Finland has always been ranked first in Mathematics, Reading and Science in the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) ranking of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.
Although Finland does not have a standardized test. The only nationally applied “exam” is the national entrance examination. In this exam, students are assessed and graded by teachers who have been following them for a long time. Even if students do not want this assessment, students can refuse completely.
In addition, Finnish education does not accept to punish students for mistakes or grades.
As for the homework of students in this country is very little, even none and often very interesting. For example, for a history lesson, students may be asked to ask their grandparents how life was different in the 1950s than it is today. Children are encouraged to rest and spend time with their families instead of doing homework.
No pressure for grades or homework, so why is Finnish education always admired by the world?
1. Lecturers must meet high standards
The standards for teachers in Finland are very high. All teachers must have a master’s degree to teach. To teach students in grades 1-6, teachers must have a master’s degree in education or higher. To teach students in grades 7-9, in addition to a degree in education, teachers must have a master’s degree in the discipline they teach.
The curricula are very demanding and it is not easy to enter the pedagogical schools. In 2014, only 9% of candidates who took the entrance examination for the Faculty of Teaching at the University of Helsinki were admitted.
If a teacher in a school is not up to standard or does a poor job, it is the responsibility of the principal to solve the problem.
2. Students are at the heart of education
In Finland, the Education Act of 1998 allows student ownership. This educational model puts the student at the center and gives the way to own and take responsibility for all his or her decisions. They can demand shorter school hours, less homework and more nutritious lunches…
Finnish classrooms allow students to choose their seat according to their preferences, express their views freely and are encouraged to play to their strengths.
3. Teacher and student “trusted”
Finnish schools usually have very few teachers and students. Each teacher usually teaches a group of students continuously for 6 years. During this time, teachers act as mentors, guides, and even family members. This trust and attachment helps teachers and students to understand and respect each other.
Every student’s needs and learning styles are different, and teachers who understand these things over the years will help them map out the right orientation for each student and create the conditions for them to achieve their goals.
4. School pressure is minimized
According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Finnish students start school from 9.45am and finish at 2.30pm with the least amount of work and homework in the world, not even none. Finnish students also have no tutors, but excel in knowledge and culture thanks to a low-stress education.
Students here only take a few classes a day. A school day has 5 lessons (for grades 1-2) and a maximum of 7 lessons for older classes. After studying every 45 minutes, the children have a 15-minute break to exercise, entertain or relax together.
Teachers also have time and space to relax, prepare for lessons or simply socialize with colleagues.
5. Students learn knowledge close to life
During swimming lessons, students learn how to spot a drowning person. Learning about home management equips children with cooking, knitting and sewing skills. Nature is also a content area of interest to educators.
It is important in Finnish education to prepare students with the knowledge to adapt to any situation.
With a highly autonomous education, schools in this country are required to develop at least one ‘multidisciplinary’ semester each, focusing on the phenomenon or subject that students are interested in.
Children participating in the above-mentioned semesters will be taught about the ability to study with many teachers at once, background knowledge, which helps to understand the essence of the problem discussed. This concept is also known as phenomenological learning. Teachers also assess students against interdisciplinary topics.
6. Prioritize the Basics
Schools in many countries are so preoccupied with numbers and understanding mathematics and other natural sciences that they forget what constitutes an appropriate, equitable learning environment that keeps students happy and healthy.
Since the 1980s, Finnish educators have focused on prioritizing the following core issues:
Education is a means of balancing social injustice.
-All students receive free meals at school.
-Easy access to medical services and healthcare
-Instructions, personal guidance, tailor-made for each student