School education with Erasmus+ in Helsinki and/or Tallinn – sorry no beaches :-(

There are really nice beaches in Helsinki and Tallinn. Unfortunately, they are hot enough only in summer. So, Euneos FI can’t offer sun bathing experiences as part of our Erasmus+ courses in Finland or Estonia. Schools are closed in both countries from June to mid-August. Instead, we provide benchmarking courses in spring and autumn. And they belong to the category of education and not life style.

Seriously, Euneos wants to contribute to European development in school education. It’s what we have been doing since 2006 when our EU courses, Comenius at that time, were launched. Benchmarking courses were started with Erasmus+ in 2014. Since then 600+ teachers and principals from around Europe have visited Helsinki, and most of them also Tallinn, to observe teaching, studying and learning in Finnish and Estonian schools.

Benchmarking may still be an unknown word for most people. Putting it jokefully, benchmarking is a kind of ”spionage”. You go to a foreign school to find out if there is anything you could ”steal” and bring home as a souvenir, an innovation.

Thanks to Erasmus+ all schools of member countries are not only invited to participate but also the costs of the visits can be paid by EU grants. Is there a more concrete way to promote European development in schools than benchmarking? There is nothing as convincing as the witness of your own senses.

Why is Helsinki so interesting as a target? Or Tallinn? According to compatible international research, Finland and Estonia are the top performers of school education in Europe currently. You can check this in Education GPS of OECD where e.g. all results of PISA studies are published. There are some strong Asian competitors, such as Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Hongkong. However, their school culture differs decisively from Europe.

During less than 30 years of its independence, achieved again in 1991 after 70 years, Estonia has adopted many things from Finland, a country with 100 years’ unbroken independence. On the other hand, they have a distinctly domestic school culture, much different from Finland.

It’s remarkable from the perspective of Erasmus+ schools that school education both in Finland and Estonia follows European traditions. Therefore, everyone can easily cope with the situation in the foreign country. During the benchmarking courses the participants share and discuss ’success stories’ of their own schools contributing to the common cause of European school development.

Euneos FI, the initiator of Erasmus+ benchmarking courses in Helsinki and/or Tallinn, wants to give European colleagues the chance to visit both countries at the same time. It’s reasonable because Helsinki and Tallinn are twin cities whose distance from each other is only 80 km. There is a frequent ferry traffic in max 2 hours from one city to another.

It would not make sense to fly first to Helsinki, and the second time to Tallinn, would it? We also need to think about our ecological footprints.

So, it’s understandable that teachers and principals have mostly chosen the option of Tallinn course as an addition to their benchmarking course in Helsinki. The course in Helsinki is from Sunday to Wednesday afternoon (to Thursday still in April 2018). The Tallinn course is from Thursday morning to Saturday afternoon. Combined 7 days, full of well-proven and interesting program. If your NA wishes, Euneos can charge your fee with two bills for two separate courses: 4 days Helsinki, 3 days Tallinn, instead of one.

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manager of Euneos Corp., EU course provider since 2006, senior lecturer of high school (retired), language teacher, writer

Posted in Uncategorized

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