What makes Finnish education so special?

Finland is known for its beautiful and pure nature, thousands of lakes and a silent nation. You have probably also heard that Finnish people consume more coffee per capita than any other nation in the world! 

However, there is one thing that we are known for that we are extremely proud of: Our qualified education system. Finland has over the years garnered a lot of attention for its top-notch education. But what makes it so special? Why is it the best public education system in the world? 

Public schools and demand of equality 

The Finnish education system is based on public sector since 1970s. The simple idea is to guarantee an equal and qualified education for all Finnish children no matter where they live or what kind of socioeconomic statuses their families have. There are some private schools and schools founded by foundations but the number of these is very limited due to the government legislation. Education is free of charge for all of the students: from basic education until higher education and universities. Many social services are linked to the basic education as well. 

Teachers have a Masters’ degree and independency

All Finnish teachers have a higher education and it takes five to six years to get a master’s degree and become a teacher. The teaching profession has always been very respected in Finland and many people apply for teacher studies every year. Universities are able to choose the best candidates for the teacher training programs.  

The work itself is quite independent compared to many other countries. Teachers have a lot of responsibility, but at the same time, they are given a lot of freedom in executing the national core curriculum. There are no school inspectors in Finland. Teachers aren’t obligated to report to the headmasters or administrators -instead they usually have a lot of trust from the school management. This freedom gives the teachers an opportunity to be creative and innovative.

PISA results point out happiness but also high learning results

It seems that the equal and free education system for everybody is really working. Based on OECD and PISA results Finnish students have been succeeding remarkable well. It’s also notable that the high level of reading skills is connected with the happiness in life in general. Variation in learning results between schools and areas were the smallest in Finland of all the OECD countries. In Finland the students are supposed to go to the nearest school in their neighbourhood, the families are not allowed to choose the school.

According to the 2018 PISA results, Finnish students’ reading skills are the top of the world (together with Canada, Estonia, Ireland and South Korea). Finnish students came second when testing first time their economical skills in PISA. In natural sciences Finnish students were also top of the world together with Estonia and Japan. In math Finnish students have been succeeding better than average students in OECD countries. 

Sources in Finnish:

https://minedu.fi/pisa-2018

http://julkaisut.valtioneuvosto.fi/handle/10024/162220

Sources In English:

https://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/finland