Professor Pasi   Sahlberg

Professor Pasi Sahlberg

Arts,Design & Architecture
School of Education

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 career includes senior education specialist at the Finland's National Board of Education, World Bank in Washington, DC, lead education specialist at the European Training Foundation in Torino (Italy), director general of the Ministry of Education and Culture (CIMO) in Finland, and a visiting professor at Harvard University. In Finland he also held positions as a mathematics and science teacher, teacher education lecture and director of the Center for School Development at the University of Helsinki. 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 is a member of editorial board of several international academic journals and has published widely in academic journals, professional magazines and public media about educational issue. Pasi has served as a commissioner in the Swedish School Commission, advisor to the Minister of Education in Malta, Minister of Education in Finland,  and the First Minister of Scotland. His most recent books include Hard Questions on Global Educational Change (2017), FinnishED Leadership: Four big, inexpensive ideas to transform education (2018), Let the Children Play! Why more play helps schools and children thrive (with William Doyle, 2019), Finnish Lessons 3.0: What can the world learn from educational change in Finland (2021), and In Teachers We Trust: The Finnish way to world-class schools (with Tim Walker, 2021). Pasi is adjunct professor at the University of Oulu and the University of Helsinki in Finland and he lives currently with his family in Sydney.

+61 432 703 955



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)



My research currently focuses on improving education policies and performance of education systems and educational change in comparative, international perspectives. I lead three research projects:

(1) Growing Up Digital Australia that is a ground-breaking research project by the Gonski Institute for Education (UNSW) designed to change the status quo and understand how the widespread use of technology is impacting Australian children. Growing Up Digital Australia builds on the research methodology that has been developed by Harvard Medical School and the University of Alberta. In this Australian study, we seek to answer questions around how digital technologies are being used, the benefits and distractions they pose to students and whether they are bridging the divide of equity, or widening it.

(2) Fair Play that is is a research project with LEGO Education undertaken in NSW schools. This research responds to a pressing need for rigorous research determining whether it is linked to equity of outcomes. A particular focus of Fair Play will be on how the knowledge, skills, behaviours and achievements of children from disadvantaged circumstances, particularly children who might have limited access to toys at home, are affected by having more opportunities to play. Teachers, parents and students themselves will contribute to the data collection for this project.

(3) Equity in education is an ongoing effort to analyse the concept of educational equity and shed more light go its importance and practical aspects in Australian school context. This work also links equity in education to the two other research projects described above.

Current Issues in Education (EdD course)