovation and collaboration.

During recent Slackinars, we have enjoyed discussion threads populated with comments by dozens of students, some of them engaging in heated topic-related debates. According to a short survey conducted in October 2017, the DeDiWe students strongly agreed that Slack works well as a learning platform for the study module.

Simplicity, Openness, and Spontaneity

Since all the interaction in our chat-based workspace is in text form, each piece of commentary and shared content is logged chronologically and is thus accessible for swift retrospection. The entire workspace can be searched by keywords, user names, time frames, and other search criteria. Ideally, the chat channels can be regarded as live communal learning journals that are accumulated and indexed for rediscovery throughout the curriculum.

Ideally, the chat channels can be regarded as live communal learning journals that are accumulated and indexed for rediscovery throughout the curriculum.

Specified searches in Slack are also a great way for lecturers to monitor student activity. Tutoring dialogues between a student and a lecturer can be conducted discreetly through direct messages. Voice or video calls can be initiated on impulse by clicking on a user’s name.

The lecturers can maintain a private teachers’ room channel for planning and administration purposes. For example, the lecturers can have their own private group chats on things like evaluation and student attendance in a Slack channel that is completely inaccessible and invisible to students. Also, lecturers can collaborate for example on a study unit manual in private before sharing it to public channels where students can access it.

The simplicity and openness of professional chat-based platforms means we can spontaneously invite new participants into our learning workspaces — guest lecturers, consultants, student interns, and professional partners that are essential to collaborative learning. A chat-based online communication culture may reduce the need for time sensitive telephone conversations and video conferences — not to mention actual traveling. By taking advantage of chat-based professional collaboration platforms, we can promote cost-effective, low-emission know-how mobility on a global scale while spending less time managing our email inboxes.

Changing the Conditions

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (1996, 1) has written that ”it is easier to enhance creativity by changing conditions in the environment than by trying to make people think more creatively”. Indeed, we believe the condition change of online education towards chat-based platforms can be a step towards enhanced creativity.

We believe that the solutions we have now created for study module delivery through Slack are broadly applicable in the field of online education. These solutions are mostly compatible with other chat-based platforms like Microsoft Teams which has recently become available for use in the majority of Finnish universities of applied sciences. Microsoft Teams (Microsoft 2017), like Slack, is based on chat groups and can hence be used in similar fashion as Slack — students and chat-based group sessions can be assigned their own respective channels while the workspace as a whole can remain highly navigable and searchable.

According to the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture (2016), fresh approaches to education such as digital platforms require swiftness and agility from proponents of Finnish education exports. The motivation for fresh approaches is further emphasized when we consider the multi-disciplinary requirements of today’s rapidly evolving fields such as eHealth service development. With sufficient ambition and bravery we can conceptualize chat-based online learning solutions and export them internationally as pioneering Finnish education innovations.

Authors

Kaius Karlsson, Bachelor of Social Services, Bachelor of Journalism, DeDiWe Modernizer, Laurea University of Applied Sciences, kaius.karlsson(a)gmail.com
Jonas Tana, R.N, M.A., Researcher, DeDiWe Communications Manager, Arcada University of Applied Sciences, jonas.tana(at)arcada.fi
Outi Ahonen, MNSc, Senior Lecturer, DeDiWe Project Manager, Laurea University of Applied Sciences, outi.ahonen(at)laurea.fi

Arcada. (2017). The Developer of Digital Health and Welfare Services. Accessed 15 November 2017. http://rdi.arcada.fi/dediwe/en/

Arene. (2016). Finnish Excellence in Education. Accessed 26 October 2017. http://www.arene.fi/sites/default/files/PDF/2016/FinPro-Ministry-screen-version_090216-v4-HQ.pdf

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1996). Creativity – Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention. HarperPerennial. HarperCollinsPublishers.

