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Finland Education System

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by

Alwyn Zhang

on 8 August 2013

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Transcript of Finland Education System

There are no magic bullets
Respect/value teachers
Culture can be changed
Parents neither hindrances nor saviors of education
Educate for the future, not just the present

Finland Education System
Republic of Finland
Located in the northern Europe
Estimated of 5.4 million population
8th Largest Country in Europe
Joined UN in 1955
OECD in 1969
EU in 1995
Built extensively on Nordic Model
Welfare State

The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA)
Worldwide study by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
Bringing 34 countries together with the aim of developing better education policies
Measuring from 15 year old (4500 to 10000) around the world readiness for society
2 Hours test for Reading, Mathematics and Science
Started in 2000 and repeated every 3 years with a main focus on each topic per year for eg. 2000 (Reading), 2003 (Mathematics), 2006 (Science) and 2009 (Reading)…
The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA)
Pearson Top 40 Developed Countries with the best education system
Largest education company and the largest book publisher in the world.
The rankings combine international test results and data such as graduation rates between 2006 and 2010.
Calculated based on various measures, including international test scores, graduation rates between 2006 and 2010, and the prevalence of higher education seekers.
6.8% of GDP as of 2012 (Finland)
5.4% of GDP as of 2012 (USA)
4.8% GDP as of 2012 (South Korea)
3.5% of GDP as of 2012 (Singapore)
Background of Major Education Policy Reforms
After World War 2
Human Capital, Investment in people is the best investment
Improving education would have a positive influence on the country’s economic growth
Transformed itself in a short period from resource-intensive economy into knowledge-based
1968, The School System Act
Single compulsory Comprehensive School (Peruskoulu)
Same school for the first nine years (7-15 y/o) of education
Instruction, books, a daily hot meal, transportation, easy access to healthcare, psychological counseling and lodging was free
1979, Law on Teacher Education
Abolished all forms of teacher education, move teacher education to universities
All teachers to have a university Masters’ degree
Teachers in Comprehensive schools functioned as class teachers not subject specialists
1980s Abolishment of Standardized Tests
No more test-based accountability
Tracking of pupils abolished 1985
1990s Flexibility and Decentralization of National Curriculum
Teachers given prestige, decent pay and a lot of responsibility
National Board of Education gave very broad aims and contents for teaching
Schools set up their own curricula
Teachers responsible for choice of textbooks and determining course content etc.
Upper Secondary Reforms
1974 Policy Decision were as follows:
1. Vocational education will be developed into a competitive educational path leading to higher education. However, workforce requirements come first.
2. Young people who have graduated from comprehensive school shall have equal competency for both general and vocational upper-secondary education.
3. If the comprehensive school does not provide sufficient general competency for college-level vocational education, the problem will be solved by elevating the comprehensive school’s educational level and performance.
4. Upper-secondary vocational education will be organized according to broad basic lines that after a general introduction will differentiate into specific vocations and professions, each with different skills and training levels.
5. Upper general secondary school will provide a three-year general education. After devoting their initial year to general studies, students may choose to continue in general (academic) or vocational education.
6. In all university faculties as well as in all institutions having the Matriculation Examination as their entrance requirement, quotas shall be reserved for graduates from college-level vocational education.
7. Education in vocational education institutions and universities shall be developed so that students advancing via vocational and general paths will be able to earn their university degree at about the same age.
In 1975, Enlargement of Vocational Education in Developing Regions Act. Increased subsidies and added benefits for the students. Set targets for increasing capacity.


Education Investment
Teachers are highly qualified and respected
Teachers in Finland are highly respected and appreciated, and they are effectively given the same status as doctors and Lawyers.
Symbolizes knowledge, and emphasizes the teachers’ importance in the future of next generation.

Teachers are highly qualified and respected
All the teachers in Finland must have a master degree.
3 years of bachelor degree, 2 years of master degree taken in 1 of the 8 universities in teachers education.
Top 10% of the graduates will be teachers.

Regional development and networking
Full unionized teachers network
Multi-level, professional learning communities of sharing locally tested practices and enriching ideas


Intelligent accountability with trust-based professionalism
Teachers and schools are trusted for their professionalism and have full autonomy
National syllabus is only for broad guideline
Teachers have full liberty to design their own teaching method and how the students are evaluated

Focus is on individuals
Teachers focus on individuals rather than progress of whole cohort
Concentrate on weaker students rather than pushing gifted students ahead
Bright students are expected to help the average ones
Why Finland’s education system would not work with other countries?
Ctrl + Copy - Social Reforms
Differences in culture, environment
Created a culture of diversity, trust and respect within Finnish society
Policy Reforms - Current
To accommodate increasing children of immigrants
Continuity of teaching as a coveted profession
Upper secondary divide between academic and vocational education

Why Finland’s education system would not work with other countries?
Extensive coursework on how to teach—with a strong emphasis on using research based practices
Learn the art of communicating effectively so that their audience understands the content
World vs. Finland
Key Pointers
High Participation
Control over Social inequality
Good learning at a reasonable cost
Summary (Success)
A system involving more than education
Support for children with special needs
Significant responsibility for teachers and students
Exceptional teacher quality

Summary
How to remain successful
Grading is not everything in Finland
Children are not measured at all before 6th grade.
1st major exam is the matriculation exam at age of 16-19.
Students mostly assessed and given descriptive feedback.
No dividing system for good and bad students.
Full transcript