25 amazing lessons about Finland’s education system
Highlights of one of the best education systems in the world
Since the OECD launched its international study to evaluate education systems worldwide, PISA, and started publishing the PISA report in 2000, Finland has maintained the top spot among European countries due to the country’s excellent education standards.
How has it managed to score this high? For the following 25 reasons:
- Being a school teacher is one of the most prestigious professions in Finland.
- A three-year undergraduate degree plus a two-year Master’s degree are required to become a teacher.
- Only 10% of applicants get admitted to the teaching programs.
- The minimum high school grade required to enter a teaching training programme is over 9 on a 10-point-scale, and a final test must be passed.
- A great deal of social awareness is also required.
- Because of their high-level preparation, teachers are consulted about all sorts of matters.
2. The teaching method
- Children start receiving education at the age of seven, when they reach intellectual maturity.
- The first 2 years of school, students attend a school four to five hours a day and have little homework.
- Until the sixth grade, children usually have the same teacher for most subjects.
- The numerical grading system is not used until the fifth grade to discourage competition or comparisons.
- The relationship with the teacher is very close, since each class is limited to 20 students.
- Priority is given to exploring, creativity and experimentation, rather than to learning by heart.
- The aim is not to transmit information but to teach critical thinking.
- Teachers work in groups, seeking the participation and feedback from their students.
- Teachers are evaluated and given feedback by their more experienced colleagues.
3. Education centres
- Each school is free to design its own curriculum.
- Educational planning is agreed among teachers and students.
- Work is integrated in all levels of the education system (primary, secondary and higher education levels).
4. Education culture
- In Finland, 80% of families visit a library at weekends.
- Finns value discipline and effort as part of the Lutheran culture.
- Parents believe they, rather than the school, are responsible for the education of their children.
5. Education policy
- Education expenditure in Finland amounted up to 6.8% of GDP in 2009 (compared to 5,3% in the United Kingdom).
- Compulsory education is free of charge, including classroom material and school transport.
- The stability in the Finnish education system can be explained by the political consensus in the country.
- The social system provides numerous benefits aimed at achieving a satisfactory work-family balance.
This is a nonprofit explanation