Education International
Education International

Finland: new oath for teachers introduced by union

published 15 February 2017 updated 20 February 2017

The teachers’ union, Opetusalan Ammattijärjestö, has introduced a new oath for teachers to take. The oath outlines principles of the profession and underscores the value of their work.

Sixteen thousand Finnish teachers have taken the Comenius’ Oath, newly introduced by Education International affiliate Opetusalan Ammattijärjestö(OAJ). The Oath outlines “principles we have to respect wherever we work, such as pledging that education belongs to all children, students and adults”, said OAJ President Olli Luukkainen. “There is no place for a commercial mind set [in education],” he said, adding that the Oath aims to underpin the status of teachers and the value of their work.

“In Finland, we have highly educated teachers and they are very deeply committed to their work, and that was why we wanted to be the first country to launch this oath.”

The Comenius’ Oath

All Finnish teachers present at the annual OAJ Educa Fair, held in Helsinki, from January 27-28, took this teachers´ oath:

“As a teacher, I am committed to educating the next generation, which is one of the most important human tasks. My aim in this will be to renew and pass on existing human knowledge, culture and skills.

“I shall act with justice and fairness in everything that I do, and promote my students’ development, so that each individual may grow up as a whole human being according to his or her own aptitudes and talents. I shall also strive to assist parents, guardians and other responsible people working with children and young people in their educational functions.

“I shall not reveal information that is communicated to me confidentially, and shall respect the privacy of children and young people. I shall also protect their physical and psychological integrity.

“I shall endeavour to shield the children and young people under my care from political and economic exploitation, and defend the rights of every individual to develop his or her own religious and political beliefs.

“I shall make continuous efforts to maintain and develop my professional skills, committing myself to my profession’s common goals and support my colleagues in their work. I shall act in the best interests of the community at large and strive to strengthen the respect in which the teaching profession is held.”

An oath for teachers globally

The Comenius’ Oath was designed by an independent ethical panel working with OAJ which comprised top Finnish experts of education and philosophers. Its name comes from the 16th Century international advocate for education who identified education at vital in achieving  sustainable and peaceful societies and demanded education for all.

In the wake of the Educa Fair, all teacher students in Finnish universities, as well as qualified teachers at several OAJ events, will be taking this oath.

“The OAJ´s wish is that this oath goes into the hands of all teachers all over Europe and across the world,” Luukkainen insisted.

Along with the OAJ President, Hanan Al Hroub from Palestine, the recipient of the Global Teacher Prize from the Varkey Foundation, attended the Fair and also took the oath, promising to have the oath implemented in her own country.

Educa Fair

A record 16,000 Finnish teachers attended the 2017 Educa Fair. This annual training event for professionals in the education field, the Educa Fair gathers teachers and school leaders from different educational levels, and offers them inspiration and ideas. It includes various seminars taking stock of the education and schooling situations in the country. This year, this event also offered OAJ an opportunity to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Finland’s independence.