The quality management of Finnish education as an activity extends from early childhood education and care to higher education. Quality management and quality management evaluation are at different stages in different education sectors, even though the legislation on education providers’ and higher education institutions’ self-evaluations is mainly based on the same principles. For the first time, the National Education Evaluation Center (FINEEC) has brought together quality management and its evaluation in the Finnish education system in one publication.
Quality management is at different stages between education sectors – the need for support also varies
The publication Quality Management in the Finnish Education System contains FINEEC’s tasks related to its evaluations of quality management systems and provision of support for quality management in different fields of education and training. The need for this publication stems from the fact that, despite the special features of different levels of education, the legislation on education providers’ and higher education institutions’ self-evaluations is mainly based on the same principles. However, evaluation and quality management are guided by the specific starting points of each level of education.
Under legislation applicable to them, education providers and higher education institutions have an obligation to publish the key results related to quality management and evaluations. Yet, the legislation does not provide detailed instructions on how, where and in what scope the results should be published. Quality management and its development are at different stages at different levels of education. In early childhood education and care, for example, development has just begun, while in vocational education and training and in higher education, quality management has been developed on a long-term basis since the 1990s.
– The key starting point for FINEEC’s operations is to link support and evaluation to the development priorities of each education sector. For the first time, this publication provides an overview of these priorities and the state of quality management in the Finnish education system. The quality of Finnish education is of interest abroad, and therefore the publication is also interesting from an international perspective, says counsellor of evaluation Janniina Vlasov, Chairman of FINEEC’s Quality Management Team.
FINEEC plays a significant role in the development of the education system and its quality management
In addition to information related to the content of education and early childhood education and care, FINEEC produces a national overview of quality management at the education system level. FINEEC’s task “to support providers of early childhood education and care, education and training as well as higher education institutions in matters related to evaluation and quality management” is stipulated in the Act on the Finnish Education Evaluation Centre (1295/2013). The objective of supporting education providers’ quality management and conducting external evaluations of quality systems is to enhance the functioning of the Finnish education system, support the development of education, and promote equality for learners.
FINEEC’S support for quality management is based on enhancement-led evaluation. Enhancement-led evaluation stresses participation, trust between the evaluator and participants in the evaluation, and the education and training providers’ and higher education institutions’ responsibility for maintaining and improving the quality of their activities.
– Involving local actors and key stakeholders in quality management and in the design and implementation of quality management evaluation is important. The goal is that quality management and evaluation will be appropriately linked to the activities of education providers, and to support the development of education and to enhance continuous improvement of quality in the best possible way. A quality culture in ECEC centres, schools, and universities is the result of joint efforts and participatory work, Vlasov recalls.
Quality management in the Finnish education system. Finnish Education Evaluation Centre. Summaries 10:2021.
- chairman of FINEEC’s Quality Management Team, counsellor of evaluation Janniina Vlasov, janniina.vlasov(a)karvi.fi, tel. 029 533 5543 (early childhood education and care)
- senior advisor Mira Huusko, mira.huusko(a)karvi.fi, tel. 029 533 5565 (higher education)
- senior advisor Laura Lepola, laura.lepola(a)karvi.fi, tel. 029 533 5546 (basic education)
- senior advisor Tuomas Sarkkinen, tuomas.sarkkinen(a)karvi.fi, tel. 029 533 5582 (early childhood education and care)
- senior advisor Anni Tuurnas, anni.tuurnas(a)karvi.fi, tel. 029 533 5593 (vocational education)
- FINEEC’s “Support for quality management” webpage