7 principles of Finnish education

Saunalahti school

“Either we preparthem for life, or for the exams. We choose the first. “

Natalia Kireeva lives in Helsinki. She recently spoke about the system and the principles of local education and shared her opinion why the Finnish education is considered to be one of the best in the world. 

According to international studies, that are held  once in 3 years by an authoritative Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Finnish scoolchildren have shown the world’s highest level of knowledge. Incredible, with such high results they spend minimum time on studying.
General compulsory education in Finland includes two stages:
– Lower (alakoulu), 1 to Grade 6;
– Upper (yläkoulu), from 7 to 9 grade.
In the additional 10-th year of study students can improve their scores. Then the children go to a college or continue their studies at a lyceum (lukio).

7 principles of the medium level of the Finnish education:

1. Equality

Of schools
There are no elite schools. In the country’s largest school there are 960 students. In the smallest one – 11. Each school has absolutely the same equipment, features and proportional financing. Almost all schools are public, there are some public-private. The difference between them, except that the parents make a partial payment, – is the high requirements for students. In the private institutions they teach  children in English, German, French.
Following the principle of equality, in Finland there is a parallel system of education “from kindergartens to universities” in Swedish.

Of all subjects
Intensive studying of certain subjects is not welcome. It is not believed that mathematics is more important than, for example, art. On the contrary, the only exception to create classes with gifted children may be the propensity for drawing, music and sports.

The teacher will know the parents’ profession (social status) if necessary. Questions or  questionnaires relating to the place of work of parents are prohibited.

Finns do not sort children into classes according to ability or career preferences.
Also, there are no “bad” and “good” pupils. Comparison of pupils with others is prohibited. The difference between weak and able students is the smallest in the world.

There are no “favorite” or “hateful ” teachers. There are no teacher’s pets and vice versa in the class.  Any deviation from the harmony leads to the termination of the contract with the teacher. Finnish teachers should just do their job of a mentor. All of them are equally important in the workplace.

2. No payment

In addition to the study also are free :

  • dinners;
  • excursions, museums and all extra-curricular activities;
  • transport, which picks up and returns the child, if the nearest school is located in two kilometers’ distanse;
  • textbooks, all stationery, calculators and even laptops, tablets.

3. Individuality

For each child an individual plan of training is developed.
In the same class children perform exercises of different levels of complexity. And they will be judged according to the personal level.
In Finnish schools, along with the usual sddudy there are two unique species of the educational process:
Supportive education for “weak” students. In Finland school teachers volunteered to cope with the additional help during the lesson or after it.
Correctional Training is conducted in small groups or individually.

4. Practicality

Finns say: “Either we prepare children  for life, or  for the exams. We choose the first. ” Therefore examinations in Finnish schools don’t exist. There is only one mandatory standard test at the end of secondary school.
They teach in the school only what you may need in life. The local kids from childhood know what is the portfolio, contract, credit card. Know how to calculate the percentage of the tax on inheritance or income earned in the future, to create online business card on the Internet, to calculate the price of the goods after several discounts or draw “compass rose” on an area.

5. Trust

Firstly,for school staff and teachers: no checks and methodists teaching how to teach, and so on. Education program in the country is common.
Secondly, the credibility of the children in the classroom:  you can do something on your own. For example, if the lesson of literature includes an educational film, but the pupil is not interested in it, he can read a book. It is believed that the pupilchooses what is for him.

6. Voluntary

Only those study, who wants to learn. Teachers try to attract the attention of the pupils, but if they absolutely have no interest or ability to learn, teachers orient the children on a practically useful “simple” profession in the future andnot bomb with bad marks. Not all have to build planes, someone has to drive buses well.

In general, the learning process in the Finnish school is soft and delicate, but it does not mean that you can give up studying. School regime control  is required. All skipped lessons will be recuperated. For example, a 6-th grade pupil can listen a skipped lesson together with 2-nd grade pupils .
Staying for the second year in Finland is not a shame, especially after the 9th grade.

7. Independence

The Finns believe that schools should teach a child to get ready for an independent future successful life. Therefore, here are taught to think and acquire knowledge on their own. The teacher does not teaches new material –  everything is in the books. It’s important not to learn a formula by heart, but to be able to use a guide, vocabulary, Internet, calculator – to engage the necessary resources to resolve the problems.

Also, school teachers do not intervene in conflicts of students, enabling them to prepare for real-life situations and develop the ability to fully stand up for themselves.

The educational process in “identical” Finnish schools, however, is organized very differently.

Here is the Finnish secondary education in brief. Maybe someone will believe it to be wrong. Finns  are constantly exploring how their school system corresponds to the changes taking place in society.
However, the most important thing Finnish school definitely do. Their children do not scream at night from nervous overstrain, they do not dream to quickly grow up, do not hate school, do not hate thenselves and the family, preparing for the next exams. they are calm, reasonable and happy. They read books, watch movies easily without translation into Finnish, play computer games, ride on bikes, compose music, play and sing. They enjoy life. And besides all this they have time to also study.