Social Justice School Leadership – making international connections: Case China and Case Finland

Meng Tian

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter in a published conference proceeding


Case 1: People’s Republic of China and Finland (Mika Risku and Meng Tian, Institute of educational Leadership, University of Jyväskylä, Finland) China As a result of urbanization, thousands of farmers in the rural areas of China have moved to coastal cities seeking for a better life becoming migrant workers (China Labour Bulletin, 2008). There were around 250 million migrant workers in 2012 (State Council, 2006). The household registration system has worked so that migrant workers’ children have risked losing their education right if moving away from their place of registration to follow their parents (Young, 2002). Since 2003 national education policy has been aiming at guaranteeing equal opportunities to education to migrant workers’ children who move with their parents to urban cities (The State Council, 2003, 2006b). The case study on China concentrates on how a basic education principal in an outskirt town of Shanghai perceives social justice school leadership in this context. Finland Creating a Nordic welfare state has been the persistent will of the Finnish State during its whole independence starting in 1917. Especially there has been significant inequity between towns and countryside. (Risku, 2011) It can be claimed that Finland was able to achieve the welfare state status and accomplish equity in education in the 1980s (Aho, Pitkänen & Sahlberg, 2006). After the goal was reached both the values and the operational environment of the Finnish society began to change dramatically both challenging and changing the Finnish welfare state (Risku, 2013). The case study on Finland concentrates on how a basic education principal in a suburb of a major Finnish city perceives creating social justice school leadership in this context. Comparing Social Justice School Leadership in China and Finland One can fairly claim that China and Finland are very different from each other. There is a significant difference between them also concerning the topic of the present study on social justice school leadership. China is intensively attempting to create social justice in education. Finland can be argued to have achieved it but having major challenges to maintain and develop it. The purpose of the comparative case study on China and Finland is to answer the four research questions in search for similarities and differences. The findings will show that meaningful similarities and differences can also be found in the comparison. The findings, of course, raise the question what to do with the results. For the present researchers the comparison has a concrete significance as they are involved in educational leadership training for both Finnish and Shanghainese principals.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBritish Educational Leadership and Educational Research Society Annual Conference (BELMAS)
Place of PublicationEdinburgh
Publication statusUnpublished - 13 Aug 2013


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