Education sector representatives from the Asian Development Bank and from Bangladesh, Nepal, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Uzbekistan expressed their interest to deepen cooperation with Finland in matters related to teacher education, school meals and digital learning.
The representatives are visiting Finland from March 22 to March 24, said the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in a press release on Thursday.
The visit was initiated by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). While in Finland, the representatives of the ADB and five Asian countries learn about the Finnish education system and Finnish expertise in the field of education.
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education and Culture Anita Lehikoinen and Under-Secretary of State of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs Pasi Hellman take part in the visit programme.
A common objective of Finland and of the Asian Development Bank is to respond to the global learning crisis and to the needs to reform education systems. In South Asia, for example, 78 per cent of children do not achieve minimum reading proficiency.
The ADB has already set a target of doubling the percentage of its support to education to up to 10 per cent of its total annual commitments. This would enable the ADB to better respond to the need to develop education and learning that was aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Finland and ADB have been cooperating in the education sector for a long time. Thanks to the cooperation, ADB has been able to use Finnish expertise in the education sector in its projects in many Asian countries”, said Under-Secretary of State Pasi Hellman.
Finland has emphasised the importance of the quality of teaching, inclusive education and teacher training at all levels of education. Another aim is to develop cooperation in matters concerning school feeding programmes and digital learning, among other areas.
Since 2020, Finland’s education export programme Education Finland and the ADB have increased their cooperation in terms of Finnish expertise and educational innovations.
Finnish higher education institutions and companies in the field of education can participate in the implementation of ADB-funded education projects through the ADB’s open competitive bidding.
“ADB-funded education projects enable companies to participate hands-on in country-level cooperation. This, in turn, may create additional demand for Finnish solutions,” said Permanent Secretary Anita Lehikoinen.
Finland has been a member of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) since it was established in 1966. The ADB aims to eradicate poverty in the Asian and Pacific region and support its member states in making social and economic reforms. The ADB has 68 member states, 19 of them outside the Asian and Pacific region.