Forbes. (2017). Slack Passes 6 Million Daily Users And Opens Up Channels To Multi-Company Use. Accessed 26 October 2017. https://www.forbes.com/sites/alexkonrad/2017/09/12/slack-passes-6-million-daily-users-and-opens-up-channels-to-multi-company-use/#43646a597fdb

Karlsson, K. (2017). DeDiWe Is Going Slack. The Developer of Digital Health and Welfare Services. Accessed 26 October 2017. http://rdi.arcada.fi/dediwe/en/dediwe-is-going-slack/

Microsoft. (2017). Microsoft Teams – Group Chat Software. Accessed 15 November 2017. https://products.office.com/en-us/microsoft-teams/group-chat-software

Ministry of Education and Culture. (2016). Koulutusviennin tiekartta 2016–2019. Accessed 26 October 2017. http://julkaisut.valtioneuvosto.fi/bitstream/handle/10024/74852/okm9.pdf

Ministry of Education and Culture. (2017). Erityisavustus korkeakouluille korkeakoulutuksen kehittämiseen 2018-2020. Accessed 26 October 2017. http://minedu.fi/avustukset/avustus/-/asset_publisher/korkeakoulutuksen-kehittamishankkeet

Pirnes, H. (2008). LbD:n haasteet monikulttuurisessa oppimisympäristössä. Case: suomalais-japanilaisen vanhuspalvelumallin kehittäminen. In a Laurea Publication: Oppiminen Learning by Developing -toimintamallissa edited by Kallioinen, O. Laurea Publications A61. Vantaa.

Raij, K. (2014). Learning by Developing in Higher Education. In a Laurea Publication: Learning by Developing Action Model edited by Raij. K. Laurea Publications 36. Accessed 26 October 2017. https://www.laurea.fi/dokumentit/Documents/36%20%20Raij%20LbD%20Action%20Model.pdf

Opportunities in Cleantech Education Export to Kazakhstan

Authors: Katerina Medkova, Kati Manskinen, Harri Mattila.

Figure: Cleantech Education VIP Day organised by KFEIG, Finnish Pavilion, EXPO 2017 Astana, Kazakhstan, photo taken by Timur Mukanov.

Green Economy Concept – Environmental Challenges Identified

According to the Central Asia Research Forum series (2017), Kazakhstan as the ninth largest country in the world is a large emitter of the greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, Kazakhstan is regarded as one of the five carbon-intensive countries with 70 to 75% of the electric power generated by using coal. The world’s average carbon intensity is about 0.58 kg of CO2 emitted per USD 1000 of economic activity, in comparison with 2.59 kg in Kazakhstan. Table 1 shows some interesting facts about Kazakhstan.

Table 1. Facts about geography and economy of Kazakhstan.

In 2013, President N. Nazarbayev approved a National Concept for Transition to a Green Economy, an ambitious sustainable development paradigm. The Concept aims at an economy of increased wellbeing of the Kazakhstani people while it alleviates the impact on the environment and degradation of scarce resources. By adopting the principles and goals of the green economy concept, Kazakhstan may become one of the 30 developed countries in the world. At the same time, it is expected to increase the GDP of the country by 3% and create over 500 000 new jobs by 2050. The reasons behind the need of “greening” the economy is the overall deterioration of natural resources noticed in every sector in Kazakhstan, leading into potential yearly economic losses of USD 7 billion by 2030. (CONCEPT 2013)

The transition toward a green economy is implemented through several strategic program documents, such as the Strategy Kazakhstan 2050 with bold targets:

  • Power sector – to reach 50% share of alternative and renewable energy in electricity generation by 2050
  • Energy efficiency – to reduce energy intensity of GDP by 10% by 2015 and by 25% by 2020 compared to 2008 baseline
  • Water sector – drinking water supply to be determined by 2020 and agricultural water supply by 2040
  • Agriculture sector – to enhance the productivity of the agricultural land by factor of 1.5 by 2020
    (CONCEPT 2013, 6)

The Concept also identifies six main principles in the transition to a green economy:

  1. Resource productivity improvements as a central economic indicator to indicate the value creation ability along with the environmental footprint minimization
  2. Resource use responsibility including increased monitoring and controlling of the resource use and the state of the environment
  3. Use of the most efficient technologies to modernize the economy
  4. Attractive investment measures for efficient use of resources – tariff and price setting
  5. Prioritization of profitable measures to improve the environmental situation and economic benefits
  6. Education and culture to support environmental awareness among the population of Kazakhstan
    (CONCEPT 2013, 8-9)

