Ten reasons why Finland’s education system is the best in the world
Finland is a country rich in intellectual and educational reform that initiated over the years a number of simple changes that have completely revolutionized their educational system. They outrank the United States and are gaining on Eastern Asian countries.
? What are the reasons behind this revolution
GES administration contacted different schools in Finland and asked about their education systems and the reasons behind their development.
Here are 10 reasons why Finland’s education system is dominating America and the world stage.
- No standardized testing
Finland has no standardized tests. Their only exception is something called the National Matriculation Exam, which is a voluntary test for students at the end of an upper-secondary school (equivalent to an American high school.) All children throughout Finland are graded on an individualized basis and a grading system set by their teacher. Tracking overall progress is done by the Ministry of Education, which samples groups across different ranges of schools.
- Accountability for teachers (not required)
There is often no reason to have a rigorous “grading” system for teachers. All teachers are required to have a master’s degree before entering the profession. Teaching programs are the most rigorous and selective professional schools in the entire country. If a teacher isn’t performing well, it’s the individual principal’s responsibility to do something about it.
- Cooperation not competition
Finland’s educational system doesn’t worry about artificial or arbitrary merit-based systems. There are no lists of top-performing schools or teachers. It’s not an environment of competition – instead, cooperation is the norm.
- Make the basics a priority
Many school systems are so concerned with increasing test scores and comprehension in math and science, they tend to forget what constitutes a happy, harmonious, and healthy student and learning environment. Many years ago, the Finnish school system was in need of some serious reforms. The program that Finland put together focused on returning back to the basics. It wasn’t about dominating with excellent marks or upping the ante. Instead, they looked to make the school environment a more equitable place. These basics have put a priority:
- Education should be an instrument to balance out social inequality.
- All students receive free school meals.
- Ease of access to health care.
- Psychological counseling
- Individualized guidance
- Starting school at an older age
Students start school when they are seven years old. It’s simply just a way to let a kid be a kid. There are only 9 years of compulsory school that Finnish children are required to attend. Everything past the ninth grade or at the age of 16 is optional. Just from a psychological standpoint, this is a freeing idea. Although it may anecdotal, many students really feel like they’re stuck in a prison. Finland alleviates this forced ideal and instead opts to prepare its children for the real world.
- Providing professional options past a traditional college degree
In Finland, there is the Upper Secondary School which is a three-year program that prepares students for the Matriculation Test that determines their acceptance into a University. This is usually based on specialties they’ve acquired during their time in “high school”. Next, there is vocational education, which is a three-year program that trains students for various careers. They have the option to take the Matriculation test if they want to then apply to University.
- Finns wake up later for less strenuous schooldays
Students in Finland usually start school anywhere from 9:00 – 9:45 AM. Research has shown that early start times are detrimental to students’ well-being, health, and maturation. Finnish schools start the day later and usually end by 2:00 – 2:45 AM. They have longer class periods and much longer breaks in between. The overall system isn’t there to ram and cram information to their students, but to create an environment of holistic learning.
- Consistent instruction from the same teachers
There are fewer teachers and students in Finnish schools. You can’t expect to teach an auditorium of invisible faces and breakthroughs to them on an individual level. Students in Finland often have the same teacher for up to six years of their education. During this time, the teacher can take on the role of a mentor or even a family member. During those years, mutual trust and bonding are built so that both parties know and respect each other. Different needs and learning styles vary on an individual basis. Finnish teachers can account for this because they’ve figured out the student’s own idiosyncratic needs. They can accurately chart and care for their progress and help them reach their goals. There is no passing along to the next teacher because there isn’t one.
- A more relaxed atmosphere
There is a general trend in what Finland is doing with its schools; less stress, less unneeded regimentation, and more caring. Students usually only have a couple of classes a day. They have several times to eat their food, enjoy recreational activities, and generally just relax. Spread throughout the day are 15 to 20-minute intervals, the kids can get up and stretch, grab some fresh air and decompress.
This type of environment is also needed by the teachers. Teacher rooms are set up all over Finnish schools, where they can lounge about and relax, prepare for the day or just simply socialize. Teachers are people too and need to be functional so they can operate at the best of their abilities.
- Less homework and outside work required
Students in Finland have the least amount of outside work and homework than any other student in the world. They spend only half an hour a night working on stuff from school. Finnish students also don’t have tutors. Yet they’re outperforming cultures that have toxic school-to-life balances without the unneeded or unnecessary stress.
Finnish students are getting everything they need to get done in school without the added pressures that come with excelling at a subject. Without having to worry about grades and busy work they are able to focus on the true task at hand – learning and growing as human beings