The development of education in Lahti got a boost with the Stakeholder Dialogue

The city of Lahti wanted to make students’, parents’, teachers’ and youth workers’ opinions visible when developing education. An invigorating observation was that the students and parents are already living in the world in which the new curriculum is heading towards. The crucial goals of the reform are to strengthen students’ activity, increase the import of studying and enable the experiences of success for every student. Teachers’ duty is to teach and guide students into becoming lifelong learners by considering the students’ individual ways of learning.

The basis of the curriculum gives a solid foundation for local curriculums and therefore strengthens the equality of education in Finland. The curriculums of schools and municipalities guide teaching and schoolwork more precisely and consider the local needs and standpoints. The standpoints of the most important stakeholder groups were considered in this process.

The starting point

Lahti’s goal was to collect students’, parents’, youth workers’ and teachers’ ideas for what makes learning good and exciting. Every stakeholder group was sent an invitation to an online dialogue in the spring of 2017. The aim was to motivate different stakeholders to innovate on the different aspects of learning and to collect the ideas in a new and inspiring way to support the development of education. Meanwhile it is important to realise the practices of inclusive education.

Developing education and making studying exciting

The development of education was an interesting and important topic among the participants. Over 1 700 participations provoked a versatile and rich deliberation which was easy to use in the further development. The invitations were sent via email, Wilma and web pages and there were over 500 parents and 1 000 students taking part in the dialogue. The participation of teachers was done in two phases; simultaneously among the others and again after hearing the other stakeholders.

The results pave the way for the future

The participants were asked to innovate what sparks the joy of learning, evaluate the results of their own group and further process the most important topics. “We wanted to make the voices of students, parents and teachers heard quickly and inclusively. It was also important to make our goals for better teaching visible and collect different stakeholder views to support our actions. We wanted to clarify what we need to move towards the right direction. The results confirmed our views and helped us update the curriculum to match the demands of the present-day. Our duty is to take the change to the everyday level. The reforms already made support the results we got from students and parents. It is easy to continue working based on these results”, comments Lassi Kilponen, Director of Education and Upbringing.