Optimising Education Systems

Creating the Future of Teacher Training with Sharjah – Postgraduate Diploma Programme for Teachers

Emirate of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, 2021–2023

The University of Helsinki HY+ was selected from amongst 35 esteemed universities in the world to collaborate with the Sharjah Private Education Authority (SPEA), and the Sharjah Education Academy (SEA) in the development of a new Postgraduate Diploma Programme. The programme was targeted for new university graduates with a bachelor’s degree in different subjects, and teachers, who completed the programme as an in-service training. The first students were enrolled in January 2022. The programme was implemented in a hybrid form: 80% online and 20% as face-to-face teaching. HY+ developed the online content for the programme, trained the faculty of SEA, assisted in the accreditation process, and created a quality assurance process to ensure the high-level content of the programme. The project’s overall goal was to develop a sustainable, scalable, and research-based teacher training process in Sharjah, and to enhance teacher training and the education system at large, both regionally and internationally. As a proof of success, the Diploma programme received an official accreditation from the UAE CAA in August 2022. Furthermore, the programme’s Arabic version was launched in 2023 and thus is expanding its impact in the region.

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Master’s Degree Programme in Education for Teachers in UAE

Emirate of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, 2023 (ongoing)

HY+ and Sharjah Education Academy (SEA) have strengthened their partnership with embarking on developing a Master’s degree programme as a continuation for the ongoing Postgraduate Diploma Programme. The new master’s degree programme enrolled its first students in September 2023. The programme is seeking for accreditation from the CAA as a continuum for the successful process with the Diploma Programme. HY+ team will work closely with SEA in the development of the online content to assist in the accreditation process, and work with SEA to create a system for the quality assurance. The project continues the work which began with the Diploma Programme and continues to create sustainable, scalable enhancement to the education system through research-based teacher training.

Early Childhood Education Certificate (ECEC) Programmes in Sharjah, UAE

Emirate of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, 2022–2023

HY+ and Sharjah Education Academy (SEA) launched Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) certificate programmes in the beginning of 2023. The programmes were co-developed within the teams of SEA and HY+, targeting early childhood education teachers, teaching assistants and educational leaders. The HY+ team developed online content for the programmes, which SEA offered for the local education professionals. The programmes are aligned to ensure that the different educational professionals in their roles speak the same pedagogical language and thus support the overall goal of improvement of the ECEC. SEA has also seeked for accreditation for the programmes from NQC, UAE, and HY+ has supported the process. Accreditation is expected by the end of 2023 for all three programmes. The overall goal was to create a sustainable and scalable change in ECEC teaching and learning in the region, and to bring forward latest research-based knowledge in ECEC. The programmes were launched both in English and in Arabic.

An In-Service Training Strategy for Secondary School Teachers

Mozambique, 2022 (ongoing)

The University of Helsinki HY+ is part of a project to develop an in-service training strategy for secondary school teachers in Mozambique. The objective is to strengthen the know-how of teachers in different subjects and to define and experiment with a continuous training strategy to meet the needs of the Mozambican education system. The project aims to establish a sustainable framework and practices to progressively strengthen the quality of teaching, and to involve secondary school teachers in a career-long training process. HY+ offers technical support and expertise and supports the Ministry of Education and Human Development and the National Directorate of Teacher Training in the project. The project is funded by Agence Française de Développement (AFD).

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Technical Assistance for a Secondary Education Sector Improvement Programme

Sri Lanka, 2021 (ongoing)

Sri Lanka is carrying out an ambitious education reform, which aims at enhanced human resource development and globally competitive knowledge-centered economy. The Secondary Education Sector Improvement Programme is financed by the Asian Development Bank. The Technical Assistance is provided by an international consortium, which is led by the University of Helsinki HY+. The technical assistance project supports curriculum development of STEM and commerce subjects, pedagogy, educational leadership, assessment, and university entrance. The international consortium also includes the University of Turku from Finland, Korea Institute for Curriculum and Evaluation (KICE), and Korean Educational Development Institute (KEDI). The project will last for three years, and the budget is 1,9 million USD.

