School Guide

15 Amazing Facts About Finland's Education System

Published by SchoolAdvisor on Dec 02, 2016, 12:08 PM

Everyone has been talking about Finland's education system. Its unorthodox education system is deemed to be one of the best in world simply by going against the evaluation-driven, centralised model that many countries use.

Here's 15 facts you probably didn't know about the Finnish education system.

1. Children don't start school until they are 7 years old.

2. Unlike other systems, Finnish students only have to sit for a centralised exam at the age of 16.

2Q==There are few, if any mandatory tests in Finland until a single exam at the end of high school. There's also little homework!

3. All children, regardless of capability, are taught in one classroom.

Image result for children in classroomTo ensure that children with learning or behaviour disabilities that are struggling don't fall behind, schools hire teaching aids who undergo an extra year of education to supplement teacher's efforts.

4. Children in Finland are not measured at all during the first six years of their education.

Image result for children playing

5. 66% of students go to college.

Image result for college studentThe highest in Europe, to date.

6. 93% of Finns graduate high school.

Image result for school graduation

7. 43% attend vocational school.

Related imageAt the age of 16, students can decide if they want to attend the Finnish equivalent of high school to prepare them for university or enter vocational training.

8. Students learn more languages in school.

Image result for learn more languagesFinnish language education begins on the first day of school. By age nine, students begin Swedish (Finland's second official language) and at 11, they start learning a third language, usually English. Many students even take on a fourth language around the age of 13. Students are tested on their first two languages in a matriculation exam for university placement.

9. Elementary school students get 75 minutes of recess a day in Finland versus an average of 27 minutes in the US.

Image result for students playingThey also receive a 15-minute break after every lesson. Outdoor physical activity is highly-encouraged and some lessons are taught outside.

10. Teachers only spend 4 hours a day in the classroom and take 2 hours a week for professional development.

Image result for teachers studyingTeachers spend at least two hours on building curriculum and assessing student progress. With fewer teaching hours, students are not overwhelmed with class, and teachers are not struggling to prepare.

11. All teachers in Finland must have a master's degree, which is fully subsidised.

Image result for teachers graduatingYou need more than a bachelor's degree and a teaching certificate to teach in Finland.

12. The national curriculum is only a broad guideline. Teachers have a freedom of deciding the best educational methods for their students.

Image result for teachers teaching childrenTeachers are given guidelines for what they have to teach, but they are not given prescriptions for how to teach it. This allows the highly trained teachers to develop a curriculum geared towards teaching their unique group of students.

13. Teachers are selected from the top 10% of graduates.

Image result for teachers top 10% graduates

14. Teachers are effectively given the same status as doctors and lawyers.

15. Teachers stick with students.

Image result for teachers and studentsIn most countries (Malaysia included), students get a new teacher every year. In Finland, a teacher likely sticks with the same group of students for five years. This gives teachers the opportunity to form relationships with their students and also to better know students as learners.  

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