Mentioning fellow teachers and his employer makes the eyes of Tommi Lehto, an Iisalmi-based teacher, sparkle and brings a big smile to his face. “We have the best teachers in Finland here in Iisalmi,” says Lehto, a teacher at the Juhani Aho school. Emphasis on the words ‘we’ and ‘Finland’s best’ indicate that the school’s teachers share a strong team spirit and collegial pride.

“We are provided with regular training, and we have excellent tools and devices for teaching. We also provide great learning tools for each student,” he continues. Indeed they do. Iisalmi has invested significantly in digital learning: each comprehensive school student is provided with a personal computer. Younger pupils carry iPads in their backpacks while older students have laptops.

This digital transformation in Iisalmi’s schools was made possible by the City of Iisalmi, with contribution from the Olvi Foundation and the A.E. Aminoff Fund.

But Iisalmi does not rely solely on computers. “Thanks to our excellent resources we are able to provide more tuition to students than other Finnish municipalities on average.” In Iisalmi, each student receives ten hours more tuition in comprehensive school every year than students in other Finnish towns on average. This amounts to six months of additional tuition during compulsory schooling.

However, it’s not quantity that counts, it’s quality. School buildings are being modernised, students have easy access to sports facilities such as the Kankaan liikuntapuisto sports park, not to mention the brand-new indoor swimming pool to be completed in 2022.

“This is a great place for a physical education teacher. Access to the local sports facilities ensures highly versatile PE lessons.”