5 Dec 2013

Teacher studies open up Finnish education: Ghanaian engineering pro learns to teach in Finland

Vocational teacher education provides the pedagogical qualification for teaching in Finland.

Eric Buah, a Ghanaian professional in the field of Engineering and Business Administration, started his teacher studies at JAMK’s Teacher Education College to become a qualified teacher and to learn more about Finnish success in education.

Teaching is a challenging yet rewarding career choice for professionals from various fields. The international post-degree programme for adult students brings together students who have not only different professional but also cultural backgrounds.

Eric Buah came to Finland in 2008 to study and left his job as an electrical and entrepreneurship instructor at the Integrated Community Centre for Employable Skills (ICCES) in Ghana. In Finland he has pursued Bachelor of Engineering degree, Master of Science degree in Economics and Business Administration and is now a Doctoral Researcher at Lappeenranta University of Technology.

– I like Finnish education because of the flexibility given to students to think for themselves and bring out the creativity in them with less influence from teachers. There are no dead-ends for anyone in education in Finland, no matter where you started, says Buah.

Buah started his teacher studies in autumn 2013 at JAMK among other international teaching students. The 60-credit programme usually takes around 1½ years to complete and most of the students end up teaching in vocational institutes or universities of applied sciences. A couple of times a semester, the group has seminars mainly in Jyväskylä. Otherwise they study independently or in learning circle meetings and each student also does teaching practice.

– Studying at JAMK’s teacher education has been fun and a life-changing experience. I am able to tailor the studies to my own needs. I can concentrate on developing my pedagogical competence in facilitating learning in my field of interest. The studies also offer an opportunity to learn more about the idea behind Finnish success in education on an international level.

In Finland, there are five teacher education colleges in universities of applied sciences. Jyväskylä was the first place to start international vocational teacher education in 1994. Nowadays four of the colleges offer the chance to complete teaching studies in an international group. The next application period is 7–24 January 2014.

More information

Eric Buah, Student of JAMK's Teacher Education College, 044 2929 862, firstname.lastname@gmail.com
Harri Keurulainen, Head of Department, 040 5323 147, firstname.lastname@jamk.fi
JAMK University of Applied Sciences, Teacher Education College