The success of Finnish schools

Smithsonian has a very interesting article about the educational system in Finland. Its schools are at the top of the world. Setting up a good educational system is not easy, it has to combine pedagogy, financing and politics. Nonetheless, the Finnish have done some great things that seem to work. They give the teachers the trust to do whatever it takes to turn young lives around. I personally believe that freedom fosters responsibility and creativity. Moreover, all teachers have a university degree. This is combined this with simple guidelines and no obsession with tests. From the article:

There are no mandated standardized tests in Finland, apart from one exam at the end of students’ senior year in high school.

There are no rankings, no comparisons or competition between students, schools or regions.

Finland’s schools are publicly funded. The people in the government agencies running them, from national officials to local authorities, are educators, not business people, military leaders or career politicians.

Every school has the same national goals and draws from the same pool of university-trained educators. The result is that a Finnish child has a good shot at getting the same quality education no matter whether he or she lives in a rural village or a university town.

The differences between weakest and strongest students are the smallest in the world, according to the most recent survey by the OECD. “Equality is the most important word in Finnish education. All political parties on the right and left agree on this,” said Olli Luukkainen, president of Finland’s powerful teachers union.

Read the full article