Professor Pasi Sahlberg

Professor of Educational Policy, Deputy director, Gonski Institute for Education
School of Education


0432 703 955

Pasi Sahlberg has worked as schoolteacher, teacher-educator, researcher, and policy advisor in Finland and has analysed education policies and advised education policymakers around the world. He has gained working knowledge in over 60 countries around the world as former senior education specialist at the World Bank in Washington, DC, lead education specialist at the European Training Foundation, director general of the Ministry of Education in Finland, and a visiting professor at Harvard University. In Finland his career includes mathematics and science teacher and teacher educator at the University of Helsinki, Director of the Center for School Development at the Univeristy of Helsinki, Counsellor of Education at the Finnish National Board of Education, and Director General at the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture. He is recipient of the 2012 Education Award in Finland, 2013 Grawemeyer Award in the U.S., the 2014 Robert Owen Award in Scotland, the 2016 Lego Prize in Denmark, and Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Resident Fellowship in Italy in 2017. He has published widely in academic journals, professional magazines and public media about educational issue and is a member of several academic journal's editorial boards. Pasi has served as an advisor to the Minister of Education of Sweden (through the Swedish School Commission), the Minister of Education in Malta, Minister of Education in Finland, and is currently advisor to the First Minister of Scotland (through International Council of Education Advisors). Most recent books include Finnish Lessons: What can the world learn from educational change in Finland(2015), Hard Questions on Global Educational Change(2017), FinnishED Leadership: Four big, inexpensive ideas to transform education(2018), and Let the Children Play! Why more play helps schools and children thrive(with William Doyle, 2019). He is adjunct professor at the University of Oulu and the University of Helsinki. Pasi is Finnish citizen now living with his family in Sydney, Australia.



    • Sahlberg P, Good School for All: How teachers’ professional wisdom can improve equity in Australian schools? In D. Netolicky, J. Andrews & C. Paterson (Eds.) Flip the System Australia: What matters in education, Routledge
    • Sahlberg P;Broadfoot P;Coolahan J;Furlong J;Kirk G, Aspiring to Excellence. Final Report of the International Review Panel on the Structure of Initial Teacher Education in Northern Ireland, Department of Employment and Learning
    • Sahlberg P;Munn P;Furlong J, Report of the International Review Panel on the Structure of Initial Teacher Education Provision in Ireland: Review Conducted on behalf of the Department of Education and Skills, Department of Education and Skills
    • Sahlberg P, The role of education in promoting creativity: potential barriers and enabling factors. In Villalba, E. (Ed.) Measuring creativity, OPOCE
    • Sahlberg P, The Secret to Finland’s Success: Educating Teachers. Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education – Research Brief, September, Stanford University
    • Hargreaves A;Crocker R;Davis B;McEwen L;Sahlberg P;Shirley D;Sumara D, The learning mosaic: A multiple perspectives review of the Alberta initiative for school improvement, Alberta Education
    • Sahlberg P, The role of international organisations in fighting education corruption. In Heyneman, S. (Ed.) Buying your way into heaven. Education and corruption in international perspective, Sense Publishers
    • Dundar H;Roberts-Schweitzer E;Sahlberg P;Zafeirakou A, Helping the poorest to learn. The rationale for investing in early childhood education in Europe and Central Asia, World Bank
    • Sahlberg P, Building bridges for learning. Recognition and value of non-formal education in youth activity, European Youth Forum
    • Sahlberg P;Doyle W, Let the Children Play. How more play saves our schools and helps children thrive, Oxford University Press
    • Sahlberg P, FinnishEd Leadership: Four big, inexpensive ideas to transform education, Corwin Press
    • Hammerness K;Ahtiainen R;Sahlberg P, Empowered Educators in Finland. How high-performing systems shape teaching quality, Jossey-Bass
    • Sahlberg P;Hasak J;Rodriguez VW A, Hard Questions on Global Educational Change. Policies, practices and the future, Teachers College Press
    • Sahlberg P;Berry J, Small group learning in school mathematics. Teachers’ and pupils’ ideas about groupwork in school, Finnish Educational Research Association
    • Sahlberg P;Brown J, Schooling and Globalization. In Aloni, N. and Weintrob, L. (Eds.) Beyond Bystanders: Educational Leadership for a Humane Culture in a Globalizing Reality, Sense Publishers
    • Berliner D;Sahlberg P, Foreword: PISA: A good servant but a bad master. In S. Sellar, G. Thompson, and D. Rutkowski, The Global Education Race: Taking the measure of PISA and international testing, Brush Education Inc., pp. vii-xii
    • Sahlberg P, Finnish Schools and the Global Educational Reform Movement. In Evers, J. and Kneyber, R. (Eds.) Flip the System. Changing education from the ground up, Routledge
    • Sahlberg P, Developing Effective Teachers and School Leaders. In Darling-Hammond, L. (Ed.) Teaching in a Flat World, Teachers College Press, pp
    • Sahlberg P, Finland: A Non-competitive Education for A Competitive Economy. In OECD, Lessons from PISA for Korea, Strong Performers and Successful Reformers in Education, OECD Publishing
    • Sahlberg P, Fulfilling the Dream in Finland. In Malone, H. J. (Ed.) Leading Educational Change. Global issues, challenges, and lessons on whole-system reform, Teachers College Press, pp.123-127
    • Sahlberg P, Becoming a teacher in Finland: Traditions, reforms and policies. In Darling-Hammond, L. and Lieberman, A. (Eds.) Teacher Education Around the World. Changing policies and practices, Routledge
    • Sahlberg P, Finland: A Non-competitive Education for A Competitive Economy. In OECD, Lessons from PISA for Japan, Strong Performers and Successful Reformers in Education, OECD Publishing
    • Sahlberg P, Educational change in Finland. In Hargreaves, A., Lieberman, A., Fullan, M., and Hopkins, D. (Eds.) Second International Handbook of Educational Change, Springer
    • Sahlberg P, Educational Change. In Guthrie, J. (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Education, 2nd edition, Macmillan Reference, pp

