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Topic: Finland's Unorthodox Education System - Best In The World
Replies: 1   Last Post: Nov 28, 2012 6:42 AM

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GS Chandy

Posts: 8,307
From: Hyderabad, Mumbai/Bangalore, India
Registered: 9/29/05
Re: Finland's Unorthodox Education System - Best In The World
Posted: Nov 28, 2012 12:18 AM
  Click to see the message monospaced in plain text Plain Text   Click to reply to this topic Reply

Thanks for posting that, Professor Becker - MOST useful for me here in India. I believe it could be useful for those genuinely interested in US education systems as well.

I have taken the liberty of pasting here below the captions of 26 of the 27 slides of that presentation - as I find that, read in order (and with an open mind), they make a pretty coherent argument. Below several of the slide captions, I've inserted my comments; many of these comments relate specifically to the Indian situation -
but most of them would, I believe, be relevant to the US situation as well.

1) Finnish children don't start school until they are 7.
In India, of late, some schools are accepting students as young as three. In the case of Montessori schools, this makes sense to send children to school at that age - but it is nonsense for most of the schools we have.

2) They rarely take exams or do homework until they are well into their teens.

3) The children are not measured at all for the first six years of their education.

4) There is only one mandatory standardized test in Finland, taken when children are 16.
I entirely approve of the Finnish situation as illustrated at 2,3,4!

5) All children, clever or not, are taught in the same classrooms
An excellent idea! After all, children have to learn to live in the real world, which is populated by people who are 'clever' and by people who are not clever also.

6) Finland spends around 30 percent less per student than the United States

7) 30 percent of children receive extra help during their first nine years of school
Excellent idea!

8) 66 percent of students go to college.

9) The difference between weakest and strongest students is the smallest in the World
I guess this is a natural outcome of the way the entire system is operated.

10) Science classes are capped at 16 students so that they may perform practical experiments in every class
Excellent idea!

11) 93 percent of Finns graduate from high school

12) 43 percent of Finnish high-school students go to vocational schools

13) Elementary school students get 75 minutes of recess a day in Finnish versus an average of 27 minutes in the US
Goes very well with my 'OPMS' thesis of "How Children Learn" - see attachment.

14) Teachers only spend 4 hours a day in the classroom, and take 2 hours a week for "professional development."
Excellent idea, in my opinion! Tells me that they take each class very seriously.

From what I've been reading here, I'd guess that this is a far cry from the situation in the USA. I know it is very different from the situation in India

15) Finland has the same amount of teachers as New York City, but far fewer students

16) The school system is 100% state funded
I totally approve of this.

17) All teachers in Finland must have a masters degree, which is fully subsidized
i.e., they take the profession of 'teaching' very seriously indeed.

18) The national curriculum is only broad guidelines

19) Teachers are selected from the top 10% of graduates
Excellent idea! I believe this is rather different from the US situation. I know this is very different from the Indian situation.

20) In 2010, 6,600 applicants vied for 660 primary school training slots

21) The average starting salary for a Finnish teacher was $29,000 in 2008 (Compared with $36,000 in the US)

22) However, high school teachers with 15 years of experience make 102 percent of what other college graduates make (In the US, this figure is 62%)

23) There is no merit pay for teachers

24) Teachers are given the same status as doctors and lawyers
Based on what I've read at Math-teach - where there is at least one group of people who wish to "PUT THE EDUCATION MAFIA IN JAIL!" and "BLOW UP THE SCHOOLS OF EDUCATION! - I believe the status of teachers in the USA is not at all like the above. I know this is not the case in India.

25) In an international standardized measurement in 2001, Finnish children came in at the top, or very close to the top, for science, reading and mathematics
No wonder!

26) And despite the differences between Finland and the US, it easily beats countries with a similar demographic
For sure!

The application of the 'OPMS approach' to the issue of 'developing an effective school educational system' would necessarily lead to much of the above. I attach herewith a PowerPoint presentation about the OPMS for reference. Also attached is a Word document "How Children Learn".

Reading between the lines, I believe the above confirms several of Paul A. Tanner's arguments and contentions (except the ones about the US having the best school education system in the world).


> *******************************
> From Business Insider, Tuesday, November 27, 2012.
> . See
> em-best-in-world-2012-11
> . Our thanks to Mike Martin for drawing out attention
> to this article.
> *******************************
> Why Finland's Unorthodox Education System Is The Best
> In The World
> By Adam Taylor
> A new global league table, produced by the Economist
> Intelligence
> Unit for Pearson, has found Finland to be the best
> education system
> in the world.
> The rankings combined international test results and
> data such as
> graduation rates between 2006 and 2010, the BBC
> reports.
> For Finland, this is no fluke. Since it implemented
> huge education
> reforms 40 years ago, the country's school system has
> consistently
> come in at the top for the international rankings for
> education
> systems. [See
> nd-an-intriguing-school-reform-model.html?src=me&ref=g
> eneral
> ]
> But how do they do it?
> It's simple - by going against the evaluation-driven,
> centralized
> model that much of the Western world uses.
> Click on
> tem-best-in-world-2012-11#finnish-children-dont-start-
> school-until-they-are-7-1
> to take a tour of one of the most successful
> education systems in the world .
> There are 27 slides with captions giving important
> information
> [Source: NYTimes]
> -----------------------------------------
> PHOTO SIDEBAR: flickr: wstryder
> ****************************************************
> --
> Jerry P. Becker
> Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction
> Southern Illinois University
> 625 Wham Drive
> Mail Code 4610
> Carbondale, IL 62901-4610
> Phone: (618) 453-4241 [O]
> (618) 457-8903 [H]
> Fax: (618) 453-4244
> E-mail:

Message was edited by: GS Chandy

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