Finland has been long applauded for its education system. Along with being ranked as the world’s happiest country, Finland also bags the award for the best education system around the globe. Whilst its counterparts focus on contributing to the rat race, Finland strives to foster a healthy learning environment that focuses on an impactful school journey while also aiming for mentally, physically and emotionally well-rounded students. Every school system around the world can learn a thing or two from the Finland education system.
In this article, we seek to explore what sets the Finland education system apart from its peers and what results in the overall development of the students enrolled in the school system in the country.
- Focusing on the basics: The Finland education system is among the few education systems in the world that strive to make the basics a priority. While other school systems around the world focus on these elements superficially, education providers take these very seriously to ensure the healthy development of students and what they take away from the entire system of the school. The elements are as follows –
- Easy access to healthcare
- Effective psychological counselling
- Instilling the belief that school is to erase social inequality
- Focus on individualised support
- Starting traditional schooling later: The Finland education system requires students to start school when they are seven years old. Unlike other education systems where students are thrust into school straight after their primary education, the Finns follow a loose structure till the age of seven when children don’t yet start with traditional schooling. This flexibility gives the children a chance to develop smoothly and without being restrained by the confines of traditional schooling during their formative years.
- School isn’t as gruelling: When we think of school, we think of waking early to a dreadfully long and tiring day crammed with long class hours and an even longer day at home filled with studying. Basically, it’s all work and no play. The Finns do it differently. Unlike early start days in the rest of the world, the students in Finland are required to come to school between 9:00 and 9:45 am. That is followed by a day with long class hours interspersed with even longer break times. Which is further followed by a school day that ends between 2:00 and 2:45 pm. The Finland school system understands that an early morning filled with a gruelling day ahead of students proves to be harmful not only in the long run but also in the short run. It proves to be detrimental to their mental health and physically drains them over the week making for unproductive school and study hours.
- Less homework: The Finland education system is rare in the fact that it urges students to leave school work for school and not take it back home with them. Schools around the world leave students coping with long hours of homework which takes away any time for rest, family and extracurriculars. While in Finland, students are allotted no more than a half hour’s worth of homework. Without the constant pressure on the study, study and more study, students in Finland are shown to outperform their peers in other countries plus, without any need for tutoring.
- No-No to competition: Ever think there’s something like healthy competition? The Finland education system does not think so and banishes any notion of any kind of competition at school. In Finland, the whole deal revolves around cooperation and not competition. Educators believe that competition not only drowns peers in unhealthy amounts of pressure but even deters them from working together and instead work against each other. Unsurprisingly, these values have placed students from the Finnish school system ahead of their counterparts from their fellow countries.
- Teachers have a great role to play: In Finland, teachers come to be regarded as a family after a certain point as students have the same teachers for around six years. This helps build a fantastic student-teacher connection and education providers can focus on individualised guidance. The Finland education system also requires a strict education and training system to be completed by teachers and other education providers before they can be enrolled in the education system. Teachers are also effectively taught a variety of teaching and learning styles which help deal with students with different learning styles.
- Options other than a traditional college degree: Many students find the whole experience of college worthless and are willing to pursue other professional options which can help them further their careers later on. This even proves to be a boon for people who are not able to afford a traditional college education and rather opt for traditional courses straight out of schooling in Finland. This is another point of the Finland education system.
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