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Pakistan, 2018 (ongoing)

Through a multi-year partnership with Durbeen, a Pakistan-based non-profit education company, the University of Helsinki will share its education resources to support the process of education reform in the public sector of the country. This programme focuses on developing and enhancing the new National Curriculum for Bachelor’s degree of Education on a local level in the Province of Karachi. Incorporated in-service training will address the mind shift required to modernize the training and subsequently develop the capacity of the faculty of a state-owned teacher education college. The graduates of this college will later be placed in public schools, trained and qualified to raise the quality of education being offered to Pakistani students.

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Ukraine, 2018 (ongoing)

The project of the Ministry of Education of Ukraine aims to modernize the Ukrainian education system and to improve teaching and learning methods for the 21st century requirements in accordance with the Vision for the New Ukrainian School. The expected impact will be the improved quality of education and citizens’ more positive perception of Ukrainian education. The intervention is divided into three clusters:  1) Teacher preparation and competence development 2) Education promotion 3) Development of education environment. The project is funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland.

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Professional Competence Development


Helsinki, Finland, 2022 

HY+ designed and hosted a four-week Master Class professional development programme for teachers from the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Bahrain, Jordan and Saudi-Arabia. The two-week Master Classes on the Finnish Education Phenomenon were designed for two groups of 21 teachers and principals, who were the winners of the Mohamed bin Zayed Award for Best GCC Teacher in their respective countries. The training approach included lectures, workshops, active participation, and knowledge-sharing. Participants saw theory implemented into practice during site visits to the Playful Learning Centre at the Faculty of Education, Finnish National Agency for Education, as well as Espoo International School. The teachers also received more detailed insights into themes such as curriculum design, teacher education, positive pedagogy, multidisciplinary learning, the use of ICT, and benchmarking best practices from the University of Helsinki experts and partner organisations.


Beirut, Lebanon, 2019

This training was designed for the Syndicate of the Lebanese Nursery owners and their members from Lebanon and MENA region. The two-day training gathered together over 200 Lebanese nursery owners, directors, administrators and teachers. First day focused on positive pedagogy in leadership, and the second day on playful and joyful learning at early age. Positive thinking and joy in learning were the carrying themes for the whole training. The training programme included a look inside the unique Finnish education and activating workshops to bring the theory to practice in local context. This training, while effective as such, is designed to be part of a series of trainings.


Helsinki, Finland, 2019

In response to the wish of the Jeollanamdo Office of Education to provide a carefully selected group of teachers with the opportunity to enact change in their respective educational institutions in South Korea, HY+ organised a four-month intensive training programme for a group of participants. This programme combined theory and practice in four components: English language training, pedagogical training, immersive activities in the University of Helsinki’s distinguished teacher training school and others within Finland’s educational ecosystem, and a supervised Final Project. The programme aimed to empower and enable individuals to make necessary improvements in their own schools, within a broader mission to instigate nation-wide progress and sustainable development in South Korea’s educational system.


Helsinki, Finland, 2017

During a six-month professional development programme, 56 Saudi teachers improved their English language skills, participated in cutting-edge pedagogical training, took part in a three-month supervised observation course in carefully-selected Finnish schools, and practiced 21st century education skills. The aim of the programme was to coach participants to become change agents in their home schools in KSA with the help of teacher training and customised tools from the Finnish educational system. The programme was delivered in Helsinki, Finland, and it was funded by the Ministry of Education of The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Read more about the participants’ experiences


Beijing, China, 2017

It has been proven that a creative problem-solving methodology increases assessment skills (not only teachers’ ability to assess students but also students’ self-assessment skills), critical thinking, learning motivation and classroom management. The Diversified Innovative Teaching Methods programme sought to answer the following questions: What is creative problem-solving? How can we use creative problem-solving effectively to teach different subjects? The five-day in-depth programme delivered by faculty members from the University of Helsinki was designed for 40 primary school teachers in China. The approach combined theoretical academic information with interactive methods. Participants used the methods learned to design their own creative problem-solving process.


