Aihearkisto: kotikansainvälisyys

We and I culture with Rijn Ijssel

The week before our mid-term break we had the pleasure of hosting ten visitors from the Netherlands. They came from one of our core partners, Rijn Ijssel VET College in Arnhem. The visit was a follow-up of several of our guidance and support staff having visited Arnhem in the recent years. The theme of this study visit was  to explore the various elements in student centered support systems in the Finnish VET. The programme included many visits and lots of discussion on themes such as avoiding drop-outs, individualisation of learning and transition from comprehensive education to upper secondary education.






On the final day of the visit, the visitors themselves were put in ’the driver’s seat’ and they arranged a workshop on cultural differences – on the topic of we and I cultures – for the staff of Jyväskylä College and the five German trainee teachers that had been doing their placement with us for three weeks by then.

At the end of the day we also arranged an extensive feedback session for the visitors and asked them to share their thoughts on the visit and what they had learned. Here are some of their answers:

What was new?

  • entrerpreneurship
  • flexible start of studies
  • own path/ individual learning/ focus more on individual than group
  • practical learning at school
  • the flexibility of the whole system
  • possibilities in education also for adults / lifelong learning easier
  • closer relationship between teacher and student
  • free breakfast and lunch
  • respect for teacher, each other, environment and buildings

What surprised you?

  • same problems with the students e.g. drop-outs, attendance
  • self-reflection at such an early age/ spending a lot of time on self-reflection
  • no national tests/exams
  • students are quiet
  • great equipment
  • education is free
  • validation of previously acquired competences ( holiday jobs, social activities)
  • no grade/ exam pressure
  • personal help and support of the teacher for their students
  • calling  the teacher by their first name

What will you do? What kind of an impact will your visit in Finland have on your thinking, actions, way of working and/ or your organisation?

  • changing school and lessons into a place the students like to go to
  • individualize teaching more
  • value traditions but also appreciate changes
  • self-reflection for teacher and students
  • focus on skills (still missing) and (not so much) on what students already can do
  • introduce team teaching to my school
  • introduce self-reflection
  • lower the distance between teacher + team + counselor
  • long term goal:  start a course on entrepreneurship in my school
  • make more use of what students do in their free-time and side jobs

I want more! What would you like to happen next?

  • learn more about the matter of self-reflection
  • continue exchange with the purpose of learning from each other
  • learn more about education systems in Europe
  • (have a system where students can) start education any time
  • start pre-vocational programmes (valma)
  • make a project on avoiding dropouts
  • create warm, open, flexible individual learning paths without using so many hours for the inspections
  • international exchanges

A lot of food for thought! The next step of this cooperation will take place in November when Principal Pirjo Kauhanen and Programme Manager Minna Ahokas will visit Rijn Ijssel. During this meeting the memorandum of understanding between the two colleges will be renewed, and who knows, perhaps some of the issues mentioned above will also be discussed?

More information

Minna Ahokas (at)

Rea Tuominen (at)

Five Trainee Teachers from Germany in Finland



We are five vocational trainee teachers from Hessen in Germany. We came to Jyväskylä in the end of September 2017 to get to know the Finnish vocational school system.

The School

From our point of view, JAO is a huge school with a lot of educational departments and opportunities. From the beginning onwards, we felt very welcomed and everyone was helpful.

As we all have different subjects, we were able to get an overview of the different locations. Milena,  who has nutrition and biology, was mostly at Primus working in the hotel, catering and service classes. For biology, she was able to go to the Schildt Upper Secondary School. Silke was mainly located at Viitaniemi in hairdressing and went to the Secondary School at Harju with Religion.  Nicole went to Kukkula working with the practical nurses in health care and English. Nadine mainly worked with bakers in Viitaniemi in nutrition and with chefs and high school students in English. Kristin was in the business department with her subjects business administration and English, and among others, got to know about visual merchandising and entrepreneurship at Viitaniemi.

For us, it was especially interesting how the system of individual learning is implemented into the Finnish vocational system and we are able to take lots of ideas home to our classes. Moreover, the programms VALMA and OKSA were very interesting for us.

In the beginning, the students were very shy, but they opened up a little after seeing us around more often. Especially in the practical lessons, it was easier to get into contact with the Finnish students.

The Finnish Language

For most of us, the Finnish language was something very new when we arrived and it still seems extremely difficult. But we were eager to learn some Finnish and therefore visited a foreign class that taught us some Finnish. In return, they wanted to learn some German and decided that Finnish is the easier language for them, which made the teacher very happy. It was a very funny lesson, as there were so many different languages and cultures in the classroom and we still managed to communicate with one another.






Impressions of Finland

During the three weeks, we used our weekends to travel to get to know different sides of Finland. Firstly, we arrived in Helsinki. Then we went to Rovaniemi to visit Santa Claus, the reindeers and the arctic circle. Our last weekend, we spent in Turku to see the archipelago and to have a traditional sauna with jumping into the Baltic Sea.

We are very grateful for being able to enjoy this great opportunity and learned so many new things. Thanks to everyone who helped to make our stay as special as it is.

