Finnish Education System

With everyone talking about tuition and how we are over pressurising our kids, I read with great interest about the Finnish Education System on last Saturday’s Straits Times. How does Singapore schools and the Singapore education system compare to the education system found in Northern Europe? Are Finnish schools better than SIngapore schools?

Finland is a nation of 5.5 million people (Similar to Singapore’s population), but scores top in a well respected International test in Maths, Science and Reading, ahead of Singapore and other developed countries. Compared with the stereotype of the East Asian model — long hours of exhaustive cramming and rote memorization — Finland’s success is especially intriguing because Finnish schools assign less homework and engage children in more creative play. It is now an object of fascination among educators internationally.



Here are some 5 interesting facts about the Education System in Finland:

1. Teachers in Primary and Secondary Schools have a minimum Masters Degree. They are now in the midst of proposing that the same standards apply to preschools.

2. Children do not have to take a PSLE or any life determining exam at the age of 12. The only segregation is allowed at age 16 and this is the FIRST test that they take.

– This is like fantastic news for any kid. I remember the late nights that I spent learning my English and Chinese spelling…

3. Only the Top 10% of graduates become Educators.

– Imagine every top student from our system wanting to be a teacher. This is reality in Finland!

4. Recess time for kids in Primary school is 75 minutes!

Makes our 20mins, to half an hour recess time look pathetic,

5. Difference between the weakest and the strongest students is the smallest in the World

It is also interesting to note that all this happened, as they made changes to their system some 30 years ago. The previous system was characterized by tests and meticulous tracking and these are the fruits of change.

Is this the education system that we should be working towards? I wonder if such an education system can be implemented in the Singaporean environment.

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