Helsinki, Finland, 2017

The Master Class in Finnish Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) involved a group of six education administrators from Hong Kong, who took part in an intensive five-day course in Helsinki. The course included keynote lectures and workshops on Finnish ECEC, the new national core curriculum and its local implementations, and the related quality assurance system. Participants saw theory implemented in practice during site visits to the Playful Learning Centre as well as local kindergartens. The administrators also received more detailed insights into themes such as inclusive and child-centred education, learning environments, the use of ICT and benchmarking best practices. The aim of the Master Class was to offer participants an understanding of Finnish ECEC and to inspire new ideas for implementation in their local education system.


Helsinki, Finland, 2016

A custom-designed five-day Master Class in University Pedagogy provided 12 participants from a Federal University in Russia a broad overview of carefully-selected aspects of university teaching and learning. Faculty experts from the University of Helsinki delivered training on topics such as leadership in teaching, curriculum design, interactive teaching methods, project-based learning and evaluation of students’ learning experiences. The teaching approach included lectures, workshops, active participation and knowledge sharing.

Online Services

Blended Learning for the Shanghai Normal University

Online, 2021

31 teachers of a variety of subjects from different universities and institutions in Shanghai participated an online training programme organised by HY+ from October 8 to December 10, 2021. The aim of the programme was to provide information about pedagogical concepts, skills to design blended learning, understanding of IT tools and digitalisation skills that cater to the blended learning solutions, knowledge to implement the design to teaching different subjects, and help to assess and evaluate students’ learning performance. The University of Helsinki provided two pedagogical trainers, who were supported by six assistant trainers from the Shanghai Normal University, Shanghai Teacher Professional Development Center. The programme included nine webinar sessions conducted by the trainers from the University of Helsinki, independent work between the webinars supported by the assistant trainers, and the trainers’ feedback on the process outcomes.


Online, 2021

In May 2021, HY+ and the Educational Development Center (EDC) in the College of Education at Kuwait University organised an online training programme in preparation for the reopening of schools in Kuwait. Over 600 university faculty members, principals, and teachers from public sector schools participated in the programme. The training comprised of ten modules, sharing the Finnish experience and providing knowledge and tools for facing similar challenges in Kuwait’s context. The topics included activities and instructional methods, digital solutions, curriculum implementation and evaluation, leadership, administration, and safety during exceptional times, and most importantly, student wellbeing and support systems. The versatility of the participants created a challenge in designing and delivering a training programme that would cater to the very different needs within the group, but with a careful balance between theory and practice, the training received overwhelmingly positive feedback from the participants, as 90% of them found the content relevant to their work.

STEM Education for Early Childhood and Primary Teachers in Thailand

Online, 2021

In January 2021, the University of Helsinki Centre for Continuing Education HY+ cooperated with the Ministry of Education and the Office of Basic Education Commission in Thailand, to organise a pilot online training course in STEM education for a group of 11 early childhood and primary teachers. The programme took 4 months with a total of 135 self-study hours. The topics covered learning by doing, inquiry-based learning, cross-curricular education, and self-reflection to improve students’ confidence. The participants learned how to conduct a STEM lesson in a simplified way, as well as how to apply the newly gained knowledge from the course within their own classrooms.


Online, 2021

In January 2021, HY+ organised an online training programme on educational leadership for 250 school leaders from the Emirate of Sharjah in collaboration with the Sharjah Education Academy (SEA). The training covered a range of topics including broad-based pedagogical leadership in the work community and leadership from a distance during the pandemic, leadership in a community of professionals, and supporting learning and student services. Two principals from the University of Helsinki’s high-performing teacher training schools (K-12) worked as academic specialists in the online training programme. The training was based on dialogue between colleagues, and both the academic experts from Finland and the participants from Sharjah shared their experiences and learned from each other. The training was part of a series of online programmes that HY+ and SEA have organised during 2020 and 2021. Read more about the EARLY-LEARNERS and LEARNING FROM A DISTANCE programmes in our list of references.


