The Ministry of Education in Argentina’s Santa Fé province has reported positive results from a Master’s degree programme for 60 school principals that the University of Tampere is contributing towards.
The ministry entered a research agreement with the University of Tampere a few years ago. An educational reform was underway in Santa Fé, a province in north-west Argentina, and the ministry was looking for international support to help with the change.
A delegation from Santa Fé visited Finland University in October to present the preliminary results of the Master’s degree programme.
Santa Fé had decided to start by training the people who need to lead education reforms from day-to-day: school principals. For this the ministry was interested in how educational leadership is handled in Finland, so various projects were kicked off in both countries during 2016 and 2017, training 60 principals from around the province.
A group led by Santa Fé’s Minister of Education, Dr. Claudia Balagué, has now visited Finland University to present some of the results, and to discuss what the two partners can do together next.
Speaking to Santa Fé media outlet Notife, Dr. Balagué said: "One of the keys to Finnish educational excellence lies in the mastery training of all its teachers. This motivated our collaboration agreement (with the University of Tampere) to carry out a high-standard training programme for our own principals.”
The delegation was led by Santa Fé’s Minister of Education, Dr. Claudia Balagué (left), pictured here with Dr. Helena Rajakaltio from University of Tampere.
The programme has emphasised bringing the principals together in multidisciplinary groups to address real issues at local schools. Groups worked on developing ways to foster deeper individual relationships with students, particularly those with behavioural problems.
“The biggest issue the reform in Santa Fé wanted to address was the high dropout rate, especially among pupils in their mid-teen years,” says Finland University’s Mirka Gustafsson. “Quite a few education reforms have failed when leaders haven’t been able to support them, so the school principals have been through the programme first.”
“Santa Fé has described our work together as a vitamin shot for their principals,” says Mirka. “It’s encouraging to see that even from this small step, there can be a tremendous impact.”
One of the attending principals, Alejandrina Giovagnoli, said the programme had renewed her optimism in education and given her fresh insights into her role as a leader.
“The programme opened new doors for self-reflection about my role in the teaching and learning process,” she says. “It brought me new ideas for my school’s curriculum, for encouraging inclusion and for managing conflict. The emphasis is on putting the student first and building a greater sense of teamwork in the school.”
Photos: Marcela Rosales
Mirka Gustafsson, Key Account Manager, Finland University, mirka.gustafsson
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