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Press Releases, 5/25/2011

Finnish achievements in education sector highlighted in the Caribbean

Press release 156/2011
25 May 2011

On Tuesday, 24 May, about 150 representatives from 24 Caribbean countries and territories convened in Montego Bay, Jamaica, to attend an international conference on education. The purpose of the conference is to pass on experiences of countries that have the highest achievements in education, such as Finland, to be employed by authorities and schools of Caribbean countries.

The participants in the conference, lasting until Wednesday evening, include representatives of Caribbean governments, education sector, schools, and private sector, as well as representatives from various international organisations.

The conference speakers include three representatives from the Finnish National Board of Education, Irmeli Halinen, Leo Pahkin, and Pirjo Sinko. The education systems of the Netherlands and Canada will also be presented. In his presentation, John Yearwood, managing editor of The Miami Herald, told about the school programmes of the countries with the highest education performance.

Finland funds the conference as part of its regional development cooperation programme in the Caribbean. Jamaican Ministry of Education, in collaboration with the Commonwealth of Learning and the Caribbean Examinations Council, is in charge of the practical arrangements. The Finnish National Board of Education has been actively involved in the preparation of the conference.

The greeting from the state of Finland was presented at the conference by Ambassador Mikko Pyhälä, accredited to regional organisations of the Caribbean States. In his speech, Pyhälä pointed out that the conference on education is part of Finland’s multifaceted presence in the Caribbean region. Finland does not want to impose its own education model on anyone else. All it wants to do is give some ideas that the people in the Caribbean could make use of.

The keynote speaker of the opening ceremony, Jamaican Minister of Education Andrew Holness, said that he was pleased that Jamaica had an opportunity to host the conference on education, and he thanked Finland for its active partnership with the Caribbean region. Referring to the good examples given by Finland in particular, Holness pointed out that right education is a means to solve difficulties and prosper. The Minister underscored especially the importance of equal education system, cost-efficiency, competent teachers, and school and home cooperation.

Additional information: Counsellor Ingmar Ström, Department for the Americas and Asia, tel. +358 40 5605 669,, Project Assistant Hannele Halmeranta, Caracas, tel. +58 412 622 0011,


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Updated 5/25/2011

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