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World-renowned Finnish educator Dr Pasi Sahlberg has been appointed a Professor of Education at UNSW Sydney and will work with the University’s new interdisciplinary institute focussing on educational access and excellence, the Gonski Institute for Education (GIE).

Dr Sahlberg, a former director general at the Ministry of Education and Culture in Finland and a visiting professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education, whose book Finnish Lessons has been widely read around the world, will begin working at UNSW in March 2018 in a part-time capacity before relocating to Sydney in September to begin full-time with the University.

He will initiate and lead international comparative research projects on education and equity, and education leadership, including courses in Master of Educational Leadership and Doctor of Education programs, as well as supervising students. He will also establish and lead applied research impact labs to improve the quality of teaching and equity of education outcomes.

Dr Sahlberg’s research on education policy, especially around equity, is highly regarded here and overseas, says UNSW President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Jacobs.

“The appointment of Professor Sahlberg is a huge coup for the University and the Gonski Institute but more importantly it is a huge coup for education research in Australia,” says Professor Jacobs. 

Professor of Practice at UNSW and GIE Director Adrian Piccoli says Dr Sahlberg’s research leadership will be invaluable in establishing the GIE as an education powerhouse.

“Dr Sahlberg’s work on enhancing our understanding of international education has helped shift education policy focus around the world, including in Australia, from standardisation and educational segregation to equity and inclusion,” says Mr Piccoli.

Dr Sahlberg is looking forward to growing professionally together with colleagues and students at UNSW.

“I am very excited about this opportunity to be part of the UNSW community,” he says.

“Australia is one of the leading education systems in the world and the opportunity to enhance equity of education here through research and using the expertise of UNSW is an opportunity not to be missed.”

Dr Sahlberg is a recipient of the 2012 Education Award in Finland, the 2014 Robert Owen Award in Scotland, the 2016 Lego Prize, and Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Resident Fellowship in 2017.

He has a long career in education ranging from teaching middle and high school mathematics and science in Helsinki, educating teachers and leaders, and serving the World Bank and the European Commission as an education expert. He chairs the Open Society Foundations’ Global Education Board and is a member of the Governing Board of Finland’s University of Oulu and the International Council of Education Advisors for the Scottish Government. His recent books are Hard Questions on Global Educational Change, Empowered Educators in Finland and FinnishED Leadership: Four Big, Inexpensive Ideas to Transform Education.

Dr Sahlberg speaks around the world about education and has published widely about his research on schools and education reforms. His book, Finnish Lessons 2.0: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland, won the 2013 Grawemeyer Award for an idea that has potential to change the world.

His work can be followed on Twitter @pasi_sahlberg.