The reforms to teacher training help explain the respect for teachers and teaching in Finland:
"The long march of teachers from despised and underprivileged civil servants to the core of the academic elite has been more glorious and successful in Finnish society than in most countries of the world" (Kivinen & Rinne, 1994, p. 521).
The example of primary school teachers illustrates this fact. Even as far back as 1890, primary school teachers wanted their training within universities, and not in seminaries (Simola, 2005). Before World War II, more primary school teachers had an upper-secondary education than their colleagues in any other country. After the founding of the Jyvaskyla College of Education in 1934, more universities developed faculties of education, eventually including the training of primary school teachers and raised the level of their training within the educational hierarchy. In the 1950s, the teachers' union insisted that primary school teachers have training at the same level of grammar school teachers, from a university (ibid.).
The educational reforms of the 1970s fully supported the training of primary school teachers at the university level. The comprehensive school reforms (1972-1977) and the teacher education reforms (1973-1979) had a sister reform, the General Syllabus and Degree Reform in Higher Education (1977-1980), which abolished the bachelor's degree and subsequently raised the level of primary school teacher education to the master's level in 1979 (Simola, 2005).