    Book Chapters

    • Sahlberg P;Brown J, 2017, 'SCHOOLING AND GLOBALIZATION', in Aloni N; Weintrob L (ed.), BEYOND BYSTANDERS: EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP FOR A HUMANE CULTURE IN A GLOBALIZING REALITY, edn. Moral Development and Citizenship Education, SENSE PUBLISHERS, pp. 33 - 45,
    • Sahlberg P, 2016, 'THE FINNISH PARADOX Equitable Public Education Within a Competitive Market Economy', in Adamson F; Astrand B; DarlingHammond L (ed.), GLOBAL EDUCATION REFORM: HOW PRIVATIZATION AND PUBLIC INVESTMENT INFLUENCE EDUCATION OUTCOMES, ROUTLEDGE, pp. 110 - 130,
    • Sahlberg P, 2015, 'Finnish schools and the global education reform movement', in Flip the System: Changing Education from the Ground Up, pp. 162 - 174,
    • Sahlberg P, 2013, 'The most wanted: Teachers and teacher education in Finland', in Teacher Education Around the World: Changing Policies and Practices, pp. 1 - 21,
    • Sahlberg P, 'Globaliseringens udfordringer til lærerrollen: Fra tilskuer til aktør. In: D. Sommer & J. Klitmøller (Eds.)', in , Hans Reitzels
    • Sahlberg P, 'Il Modello Finlandia: Eguaglianza', in , edn. ed
    • Sahlberg P, 'Finnish Lessons 2.0. What can the world learn from educational change in Finland?', in , edn. 2nd edition, Teachers College Press
    • Chakroun B;Sahlberg PE, 'Policy learning in action. ETF Yearbook 2008. Brussels: European Training Foundation', in Sahlberg P (ed.), , Teachers College Press
    • Fischman G;Sahlberg P;I S;Marcetti Topper A, 'International Large-scale Student Assessments and Their Impact on National School Reforms. In: Larry Suter', in , SAGE Publishing, 532-550
    • Sahlberg P, 'The Finnish Paradox: Equitable public education within a competitive market economy. In Adamson', in , Routledge, pp. 130–150 - 130–150
    • Sahlberg P, 'Global Educational Reform Movement and its impact on teaching. In Mundy', in , Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 128–144 - 128–144
    • Sahlberg P, 'Piu parli, piu impari. Cosa occore per fare cooperative learning nelle scuole secondarie?', in , F. (Ed, pp. 69–98 - 69–98

