26-27 August, Singapore

Keynote Address

Pasi Sahlberg.jpg

Pasi Sahlberg

Professor of Education Policy

University of New South Wales


About Pasi Sahlberg

Pasi Sahlberg is a Professor of Education Policy and Research Director at the Gonski Institute for Education of the University of New South Wales (UNSW). His working experience includes teaching and teacher education at the University of Helsinki, Director General at the Ministry of Education and Culture in Finland, Senior Education Specialist at the World Bank in Washington DC, Lead Education Specialist of the European Commission in Torino, and Visiting Professor at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA. He has analysed education systems, researched school reforms, and advises governments about education around the world, recently being a member of the Swedish Government’s School Commission and currently being an advisor to the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in Scotland. Dr. Sahlberg latest books include “Finnish Lessons 2.0: What can the world learn from educational change in Finland” (2015), “Hard Questions on Educational Change” (2016), FinnishEd Leadership: Four bold, ideas to improve education (2018), “Let the Children Play: How more play will save our schools and help children thrive” with William Doyle (2019). He is a recipient of the 2013 Grawemeyer Award in the U.S., 2014 Robert Owen Award in Scotland, 2016 Lego Prize in Denmark, and Rockefeller Foundation Residency in Bellagio in 2017. Dr. Sahlberg lives with his family in Sydney, Australia.


Leading the Change: Four bold ways to transform school education

It has been fashionable to present different scenarios about what the future will be like and then argue that we need to reimagine our schools to fit to these predictions. Most people claim that schools must change from what they are and do today to better serve the needs of tomorrow. The fact is, however, that nobody knows what will happen in the future, even in short term. Regardless of what vision of the future one holds, education in general and schools in particular are called to be the solution. But too often policies and reforms aiming at transforming schools to better fit to the needs of these unknown futures fail to break the chains of the past and the present assumptions of what schools should be. In this presentation I first explain the most common tensions in current efforts to transform education for the future and then offer four possible shifts in our thinking about the kinds of schools, education systems and leadership that we need for sustainable, peaceful and fair future for all of us. Participants are encouraged to come to this session with their own ideas about what school could be.