The Amazing Finland Education System, and 5 Things We Can Learn From It

The Amazing Finland Education System, and 5 Things We Can Learn From It

Education is one crucial factor to develop the quality of people and we’re telling you, that Finland education system is amazing. Nelson Mandela once said that “education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. If that was the case, we are obliged to raise the potential of a country’s education to the highest level. Perhaps, Finland education system is close from perfection that we could learn something from it, that is what this article tries to aim for.

Finland Education System Overview

Finland education system is amazing all from the first grade to the Ph.D, even beyond. If you try to imagine what best education looks like, you might think about the stereotypical hard-working, note memorizing, ambitious Eastern Asian study and work ethics, but that’s not always the case. It’s even the opposite, it’s very relaxing for the students. Finland education system prioritize on the process rather than result.

Surprisingly, Finland education system didn’t always score perfect #1 in all PISA (OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment) rankings, but that does not always matter. Despite that fact, students in Finland have both a high reading proficiency as well as high life satisfaction. This is possible because Finland education system established a healthy balance between school life and free time, allowing students to engage more in various extra-curricular activities.

This balance even continues after they finish school, with a healthy work-life balance. The root of these success is in-depth research on education systems and it’s policies. Finland education system have been built together with education authorities, teachers, and city government together with the voice of parents, researchers, and business leaders, but of course the most important to prioritize at is the children who will receive the education.

Finland education system that highly prioritize the well-beings and interest of each student.

Image is taken from Shanghai Daily, Finland education system based on flexibility by Ma Yue December 30, 2014

In summary, the process of Finland education system starts from early childhood education and care and pre-primary education for 6-year-olds, for a year. Next, is nine-year basic education for children aged 7-16. Those were compulsory, from there we can continue to post-compulsory education consists of three-year general upper secondary education.

General upper secondary will lead us to matriculation examination and vocational education. Those two processes will help the students to find their desired expertise and prepare them for higher education, which is universities or universities of applied sciences. Now that we have explained the overview, it’s time to get to the point, the things we can learn from Finland education system.

(1). Pre-School Agenda

Formal educations is introduced to children as they reach 7 years old, and before that, children goes to pre-school. In pre-school They’re given free reign in the developing childhood years to not be chained to compulsory education. It is argued that kids below 7 should not be burdened by formal educations just yet, instead they give them a fun learning activities.

Pre-schools follow the national Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) curriculum that strongly believes in letting children be children, by focusing on play, health, and the overall wellbeing of the child. The first key in Finland education system, guide the children to their overall development and learning journey.

(2). Setting Priority Straight

So the children finally reached 7 years old, and they’re about to enter formal education, it is important set your priority straight before giving them education. In Finland education system, the priorities to be set here are a happy, harmonious, healthy student and learning environment. It’s not about making excellent grades, because it’s impossible if the environtment is bad to begin with.

The system does not look for artificial or arbitrary merit-based systems, there are no lists of top performing schools or teachers, which means there is no competition but cooperations instead. Learning should be personalized for each student by empowering their strengths to overcome their upcoming challenges. So basically, we should use the children’s interest to  decide what do we teach them, to brings out the potential of each children.

Each children has different learning style in which Finland education system throughly examined. To find out more about children’s learning style, you can read: 4 Student Learning Styles and Interesting Ways To Accommodate Them

(3). Zero Burden for the Student

So the priority is clear, it is the student’s interest in learning. In order to bring the most out of their interest, Finland education system tries not to burden students with heavy schoolwork, so they can explore their interest more. This is done by many ways, such as no standarized testing, minimum homework, short school hours, and a relaxed learning atmosphere.

The problem of setting standarized test as a proficiency measurements, is that students will only study hard just to past the test, while the teacher will only teach the students to pass the test, the main purpose of learning is being thrown at the door. The students are graded on an individualized basis and grading system set by their teacher. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education will track overall progress across different ranges of schools.

Finnish student has less homework, and yet they’re doing just fine. With less homework, students have more time to focus on learning something more important, growing up as a decent person. Also more time for them for an after-school play and hobbies and developing soft skills outside of the classroom, because back on the priority, the student’s interest. This contributes to the student’s level of life satisfaction.

Speaking of time, Students in Finland usually start school anywhere from 09:00 AM to 02:00 PM. The schedule is said to be important to keep the students well-being, health stable. The point is not to cram notes into students head, but to establish learning environtment. Environtment which is less stress, less unwanted work and more caring. The teacher receive the exact same treatment, so they can operate at the best of their abilities.

(4). Teachers with Integrity

Finland education system require only the best teacher, they treat teacher like doctor here. The teachers are highly trained through a mandatory master’s degree, and they’re given the freedom to plan their own teaching and resourcing. Their task here isn’t simply delivering study materials, they’re required to teach different kinds of learners.

Students in Finland often have the same teacher for up to six years of their education. This can actually be a good thing, mutual trust and bonding are built so that both parties know and respect each other, this is way better than having hundred teacher that knows nothing about the students.

(5). Education is Endless

Finland education system promotes lifelong learning, it means, no matter what age and stage of life you are in, you can always continue your education through this flexible system. It is full of options for the student who wished to continue their education. College or trade-school for working class, don’t worry because both can be equally professional and fulfilling for a career.

It is very easy to get enrolled too, as mentioned above, Upper Secondary School which is a three-year program prepares students for the Matriculation Test that determines their acceptance into a University. Or maybe Vocational Education, which is a three-year program that trains students for various careers.

Those points are what we think about Finland education system. Unusual compared to ours, but it works just fine, even become the best in the world. To learn more about the education system and process you can visit Finnish National Agency for Education web site.

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