    Journal articles

    • Schildkamp K;Poortman CL;Sahlberg P, 2019, 'Data-based decision making in developing countries: balancing accountability measures and improvement efforts', Journal of Professional Capital and Community, vol. 4, pp. 166 - 171,
    • Sahlberg P, 2017, 'The global testing culture: shaping education policy, perceptions, and practice', EDUCATIONAL REVIEW, vol. 69, pp. 135 - 137,
    • Sahlberg P, 2013, 'Teachers as leaders in Finland', Educational Leadership, vol. 71, pp. 36 - 40
    • Sahlberg P, 2011, 'The Fourth Way of Finland', Journal of Educational Change, vol. 12, pp. 173 - 185,
    • Sahlberg P, 2011, 'PISA in Finland: An education miracle or an obstacle to change?', Center for Educational Policy Studies Journal, vol. 1, pp. 119 - 140
    • Sahlberg P, 2010, 'Editorial', European Journal of Education, vol. 45, pp. 177 - 180,
    • Sahlberg P, 2010, 'Rethinking accountability in a knowledge society', Journal of Educational Change, vol. 11, pp. 45 - 61,
    • Sahlberg P;Boce E, 2010, 'Are teachers teaching for a knowledge society?', Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, vol. 16, pp. 31 - 48,
    • Sahlberg P;Oldroyd D, 2010, 'Pedagogy for economic competitiveness and sustainable development', European Journal of Education, vol. 45, pp. 280 - 299,
    • Sahlberg P, 2010, 'Hope of cooperative learning: Intentional talk in Albanian secondary school classrooms', Intercultural Education, vol. 21, pp. 205 - 218,
    • Hovhannisyana A;Sahlberg P, 2010, 'Cooperative learning for educational reform in Armenia', Intercultural Education, vol. 21, pp. 229 - 242,
    • Sahlberg P;Vazyakova Y, 2009, 'Education Reform for Raising Economic Competitiveness', VESTNIK MEZHDUNARODNYKH ORGANIZATSII-INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATIONS RESEARCH JOURNAL, vol. 4, pp. 15 - 33,
    • Sahlberg P, 2008, 'Tough choices or tough times: The report on the new commission on the skills of the American workforce', JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL CHANGE, vol. 9, pp. 87 - 90,
    • Välijärvi J;Sahlberg P, 2008, 'Should 'failing' students repeat a grade? Retrospective response from Finland', Journal of Educational Change, vol. 9, pp. 385 - 389,
    • Sahlberg P, 2007, 'Education policies for raising student learning: The Finnish approach', Journal of Education Policy, vol. 22, pp. 147 - 171,
    • Sahlberg P, 2006, 'Raising the bar: How Finland responds to the twin challenge of secondary education?', PROFESORADO-REVISTA DE CURRICULUM Y FORMACION DE PROFESORADO, vol. 10,
    • Sahlberg P, 2006, 'Education reform for raising economic competitiveness', Journal of Educational Change, vol. 7, pp. 259 - 287,
    • Berry J;Sahlberg P, 1996, 'Investigating pupils' ideas of learning', Learning and Instruction, vol. 6, pp. 19 - 36,
    • Sahlberg P, 'Quality and equity in Finnish schools', School Administrator, September, vol. 2012, pp. 27–30 - 27–30
    • Sahlberg P, 'A Model lesson. Finland shows us how equal opportunity looks like', American Educator, vol. 36, pp. 20–27 - 20–27
    • Sahlberg P, 'Lessons from Finland', American Educator, vol. 35, pp. 32–36 - 32–36
    • Sahlberg P, 'Educational progress in Finland and what can we learn from it. In Kauste, J. (Ed.) The Best School in the World. Seven Finnish examples from the 21st century', Museum of Finnish Architecture, vol. pp., pp. 20–29 - 20–29
    • Murgatroyd S;Sahlberg P, 'The two solitudes of educational policy and the challenge of development', Journal of Learning for Development, vol. 3, pp. 9–21 - 9–21
    • Sahlberg P, 'Un sistema escolar modelo. Finlandia demuestra que la equidad y la excelencia pueden coexistir en la educación. Pensamiento Educativo', Revista De Investigación Educacional Latinoamericana, vol. 52, pp. 136–145 - 136–145
    • Sahlberg P, 'Cooperative learning and global competitiveness', Indian Journal of Experiments in Education, vol. (July),, pp. 15–22 - 15–22
    • Sahlberg P, 'Paradoxes of improving education: The Finland experience', Scottish Educational Review, vol. 42, pp. 3–22 - 3–22
    • Sahlberg P, 'Creativity and innovation through lifelong learning', Journal of Lifelong Learning in Europe, vol. 14, pp. 53–60 - 53–60
    • Välijärvi J;Sahlberg P, 'Should ‘failing’ students repeat a grade?', Journal of Educational Change, vol. 9, pp. 385–389 - 385–389
    • Sahlberg P, 'Education policies for raising student learning: The Finnish approach', Journal of Education Policy, vol. 22, pp. 173–197 - 173–197
    • Sahlberg P, 'Subiendo el listón: ¿Como responde Finlandia al doble reto de la educación secundaria?', Profesorado, vol. 10, pp. 1–26 - 1–26
    • Sahlberg P, 'Teaching and globalization', International Research Journal of Managing Global Transitions, vol. 2, pp. 65–83 - 65–83
    • Sahlberg P;Berry J, 'One and one is sometimes three in small group mathematics learning', Asia Pacific Journal of Education, vol. 1, pp. 82–94 - 82–94
    • Sahlberg P, 'From non-formal education to lifelong learning', Lifelong Learning in Europe Journal, vol. 1, pp. 48–54 - 48–54


