Traditionally, the education systems of North Eastern European countries have been considered among the best in the world. More precisely, the Finnish education system is, among the nations of Europe, what stands out from the rest to be the one who scores best in evaluation reports such as the Pisa report, based on their progress.
Below we describe the main features that distinguish the education system in this country. Each of these qualities has contributed to the resounding success of their education system and placed it as a benchmark for many other government apparatuses.
What defines the Finnish education system?
The Finnish education system consists, as in most countries, of a series of school stages which consist of pre-school education, a basic education which would be equivalent to our primary and secondary education; higher education, characterized by more technical training and higher education developed at the university.
If we only take this structure into account, we can see that it does not differ much from other education systems, including Spanish. However, its way of perceiving both the right to education and its conception of students and teachers are the main drivers of its success.
For Finnish society, education is the basis and the future of the country’s development; therefore a good education will ensure good future professionals. This concept allows all children to have access to quality public education in which there are no school fees and in which transport and food are fully subsidized.
One of the main goals of the Finnish education system is to give all children equal opportunities when it comes to receiving an excellent public education. In this way, the learning process is emphasized more than carrying out specific examinations or tests.
The way in which the Nordic country designs education and guarantees equal rights and conditions for all children is achieved through public funding of a comprehensive education system that is committed to excellence in both students and teachers.
The 14 keys to the Finnish education system
Here are the main keys that distinguish the Finnish education system, which can also help us to reflect on our traditional conception of education and other current education systems.
1. Free and accessible education
Although this first point is similar to our education system, there are big differences. In Finland, education between 7 and 16 years old is compulsory and free, With the difference that it must be taught out of necessity in public schools.
In addition, school supplies, books and food are fully funded by the state, as well as transportation in the event that the child lives more than 8 km from the school.
2. Equitable distribution of the education budget
This means that the funds intended to finance the education system are equally distributed among the study centers.
It should be clarified that an equitable distribution is different from an equal distribution in which all centers receive the same. In the case of the Finnish system, there is a grant base for all centersBut the amount finally allocated to each can vary according to the needs of this one, thus seeking to assimilate all the schools to offer equal conditions.
3. Rigorous selection of professionals
In addition to the requirement of the skills of an education professional, future teachers must complete a three-year internship period. Likewise, those who opt for a specialization in a specific subject or subject must have a master’s degree and study pedagogy.
Once you have acquired the knowledge and skills expected of them, they must go through a series of very rigorous selection processes in which, in addition to these competences, their conception of education and what the education system should be like will also be taken into account.
4. Maximum respect for teaching staff
Due to the rigor in their training and selection, teachers are professionals who enjoy great prestige and authority both in the school environment and in society in general, so that they are very respected by all its members.
5. Constant training
Teachers are considered the main element of education, so training them is essential. For this reason, teaching staff must provide continuous and additional training throughout their career, to help them retrain their knowledge and adapt to new educational trends.
6. Adequate student ratio
Unlike our country, the Finnish education system does not allow a ratio of more than 20 pupils per class, although it can sometimes reach 25. In addition, the figure of the teaching assistant is extremely important, Already offers support to the school head regardless of the number of students in the class.
7. Preparation of lessons during the working day
Another major difference is that not every teacher teaches so many hours, Allocate the remaining hours of the day to organize the topic, as well as to research and work with other educators.
8. Independence to organize the school program
Although the school curriculum has a common framework and a number of pre-established global lines; each of the educational centers, together with the teaching staff, is responsible for the design and organization of this program, with the aim of achieving the established results in the way they deem best.
9. Freedom of choice for students
Motivation and student autonomy are encouraged, Offering a progressive freedom of choice with regard to certain subjects of study from primary education. In this way, he also seeks to strengthen their sense of responsibility.
10. An education adapted to the needs of the student
The Finnish education system is characterized by effective detection of students with special educational needs, Which begins in the early years of non-compulsory education. These students are then supported and followed and these difficulties should increase.
In addition, standardized tests are avoided and the learning pace of each student is taken into account. Finally, the same teacher is in charge of the same group of pupils from 7 to 12 years old, ensuring a perfect adaptation and a great knowledge of them.
11. Importance of leisure and free time
In addition to education, special importance is given to moments of rest and leisure. Compulsory education does not begin until the age of 7, the school day is much shorter than usual in other countries, and depending on the level of education, only 3 to 4 lessons are given per day.
In addition, there are breaks between classes and a longer lunch break. Finally, children do almost all the work in the classrooms, which prevents them from doing their homework.
12. Curiosity is rewarded, not the competition
Within classes, the ability to create, experiment and collaborate among students is valued, so curiosity is an essential value. Because of that, hardly any exams are done and qualifications only exist within 11 years. Teacher evaluations are purely descriptive.
13. Prevention of bullying at school
One of the most important keys to the Finnish education system is the emphasis on developing bullying prevention programs. Among them stands out the Kiva method. The success of this method lies in the fact that not only focus on the aggressor and the victim, but seeks to influence other classmates so that they do not participate in any way in these dynamics of bullying. as a result, the bully will end up stopping his behavior since he is not looked after by anyone. Outraged, socio-emotional skills are also worked on and student values.
14. Role of parents in learning
The involvement of parents in the development and education of their children is an indisputable concept all over the country, so that education is supplemented from the home by other cultural activities. To facilitate this task, the State offers aid and facilitates the reconciliation of professional and family life, In order that parents can devote more time to their children.