The high scores in mathematics of Finnish young people in the latest OECD study on student achievement came as a surprise to the experts themselves. Of all areas surveyed, only students in Hong Kong did slightly better in maths than the Finns. Finnish youngsters also did well in other areas. Professor Välijärvi said that it is significant that Finland appears to be challenging Japan and other Asian countries, which have traditionally done very well in mathematics. Välijärvi attributes the high scores of the Finns partly to the professional skill of Finnish teachers, and partly to the LUMA programme of the 1990s, which was aimed at improving proficiency in maths and the natural sciences.