Finland International School Expands with Third Campus in India

Finland International School

Finland International School (FIS) has officially launched its third campus in India, located in the upscale Mahalaxmi neighbourhood of Mumbai. The inauguration ceremony at FIS Race Course was graced by Bollywood actors, cricketers, and entrepreneurs, marking a significant milestone for the international school’s expansion into India’s financial capital.

Following the successful launches of FIS Pune in April 2022 and FIS Thane in February 2023, the new FIS Race Course campus, named for its proximity to the famous Mahalaxmi Racecourse, is set to open its doors to students on August 5, 2024. The orientation week for teachers will begin on July 29.

“We have a confirmation of 30 students now and are looking to double that number before the classes begin,” said Nikke Keskinen, founding principal of Finland International Schools and director of academics at Goenka Inc., the company leading the initiative in partnership with Educluster Finland.

FIS Race Course will implement a comprehensive curriculum based on the Finnish National Core Curriculums, offering Early Childhood Education and Care for ages 3-5, primary education for ages 6-10, a middle years program for ages 11-16, and an international board diploma program for ages 16-18. Initially, the school will cater to students from nursery to the fourth grade, with plans to expand to grade 12 in subsequent years.

In addition to the Finnish curriculum, FIS will incorporate aspects of India’s National Education Policy, which was introduced in 2020. “Combining both the Finnish and Indian systems of education forms a powerful synergy that prepares students to thrive in the 21st century,” said Anna Hart, primary school academic principal at FIS Thane.

Prospective students and parents were also introduced to vocational classes in woodworking, textile making, sewing, design, and more, each with dedicated rooms – a rarity in most Indian schools. While the school follows the International Baccalaureate program, Finnish-inspired vocational activities will be integrated into the curriculum through formative assessment.

Keskinen emphasised the unique approach of FIS Race Course, calling it the flagship model among all branches. “India is a huge country, with a lot of competition, but the question is whether learning has to remain the same or we should see some major changes. We have mentored teachers to better coach students and incorporate individual learning plans. The goal is to have personalised, stress-free education with minimal planning,” he said. Keskinen also revealed plans to establish a campus in the North Indian state of Punjab, with a deal close to being finalised with the state government.

Also read: Finland to do away with all school subjects

The launch of the FIS Race Course highlights the growing educational collaboration between India and Finland. This partnership has been strengthened by recent visits from Finnish officials, including Education Minister Anna-Maja Henriksson’s visit to India in October 2023. States like Kerala have also discussed exploring educational cooperation with Finnish representatives.

Despite the challenges of integrating the Finnish education system into India, Keskinen remains optimistic. “We must remember certain non-negotiable elements when transferring the Finnish school system to India. We don’t expect FIS to be a huge school in terms of student size and are aiming to maintain a basic ratio of 2 teachers per 20 students,” he added.

Rajani Naik, academic vice principal of middle school and MYP coordinator at FIS Race Course, believes that while India’s education landscape may not drastically change due to schools like FIS, much to learn from Finnish pedagogy will benefit students.

As Finland aims to attract 15,000 international students and workers by 2030, Goenka Inc., led by Managing Director Shashank Goenka, plans to build resources for Indians seeking to upskill through programs in Finland. “Everyone doesn’t have to go to the UAE or the US; Finland is also a great option to work. We have to make it easier for these international workers to bring their families to Finland as well,” stated Keskinen.

 

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