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Beyond Borders: Finland’s ethical stance in global education

In Finland's educational landscape, there is a growing effort to improve and evolve the approach to global partnerships, focusing on ethical engagement. This article explores recent initiatives and events that reflect a commitment not only to the quality and development of education but also to broader social and ethical responsibilities that come with global engagement.

A significant milestone in these efforts is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland's evaluation report on the country’s development cooperation in the education sector. This evaluation follows the 2018 ‘’Stepping Up Finland’s Global Role in Education’’ review and serves as a key reference for future educational development cooperation, including in higher education. The report assesses the relevance, coherence, and efficiency of Finland’s response to the global learning crisis and the quality of education. It also evaluates the effectiveness of the multi-actor approach in education development cooperation, exploring alternative strategies for the period 2023-2030 to effectively address the learning crisis and enhance education quality globally.

ACA member, the Finnish National Agency for Education (EDUFI), is actively forging connections through various platforms and meetings. One such initiative is the launch of a website that consolidates EDUFI’s programmes across different sectors, aimed at facilitating collaboration with Global South partners, particularly in Africa. This website features an interactive map that showcases ongoing projects in each country. Additionally, EDUFI organises coordinators’ meetings for projects funded by various mechanisms, including national and EU funding. The recent ‘’Focus on the Global South' coordinators’’ meeting in Helsinki brought together over 80 professionals from higher education and vocational education and training (VET) sectors, discussing project developments, best practices, and principles of ethical collaboration.

Another significant contribution is the ‘’Ethical Guidelines for Academic Partnerships with the Global South’’ published by UniPID, the Finnish University Partnership for International Development, in collaboration with TENK, the Finnish National Board on Research Integrity. These guidelines act as a self-reflective tool for both institutions and individuals, offering recommendations for Finnish higher education institutions in their engagements with the Global South.

Together, these initiatives and resources underscore Finland's proactive role in shaping a more ethical and effective global educational landscape, with a particular focus on fostering equitable partnerships and improving educational outcomes worldwide.