    • Sahlberg P;Hyland A, The Structure of Teacher Education in Ireland: Review of Progress in Implementing Reform. Department of Education and Skills of Ireland
    • Sahlberg P, Education system where quality and equality go hand in hand. In Cagan, D. (Ed.) Nordic Ways. Washington, DC: Center for Transantlantic Relations, pp
    • Sahlberg P, Learning first: School accountability for a sustainable society. In Couture, J.-C., Gariepy, K. D., and Spencer, B. (Eds.) Educational Accountability: Professional Voices from the Field, Rotterdam: Se
    • Aho E;Pitkänen K;Sahlberg P, Policy development and reform principles of basic and secondary education in Finland since 1968
    • Sahlberg P, Kuka auttaisi opettajaa. Post-moderni näkökulma opetuksen muutokseen yhden kehittämisprojektin valossa. [Who would help a teacher – postmodern perspective on change in light of one school improvement

Honours and prizes

2011: The Upton Sinclair Award (United States)

2012: The Finnish Education Award (Finland)

2013: The Grawemeyer Award (USD100,000, United States)

2013: First Class Knight of the White Rose of Finland (Finland)

2014: The Robert Owen Award (Scotland)

2015: Laureate of the International Chapter of Kappa Delta Pi (United States)

2016: Lego Prize (USD 100,000, Denmark)

2017: Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center Research Residency (Italy)

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