Pasi Sahlberg — making school the happiest place to be

This interview is from the ABC Conversations series with Richard Fidler and Sarah Kanowski. 

Conversations draws you deeper into the life story of someone you may, or may not, have heard about — someone who has seen and done amazing things.

Pasi Sahlberg grew up in in a small village in Northern Finland.

The winters were long and dark, and the snow was deep.

Pasi's father was a school teacher. And that's what Pasi always wanted to do too, when he grew up.

After training as a teacher, he began a life in education policy.

After a number of years, Pasi became the Director General of Education in Finland.

Finland regularly tops international academic rankings. The country's teachers are highly valued and remunerated, and students have a shorter school day than most other countries, with a firm focus on the importance of play.

Within a few years, Pasi's educational philosophy saw him sought out by many governments around the world.

He believes most kids know what interests them deeply when they are very young, whether it's spiders, bicycles, guitar or drawing, and that schools should be able to adapt to help them learn as much as they can about their passions.