The alternative model: Public education in Finland.

By Sergio Torres

Every three years the Program for international student assessment ( PISA ) publish a report with the scores of science , reading and math skulls of about 5 thousand 15 year old children from the principal industrialized countries of the world. The purpose is to track their students performance in necessary areas  for participation in modern society.

The rankings from the 2009 showed for the forth time in a row, that children in Finland are doing a marvelous job. In the most recent Pisa they scored 1rst in almost every single area. Finland has grown to have one of the best education systems in the world. Now , they achieve this by implementing a radically different model than the one we use in the United States, which happened to be ranked 34th in the Pisa test even when its the 4th biggest spender in education in the world. In the following lines ill summarize a list of facts about the Finnish education that make it so special.

  1. Greater focus on the Pre -school, the goal is to let children know the importance of learning

  2. Smaller classrooms, about 16 to 20 children average per class

  3. Teachers must have a masters degree from a finish university

  4. Teachers design their own curses using a national curriculum as a guide

  5. Being a teacher is one of the best paid jobs and one of the most respected

  6. Only one of ten applicants will make it to be a teacher, but the job is so desirable that it has a high demand and many of the smartest students aim for it

  7. They don’t have standardized test, instead they measure how well kids are doing by sample test

  8. Children are not graded till 5th grade, it would be too stigmatizing to fail children during the first years.

  9. Moral and ethics are part of the curriculum.

  10. Less homework for students, they do about an hour of homework daily

  11. Free meals and free healthcare for students

  12. Children have about 75 minutes of recess every day and go to school for

  13. 9 of 25 teaching hours of school are dedicated to arts , craft works, music and sports

  14. Children with disabilities are placed in the same classroom as everyone else, teachers adjust to this

  15. Teachers follow closely the progress of the student to know what areas of its learning need reinforcement, less than 5 percent of children ever repeat an academic year

  16. Social support for children includes free meals and free healthcare

  1. Parents have total confidence on the teachers word, they understand that their kids are in good hands.

After reading many articles we could even sat that the education in Finland goes around two main factors: the mayor role of the teacher , and the support to the students learning. Standardized test have been proven to promote that children study just for the test instead of developing problem solving skills that will help them with the challenges of the new world. The system is adequate to the children necessities and conditions, longer brakes, less homework, and more complementary classes make sure that the human formation of the child is not left behind.

Many have suggested that we could even use Finland as a new role model to make a new education reform. The question many people have been asking for the last two years is how to implement parts of this model into the United States. We have to keep in mind that Finland is a much smaller, homogeneous society than ours. Some even state that because of this differences its impossible to apply this model in American soil. On the other hand, Norway has a society much like Finland but use an education system very similar to ours, and the results are not as satisfactory. The point here is that, the key to success is the successful implementation of policies rather than size and homogeneity.



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