Bridging education and trade opportunities from Finland

Bridging education and trade opportunities from Finland

One of the basic principles set in Finnish education is that all people must have equal access to high-quality education and training.

The key words in Finnish education policy are quality, efficiency, equity and internalisation.

To learn more about Finnish education, AsiaNewsToday (ANT) had the privilege to meet a dynamic and down to earth Finland ambassador to Malaysia and Brunei,  Petri Puhakka who shared his insights on Finnish education.

According to Petri, “In Finland everyone has the right to free basic education, including necessary equipment and textbooks, school transportation and meals.

“Post-compulsory education is also free; there are no tuition fees in general or vocational upper secondary education, in universities of applied sciences.”

He highlighted the Finland embassy in Malaysia together with local partners had arranged a seminar on November 2 where one of their foremost authorities on Finnish education, DG Olli-Pekka Heionen from National Agency for Education will give a key-note speech and share a case study on the Finnish approach to language learning in early childhood.

Educaster Finland organises a Finnish school day demonstration in a local Malaysian school as part of its ASEAN tour on November 7.

“We are seeing an increasing number of Finnish Edutech products in the Malaysian market. The Embassy staffs have delivered several lectures about the Finnish education system on various platforms.

Boosting trade opportunity

According to the ambassador, Finpro is an entity which helps Finnish SMEs go international, encourages foreign direct investment in Finland and promotes travel to Finland.

Finpro is a public organization consisting of Export Finland, Visit Finland and Invest in Finland.

Here in Malaysia, Finpro is represented by vice-president Juha Miikkulainen and his team which are tasked to identify market opportunities as well as inform the Malaysian market of the Finnish offering.

“We have had different types of trade delegations coming to Malaysia, the latest one on healthcare and education.

“We are working to get more high-level visits with business delegations.

“The government of Finland has recently decided to reorganise the trade promotion activities under the Business Finland framework.

“The aim is to double the Finnish companies’ export by the year 2020.” highlighted ambassador Pteri.

What can Malaysia gain from Finland?

Ambassador Petri shared that “Finland has developed world-class expertise in sectors like cleantech, forestry, metal and machinery manufacturing, ICT industry and services, as well as health.

“International investors and companies can benefit from the clusters and centre of expertise in this business sector that aim to maximise the benefits of research, networking and international cooperation.

“Finnish government is business friendly and the country has developed infrastructure, a skilled workforce and competitive operating costs.

“Red tape is minimal and Finland is one the least corrupt countries in the world according to Transparency International”

“Foreign-owned companies can benefit from government investment incentives and access to the latest research from the extensive cooperation between universities,” said Petri.

He added that Finland has a great deal to offer foreign investors as they have direct flights from Singapore to Helsinki via the national carrier Finnair.

Ambassaor Petri also hopes Finland can be seen as a hub to Scandinavian and to the EU market as Malaysia can be seen in the ASEAN market.