Finland has consistently remained at the top of international rankings of schooling systems for the past several years.
There is a lot to learn from the country’s education system and get inspired to alter some rudimental practices. The reason Finland is having one of the best education system is that for them school is the center of the community.
Find out from the pointers below how and why Finland has managed to stay on top of the world’s best education system consistently!
1. Free Access to Education for All
Finland makes sure that education reaches to all irrespective of the background and so to make it happen the education services are free to all. Higher education may require student to pay nominal fee and in some cases even aid can be awarded.
In Finland education is free at all levels from pre-primary to higher education. In preprimary and basic education the textbooks, daily meal and transportation for students living further away from the school are free for the parents. At secondary level and in higher education the students themselves or their parents purchase their own books. At secondary level the students have the right to a free meal and in higher education meals are subsidized by the state. Adult education is the only form of education that may require payment. To ensure the opportunities to study for everyone there is a well-developed system of study grants and loans. Financial aid can be awarded for full-time study in an upper secondary school, vocational institution or institution of higher education.
2. Special needs education is generally provided in conjunction with mainstream education
The ideology is to provide special needs education primarily in mainstream education. If a pupil cannot be taught in a regular teaching group, he or she must be admitted to special needs education. This education is provided at regular schools wherever possible. All pupils of compulsory school age have the right to general support, that is, high-quality education as well as guidance and support. Intensified support must be given to those pupils who need regular support measures or several forms of support at the same time. The aim is to prevent existing problems from becoming more serious or expansive. If children cannot adequately cope with mainstream education in spite of general or intensified form of support, they must be given special support. The main purpose of special support is to provide pupils with broadly based and systematic help so that they can complete compulsory education and be eligible for upper secondary education. Special needs support is also provided in upper secondary education. In vocational education and training, students in need of special needs education are provided with an individual education plan. This plan must for example set out details of the qualification to be completed, the requirements observed and support measures provided for the student.
3. Educational Standards
All teachers in Finland need to hold a master’s degree. There are rigorous standards in place for teacher certification and at the same time they are provided with high pay scales and attractive working conditions. Because of the extent of a teacher’s training and preparation, they are given a lot of freedom in how they organize their class. Much autonomy is given to schools in terms of deciding the curriculum, with a national curriculum acting as a guide rather than a mandatory rulebook to be followed verbatim. Only the top 10% of graduates are eligible to become teachers.
Also, teachers are given a free hand in deciding how they wish to teach a particular topic Teachers command the same status as doctors and lawyers. The teachers in Finland also go through some of the best education in the world. Schools are allowed to choose their own books, textbooks, and curriculum materials.
4. Life Long Learning Focused Which extends Outside the 4 Walls
Childhood independence is a hallmark of the Finnish system. Children are provided with flexible learning environment wherein they feel safe and enjoy learning. Finnish schools allocate 75 minutes even for minor aspects like recess to allow children to relax and rejuvenate.
Schools do not give homework to students as they feel that classwork is sufficient
Children in Classes 1-9 are exposed to art, music, cooking, carpentry, metalwork, and textiles, with a view to develop their collaborative skills and respect for people who are in these vocations. Finland has short school days and fills the rest of the day with school-sponsored educational activities. They believe that there is a good portion of learning to be done outside the classroom.
5. Exceptional Outcomes:
Vocational education is highly valued, with around 40% of students attending vocational schools. The difference between the weakest and the brightest student in Finland is the narrowest in the world. Over 90% of students graduate from school, and almost 70% of students attend college (as against ~30% in India) Schools collaborate, instead of competing, to improve the overall efficiency of the education system.
6. School provides not just educational services, but social services as well.
For them, Education is about creating identity.
Finnish culture values intrinsic motivation and the pursuit of personal interest. It has a relatively short school day rich with school-sponsored extracurricular, because culturally, Finns believe important learning happens outside of the classroom. It’s a low-stress culture, and it values a wide variety of learning experiences. Teachers in Finland teach 600 hours a year, spending the rest of time in professional development, meeting with colleagues, students and families. Just like South Koreans, Finns are instilled with a deep respect for teachers and their academic accomplishments.
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