China’s five-year plan opens doors for Finnish education exporters

There will be plenty of opportunities for Finnish companies in China during the next five years! That is the ultra-short summary of the presentations at the Finn-Sino Education Club’s first webinar, which took place on Monday 20, 2021. 

The theme of the webinar was China’s 14th five-year plan in the education field. 

Every five years, the country adopts a plan, mapping objectives and strategies. The newest one, which is the 14th of its kind, deals with the years 2021 – 2025.  

At the webinar, the two keynote speakers highlighted several areas, where Finnish know-how could help China develop in the direction that provincial governments and China’s central government wish to in the near future. Among those are vocational education, innovation and digitization, assessment and teachers’ training.  

Interest in Finnish STEM education expertise
Wei Jianghui, a member of the organizing committee of the International Digital Education Event (iDEE) told the participants about Zhejiang Province’s aim to “realize the modernization of education in general” by 2025.  

China’s national five-year plan is yet to be published, but by taking a closer look at Zhejiang’s plans, we can get a hint of what to expect on a national level. The province, located on China’s east coast, is particularly famous for its successful tech businesses, such as the Alibaba Group. Zhejiang is also a leading province in the field of education, which means that its objectives will be included in the national five-year plan for the education field, Wei noted.  

Wei said that many schools in the provincial capital Hangzhou have an interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) educational products from Finland.  

“They are particularly interested in learning how STEM educational material is applied by teachers in Finnish schools,” he explained.  

Localization becomes increasingly important
The second keynote speaker, founder and CEO of Sumino, Lancy Jia, talked about new, tightened rules regulating foreign engagement in the Chinese education sector. It forbids foreign investors from being involved in compulsory education and bans the direct use of foreign curricula in Chinese schools. Furthermore, foreign online education and teaching materials must be checked by authorities, before being put into use.  

This might sound as tough news for foreign education companies looking to export know-how and products to China. To Jia, however, the next five years in offer more opportunities than challenges for Finnish education export to the Middle Kingdom.  

“This does not mean that we are not welcome in China,” she asserted during the webinar. “This means that the importance of localization will be of increasingly importance in the future.” 

She pointed to the fact that Chinese education in the future will focus strongly on innovation, assessment systems, online education and vocational training, and that there is room foreign curricula and pedagogy. These trends, and many others, could open a well of opportunities for companies offering Finnish education solutions. 

Watch the webinar recording above to see the cases of Finnish projects in China within early childhood education, K12 education and vocational education that Lancy Jia showcased.  It will be visible for everybody until Monday, May 26, 2021. After that, only members of the Finn-Sino Education Club can view the recording.

Are you a Finnish education company or institution with an interest in China and other Asian markets? Then join the club! The membership is free until the end of June 2021! And members can already now look forward to the next webinar, planned to be held after the summer holiday!