5 Reasons Why Finland Is A Global Education Leader

October 20, 2019 0 By Stanley Isaacs


Here in the United States, we love to brag about being number one Except when it comes to education that is Where we regularly rank around 37th in the world Frankly, many of us are lucky we can spell USA well enough to chant it in sporting events but you know what country does consistently rate among the best in the world in education? Finland. Apparently. That’s right. The small Nordic country best known for giving the world Nokia phones, angry birds and awful heavy metal music is actually a leader in world education not only does Finland have the highest high school graduation rate in Europe but on International tests, Finish students regularly rank near the top in Reading, Math and Science And the Finns do this without overloading kids with endless hours of homework or turning school into mindless drudgery Bueller. Bueller. Bueller. So why does Finland have the most ass-kicking educational system on earth Here are the 5 reasons that set Finland apart Reason number 1: No child gets left behind. Literally. Finland provides all families particularly low income families with a vast social safety net the Finish government sends a pitty box of supplies to every family with a newborn child and then from there on, childcare is heavily subsidised allowing most families to send their children to some form of early childhood education Finland’s public schools also concentrate on making sure that every student achieves basic proficiency in the subjects that they study whereas here in the US students and school districts are expected to compete against one another for limited resources, inevitably creating a system of winners and losers this difference in approach is one of the reasons why the achievement gap that exists between the rich and poor in American schools is smaller in Finland than anywhere else in the world Reason number two. They’re just like more chill man. Finnish children don’t even start school until they turn 7 and once they’re in school they get almost triple the amount of recess time as American students. They’re rarely assigned homework until High school and they almost never take standardise tests in fact, Finnish students are only required to take one standardise test and that’s not until the end of high school Reason Number three. Teachers are actually (get this) respected Becoming a teacher isn’t easy in Finland there are only 8 universities that offer the Masters programmes required to earn a teaching credential and only one in ten applicants get accepted so it’s no surprise that teachers in Finland receive roughly the same level of respect as doctors and lawyers plus, thanks to powerful unions, Finnish teachers only spent 4 hours a day in the classroom and take 2 hours a week for professional development they also don’t have to deal with merit pay which has been the cause behind many high profile cases here in the US where teachers and administrators cheating on standardise tests Reason number 4. They believe that less is more. and I’m rhyming now Finns believe that when it comes to education, patience, hands-on learning and focusing on problem-solving are more important than listening to lectures, mindless test preparations and memorization of information that students will probably forget as soon as they leave the exam room I know it’s a really crazy concept right? and then Finnish teachers don’t race through lessons to cram as much information as possible into students heads so that the students can then spit that information back out on a standardise test instead they give priority to moving slowly and taking as much time as necessary to thoroughly investigate fewer topics but in much greater depth Reason number five: They have fewer social ills Finland may not be the socialists paradise every Bernie Sanders voter dreams about but it’s pretty close almost everyone in Finland is middle class so income inequality is not nearly the problem there than it is in the US almost all Finnish kids come to school well fed, rested and ready to learn there are no metal detectors, no cops patroling the school hallways and certainly none of this Finland also has far fewer immigrant students which is kinda like Donald Trump’s dream I guess only one in forty students in Finnish schools has immigrant parents compare that number to the US public schools where that figure is one in five that means there are not nearly as many kids in Finland schools who are trying to learn math, science and history in a completely new language all well also trying to learn that new language itself so should we in the US just admit that the Finns know education better than we do and go ahead and abandon our system and adopt theirs? Of course not. That’s ridiculous For one thing where would we find enough teachers who speak Finnish? zing but what we should admit is that when it comes to education we just don’t have all the answers and if we do we’d probably cheated to get them There’s plenty of ways to learn from countries like Finland that do things very differently but have a proven track record of achieving better results we just have to be more open to what educational innovators are doing around the globe if we could only stop shouting ‘We’re number one” long enough to listen for a change