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Finland's Education System

Autor:   •  January 25, 2016  •  Research Paper  •  931 Words (4 Pages)  •  474 Views

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Finland, a country roughly the size of California with a population of around 5.5 million people, leads the world with the highest amount of scientific researchers and engineers per capita (Figure 1). It places 5th in the world for innovation measured by patents per capita (for reference, the United States places first with a population of 392 million)(Figure 2). Finland also ranks third in the world for economic output (Figure 3). The abovementioned measures are used to form a Global Technology Index, a broad assessment of the world's best technologic and innovative countries, in which Finland takes 1st in the entire world. How is it that such a small European country can foster the world's top ranked laboratory for innovation and technology? A dive into one of Finland's biggest investments may yield the answer, education.

Figure 1 Figure 2

Figure 3

Prior to the 1960s, Finland supported a traditional German style tracked education system. The reform during that era focused on changing a two-track education system to a comprehensive common schooling for all students despite gender, ethnicity, or socio-economic standards. The two-track system allowed students the option to complete an additional eight years of school following grade four, or a civic system of 3-5 years of schooling followed by employment or vocational schooling. The common schooling was aimed at producing a better educated population while simultaneously improving the equality of educational opportunities.

It wasn't until the 1970s until equity was heavily stressed in the educational system in Finland. Typically, students entered and completed schools closest to their living situation, however students were free to choose which school like would like to attend. All schools maintained a similar learning style; a heterogeneous environment based heavily on trust and democracy. The school environment was loose and relaxed, and it gave students the majority of the power. 60% of all classroom time was given to students to engage in open debates with their instructors as well as each other. 40% of classroom time consisted of typical classroom lecture. It wasn't uncommon for teachers to frequently leave classrooms while students engaged in their individual or group based assignments.

Homework is very minimal and testing is almost nonexistent in this education system. Family background weighs much less heavily in students' academics as compared to American education. While curriculum is centered around common subjects such as mathematics, science, and reading literacy, it introduces less commonly taught subjects such as politics, which incorporates parliament, different ministers of government, and political figures. These

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