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Serious snow.

March 14, 2010

Serious snow is the first thing that strikes you at Helsinki Airport – in fact before you land you can see, just as you approach, the piles of the stuff that have been pushed back from the runways and the aprons.   Driving into the city it is thick – and I mean thick – on the verges and the central reservations of the urban motorways.

Helsinki is also two hours ahead of Edinburgh so it is now almost midnight but I have read my briefings and am keen to meet the whole range of people we are visiting tomorrow.  One of them – Pasi Sahlberg – is no stranger to Scotland and indeed I only just missed  hearing him at the Holyrood Education Conference a couple of weeks ago.  He spoke later on in the event but I heard great things of his description regarding the “Finish paradox” which essentially contends that Finland’s educational experience is hard to account for and probably can’t be replicated.   I hope its not entirely true, given that I want to learn what we can from success, and success always needs to be replicated if possible.

On the other hand Helja Misukka, the Finnish State Secretary for Education has charge of a new project to commercialise the Finnish educational experience and export it – a little like some of the success our universities and colleges (and the SQA) has had in a variety of places where we have exported our learning models and which I saw at close quarters during my visit to India last year.

Helsinki in the snow

Time for bed as tomorrow is a long day, with no less than six meetings or visits (including to a Vocational School and to Helsinki University) and then a meeting with the UK Ambassador to Finland in the evening.

I shall endeavour to report back when I get a minute with impressions , thoughts and perhaps some images of the snow that I have taken.   The one here is from the web, but looks much like the view from my hotel room window, down into the garden of an apartment block.

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