Finland: A miracle of education?

One of the characteristics of the Finnish education system has been to provide equal opportunities for all. However, according to the latest PISA results, the socio-economic status of the students seems to also be playing a role in Finland.

“Finland is an example of a country that has not followed many of the global education reform principles. There is no standardized tests or school inspections but the education system leans on “intelligent” accountability. This means that while there are national quality standards for learning and teaching in the form of national core curriculum and laws and regulations, there are no rankings of the schools based on test results. However, self-evaluation of schools and education providers exists and are regularly applied.

The Finnish education policy values more quality and less control and competition. Schools, teachers and local authorities are trusted and there is a political consensus about the commonly agreed goals of education.

The equity of learning results has been high in Finland compared to other countries

The differences between Finnish schools remain negligible. One of the characteristics of the Finnish education system has been to provide equal opportunities for all. However, according to the latest PISA results, the socio-economic status of the students seems to be playing a role also in Finland.

Students from low socio-economic households have increased particularly due to unemployment. In addition, less students read for fun during their free time which correlates with the lower student performance observed in the latest PISA results.

A key aspect of the Finnish education system: a flexible special education that ensures inclusion and equity in education

In Finland, addressing and responding in the schools to the diverse needs of learners is usually done in such a way that other students don’t know what kind of support and at what level each student might be receiving.

Finnish teachers differentiate their teaching to respond to the learning needs of each student. Elementary school teachers are not alone but supported by other specialists (e.g. special education teachers, psychologists, and the school leadership team) in deciding what kind of support a student might require. This is also discussed and agreed with the student’s parents.

Read more: http://blogs.worldbank.org/education/finland-miracle-education”

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