In the Concept (2013), Kazakhstan acknowledged education as a powerful driver of the transition and environmental culture development of its nation. It promotes education reforms and development of a new modern education system and vocational training (CONCEPT 2013, 9). Due to Kazakhstan’s resource-intensiveness, it is essential to educate a substantial number of professionals with expertise in environmental protection and resource productivity. Therefore, these lacking areas of expertise should be included in the curriculum of all engineering education. For thousands of existing engineers, and other involved parties, such as authorities and farmers, on-the-job training and further education could develop their skills. Furthermore, the environmental awareness and education of the general public is fundamental for creating a new eco-culture concerning the consumption of energy, water and other resources, as well as waste separation. Here, it is vital to spread information on resource usage and environmental problems. Finally, “greening” the curricula of the primary and pre-school education will contribute to increased environmental awareness. (CONCEPT 2013, 48)

Finland’s Opportunities

Finnish education is regarded to be one of the best in the world and a pioneer in the Cleantech and environmental sectors, both in know-how and education, as well as technologies. These facts, well recognized in Kazakhstan, give Finnish education institutions and companies, immense business opportunities in developing curricula at all levels, pedagogical education, and learning environments (Finpro 2017).

The uniqueness of the Finnish education was also presented at the international exposition EXPO 2017 in Astana, Kazakhstan from June 10 to September 10. Finland was the only Nordic country exhibited in Astana. Altogether, there were 3.8 million visitors at the world exhibition, and 300 000 of them explored the Finnish pavilion. The Finnish pavilion, Sharing Pure Energy, was designed by Ateljé Sotamaa and was awarded with a gold medal for theme development in the category of pavilion with less than 400 m2 (Finpro 2017; Garton 2017). At EXPO 2017, the Kazakstani-Finnish Education and Innovation Group, shortly KFEIG, represented Finnish higher and vocational education.

Who Is KFEIG?

KFEIG is a consortium of four Finnish educational institutions: Häme University of Applied Sciences (HAMK), Lahti University of Applied Sciences (LAMK), Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences (JAMK) and Tampere Adult Education Centre (TAKK).

The KFEIG Consortium offers a wide range of education related services, from Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programmes, open studies, continuing education, competence-based vocational secondary education to teacher training and consultation. KFEIG also cooperates with one of the largest global education financiers, the World Bank, in international education projects in developing countries. JAMK and LAMK have been cooperating with the Ministry of Healthcare and Social Development of Kazakhstan and providing its expertise and development in the healthcare education already since 2012. (LAMK 2016; Malinen et al. 2017)

KFEIG aims to strengthen its position in Kazakhstan and extend the cooperation to other areas of education, such as environmental education and teacher training (Malinen et al. 2017). During EXPO 2017, KFEIG organised a series of three VIP Days in the Finnish Pavilion. The themes of these VIP Days were healthcare (21.8.2017), teacher education (25.8.2017) and Cleantech education (29.8.2017).
Figure 1 is a photo taken during the Cleantech Education VIP Day in Astana on 29 August 2017.

Discussion

During the EXPO 2017, the VIP events enabled meaningful discussions with local education authorities and decision-makers. Positive visibility to Finnish education know-how was reinforced. Furthermore, the advanced results in environmental protection received a lot of interest from the Kazakhstani media and press. An example of this is the fact that in the region of Lahti in Finland, 97% of the waste is utilized and only 3% of the waste is landfilled. In comparison, in Kazakhstan, 97% of the waste is landfilled.

Finland as a pioneer in Cleantech expertise has an enormous opportunity to share knowledge with Kazakhstan and other developing countries. In Finland, the progress in environmental issues has taken over 20 years. Due to education export in these fields, developing countries may reach a high environmental performance level quickly. However, it requires a tailor-made cooperation to fulfill the specific goals.

Currently, Finland is paying attention to resource preservation and circular economy. It is important to acknowledge that these terms might not yet be recognized in other countries. Therefore, it is worthwhile to point out challenges related to national and cultural differences. For instance, when exporting Cleantech education to Kazakhstan, it is better to talk about green economy rather than circular economy. After all, we would like to point out, that due to a success in healthcare education in Kazakhstan, as well as good reputation of Finnish education and environmental performance, Finland has a huge opportunity to begin education export in the Cleantech sector.

Authors

Katerina Medkova, MSc., Environmental Project Coordinator, Lahti University of Applied Sciences, katerina.medkova(at)lamk.fi
Kati Manskinen, DSc., RDI Director in Cleantech, Lahti University of Applied Sciences, kati.manskinen(at)lamk.fi
Harri Mattila, Adjunct Professor, DSc. (tech.), Principal Lecturer (Research), Häme University of Applied Sciences (HAMK), harri.mattila(at)hamk.fi

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