Moi, Moi.

Milena, Silke, Nicole, Nadine and Kristin

More information

Rea Tuominen, Jyväskylä Educational Consortium

Ralf Hölzer-Germann, VET teacher training institute in Hessen



Network of Networks in Glasgow

35 members from 16 VET colleges and four other organisations came together on Monday 2 October in Glasgow for three consecutive days of discussions and sharing project ideas. The Finnish network was represented by staff from all four VET providers Tredu, Varia, Salpaus and Jyväskylä.Jyväskylä Educational Consortium was represented by Chief IT and Quality Officer, Hanna Rajala and International Coordinators Milka Niskanen and Rea Tuominen.

Network of Networks is a cooperation forum of five national networks; Finn Net from Finland, The Dutch Alliance from the Netherlands, Colleges Partnership from West Scotland, Colleges NI from Northern Ireland and HETEL from the Basque country in Spain.

Topics discussed during the first project workshops were among other things: skills mismatch, digitalisation, continous professional development of VET staff, preparing VET staff for a less classroom based future as well as collaboration for improving commercial income streams.

More information Rea Tuominen

Nature Tourism in Finland

Tourism Activities programme has hosted the first official international study module on nature sports tourism in Jyväskylä 14 August – 8 September 2017. 

Teachers Hanna Syvälahti and Timo Lehtonen, led by Programme Manager Eeva-Liisa Hjelt, have created a 3-4 week module that integrates the incoming students into a Finnish class and immerses all participants into the possibilities of Finnish nature tourism. The incoming participants were 9 learners from SŠGT Celje High school for tourism (Slovenia) and 5 learners from BBS Wittmund (Germany).  The concept has been tested and developed in previous years, with participants from Germany, Estonia and Italy.  The programme this time included e.g. kayaking, fat biking, nature trails, Finnish food and sauna culture, a variety of summer activities as well as great events.  For the Finnish students the module has also been an excellent opportunity for Internationalisation at Home (IaH).

The module is developed based on the current teaching programme at our college with the help of the ECVET recommendation to facilitate easier validation and recognition at the sending organisations. The module is described in terms of learning outcomes (knowledge, skills and competences) and the assessment is done in a valid, reliable and transparent manner.

The expected learning outcomes of the module were:

  • to use appropriate equipment in different situations (various outdoor activities)
  • to take care of equipment (maintenance)
  • to take care of different venues (preparatory tasks, service, cleaning, maintenance)
  • to utilize sector specific language in customer service situations and guiding (English)
  • to take responsibility for guidance
  • to take care of own safety and to take care of customer safety (theory of safety plans in practical assignments)
  • to co-operate in his/her working community, to work in a team
  • to assess his/her own work and actions

The  development of the module will continue in the Winter School which will take place in March 2018, when the Ma17b class  will study nature tourism activities in completely different conditions with another group of incoming Erasmus students.

Photos courtesy of SŠGT Celje

More information:

Teachers Hanna Syvälahti (at) and Timo Lehtonen

International Coordinator Rea Tuominen (at)

GBS St. Gallen in Jyväskylä

Board  members of GBS St. Gallen from Switzerland have visited Jyväskylä Educational Consortium for two very  intensive days 24-25 August 2017. 

The visitors were given an extensive overview of the organisation, education system and all the development going on at the moment. GBS St. Gallen is since several years a partner for the media  sector (printing, photography). They are also one of the external partners in the KA2 project Commercialpolis. One of the concrete aims of this visit was to expand this cooperation to other fields and to the strategic level as well.

Amongst many other things the principals and managers of GBS St Gallen (name list below) were introduced to Finnish vocational teacher training,  development regarding digitalisation of both processes and learning, quality assurance, language teaching and guidance processes. Teacher training was presented by Harri Keurulainen, Hannele Torvinen and Tuulia Kiilavuori from JAMK Teacher Education College.

Thursday afternoon the visitors met with Principal Pirjo Kauhanen to discuss the organisational changes and the VET reform.

Friday morning was devoted to regional development and global partnerships presented by Director of Development Anu Tokila and Programme Manager Marleena Tuuri.


During the visit both parties found out that, although there are significant systemic level differences, there are a lot of similiarities on strategic level that can be advanced through cooperation between the two VET providers. In the more immediate future there is hope to work on issues around digitalisation as well as staff and student mobilities. We are expecting the first mobilities to take place during this school year from electrical engineering and hairdressing programmes.

Participants from GBS St. Gallen

  • Lukas Reichle, director of GBS
  • Daniel Kehl,  deputy-director of GBS, head of vocational education and training at GBS
  • Thomas Klement, head of the technical departement of GBS
  • Patrik Forrer, head of the school of design of GBS
  • Nicole Bauer, head of KSD – social care team of GBS
  • Jürg Pfeiffer, head of paedagogical advice and support team of GBS
  • Michael Andrist, head of IT at GBS

More information on the Commercialpolis project: project

Picture credit: Daniel Kehl

More information: Rea Tuominen, international coordinator