Finnish educational expertise is highly valued in Brazil
Jarkko Wickström, Education and Co-operation Coordinator of the Finnish Embassy in Brazil and TAMK’s number one partner in education export to Brazil, visited TAMK at the end of May.
The fruitful co-operation between TAMK’s Global Education and the Finnish Embassy in Brazil has lasted already for 2,5 years. During that time, Wickström has created valuable opportunities for meeting new partners and starting new cooperation projects. With public sector operators, such as the Brazilian Ministry of Education, the embassy plays a particularly major role in the success of co-operation.
The game of trust
Wickström, who moved to Brazil eight years ago, spent the first five years getting to know the system. The Brazilian market is enormous but difficult.
– The private university market alone is worth 50 billion Brazilian reals, but it is a difficult market for a foreigner to get in without proper networks and expertise of the system. All co-operation is based on trust which takes a long time to build.
Trust can also be lost easily, and therefore it is important to know how to act correctly. In addition, the Brazilian political system does not favor continuity. At the beginning of their term politicians and senior officials want to clear the table and wipe out competitors’ tracks. This is often a stumbling block in many well-started projects. The Brazilian time concept is also challenging, as things take more time than in the western culture. However, when the groundwork is done properly, the project itself may kick-off quickly.
TAMK is one of the few Finnish higher education institutions alongside with HAMK that has taken over this field with a systematic and persistent work. The near future will show whether it pays off. However, the forecast is positive.
– The volume of Finnish educational export to Brazil will most likely increase. A few important projects have already been carried out, and they have already had a positive impact on Brazilian education, which is truly magnificent, Wickström smiles.
Towards a better world
Finns want to make a better world and seem to know how. Unlike in Brazil, Finnish higher education is a non-profit activity and has always a goal to see the results in practice.
– Brazil is a large federation with a class society. The federal states have their own education systems, and there are many schools only after financial profit, Wickström explains.
Finnish higher education institutions seek to cooperate only with non-profit organizations that share the same goal.
– It’s great to see how the Finnish educational expertise and school system, that we take for granted ourselves, is so valuable in Brazil. In our projects I have had the great pleasure of meeting teachers from public and low-income schools that have found whole new motivation after completing the Finnish training. Often, they have lost their faith in their own profession and in the possibility of change. After the training, they have found new ways to improve the quality of teaching and education in general. They finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, Wickström says.
Carita Prokki, Director, TAMK EDU