Online, 2021

In January 2021, HY+ organised an online training programme on inquiry-based learning: why is it so effective and how does it tie together child-centred and child-led learning? The training was organised for over 400 early educators from the Emirate of Sharjah in collaboration with the Sharjah Education Academy (SEA). The two-day training programme included an in-depth introduction to inquiry-based learning, how to set your learning targets correctly, and how to assess learning. The academic specialist, Dr. Jonna Kangas from the University of Helsinki’s Faculty of Educational Sciences, provided the participants with practical examples of methods and tools to utilise in lessons. The training was part of a series of online training programmes HY+ and SEA have organised during 2020 and 2021. Read more about the LEADERSHIP DURING EXCEPTIONAL TIMES and LEARNING FROM A DISTANCE programmes in our list of references.

HY+ also offers a self-study online programme, STEM Education for Early Childhood and Primary Teachers, which helps you learn what inquiry-based learning is and how to utilise it in teaching STEM subjects. Read more about the programme here.


Online, 2020

In March 2020, the University of Helsinki Centre for Continuing Education HY+ partnered with the Sharjah Private Education Authority to organise an online training programme for private school leaders from the Emirate of Sharjah in the UAE. The ‘Learning from a Distance’ training programme aimed to develop the knowledge and skills of teachers and other school staff in remote teaching and distance learning, particularly in light of challenges arising from the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent school closures. Over 200 educators participated in the programme, learning how to design pedagogical processes supportive of effective schooling online. HY+’s agent Education House Finland facilitated the programme locally. The progress and outcomes of the training programme received excellent feedback from the participants.

Read more about this training programme

Watch a video about the online training experience


The Ethiopian Ministry of Education

Helsinki, Finland, 2022

In November 2022, we had the honor of hosting a delegation from the Ethiopian Ministry of Education with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland. The 4-day programme, tailored to the needs and interests of the delegation, covered a wide range of topics, including inclusion, curriculum, teacher training, positive pedagogy and the role of schools as active members of the community. The delegation also visited two schools to see the Finnish education system in practice, in addition to high-level meetings in the Ministry of Education and Culture, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and the Finnish National Agency for Education.


Helsinki, Finland, 2019–2020

Between October 2019 and January 2020, HY+ and the University of Helsinki welcomed 8 groups of Polish leaders in university management to Finland. A total of 91 individuals came to Helsinki, to learn about best practices from the nation’s top university. The intensive 5-day programme, tailored to the needs and interests of the participants, covered a broad range of topics, including: quality and brand management; industry collaborations, invention disclosures and commercialisation; digitalisation; and the University language policy and approach towards internationalisation. Through on-site visits to the National Agency for Education and the Finnish Education Evaluation Centre, the participants gained invaluable insights into the workings of the Finnish dual system of Higher Education, as well as the Finnish approach towards assessment and evaluation in schools, within the context of its society and culture. The feedback on the programme was exceptional – 100% would recommend it to their colleagues!


Helsinki, Finland, 2019

In 2019, HY+ welcomed 40 visiting groups with almost 700 guests from 28 different countries to Helsinki, to explore the founding pillars of the Finnish pedagogical approach, and to witness first-hand the implementation of Finnish educational theory in a classroom setting. A variety of topics, including teacher education, new learning methods, special education, and outdoor learning, combined with on-site visits to daycare centres, teacher-training and public schools, and vocational colleges, enabled participants to gain invaluable insights into a broad range of different elements within the Finnish educational system. Participants actively engaged with the topics covered through lectures, workshops, and discussions, contributing to in-depth reflections and comparisons made during the training programme with enthusiasm and interest, ready to return to their home countries as inspired change-makers. The mingling of diverse people, backgrounds, and cultures brings both us and our international visitors the invaluable opportunity to exchange different opinions and perspectives, enabling us to learn from each other, and deepen our knowledge of the surrounding world.

To make inquiries and book your own Eduvisit, check out this page.

University of Helsinki Centre for Continuing Education HY+

University of Helsinki Centre for Continuing Education HY+

P.O. Box 53 (Fabianinkatu 32)

FI-00014 University of Helsinki

Our Finnish website: hyplus.helsinki.fi

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