Dharmendra Pradhan meets Finnish counterpart to bolster ties

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New Delhi :

Union Education and Skill Development Minister Dharmendra Pradhan held a meeting with Finland’s Education and Culture Minister Petri Honkonen in New Delhi on Tuesday, the Education Ministry said in a statement.

Ministers discussed issues relevant to education in the challenging post-Covid era. They both point out that bridging the learning gap for the most vulnerable children requires a proactive approach.

The ministers also discussed the path breaking educational reforms currently underway in India. They also fruitfully discussed making knowledge a priority pillar of bilateral cooperation and deepening engagement in all areas of education, skill development and frontier research.

Speaking on the occasion, Pradhan expressed his happiness that Finland has shown interest in collaborating with India on the knowledge front, especially as a result of the potential arising from the NEP. Both India and Finland can benefit from each other’s best practices in ECCE, teacher training, digital education, he added.

Pradhan also said that Finnish universities are welcome to collaborate with Indian higher education institutions through joint/dual degrees and twinning programmes. He also informed that the government is soon coming up with a policy to allow foreign universities to set up campuses in India.

During the meeting, Minister Honkonen noted that NEP 2020 contains many elements, which are similar to Finnish educational thinking, noting that the student-centered approach and activity-based pedagogy are also key elements of the Finnish education system. This makes it easier than ever for our countries to cooperate in education, added Minister Honkonen.

To encourage this approach, Finland’s Ministry of Education and Culture has allocated specific funds of up to one million euros per year to a cluster of Finnish universities as core funding to enable their cooperation with India in the field of education. The Global Innovation Network of Teaching and Learning, GINTL, began its work in the spring of 2021 amid the Covid-19 pandemic to address the learning crisis and create joint activities between Finnish and Indian educational institutions.

The Finnish National Agency of Education (EDUFI) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with NCERT for educational cooperation through exchange of information and content in various areas of school education.

“These include early childhood care and education, vocational education, teacher education and training, school leadership and management, application of ICT in education, curriculum research design and development, etc. This MoU plans to leverage the experience of EDUFI and GINTL in these areas,” Ministry of Education said.

Finland’s Ambassador to India Ritta Koukku-Ronde said that we aim for lasting cooperation in the field of education, education is not a sprint but a long distance race, where teacher professionalism, school culture and deep learning develop gradually, drawing on previous frameworks of understanding”.

Another university network, the Finnish Indian Consortia for Research and Education, FICORE, puts another million euros a year into Indo-Finnish cooperation focusing on higher education and research. FICORE includes all academic universities in Finland and all IITs in India The project is coordinated by Aalto University and IITB.

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