Finland's education success
There lots of components which makes education system in Finland very successful. The schools in Finland are free, and besides that, they are providing free meals served to full-time students. The school system is based on trust between students and teachers, and there no selecting, tracking, or streaming students during their common basic education. Finland accepts diversity in schools, and there no so called “talented” classes like we have in the US. They don’t separate successful students and let them study together. Pupils are usually having a school near their homes whenever possible, and if they live far away, then they can get free transportation to schools. Our country is definitely will never have free transportation, because we here only focus on making money and in some cases do not see ahead. Teachers are trying to minimize low achievement by putting extra efforts to help those who are in need of additional assistance. The main idea is “less can be more”, which means if they teach pupils step by step, without overloading them with homework, then pupils can get more focused, and study material faster and better. There is a relaxed atmosphere in Finnish schools, and pupils enter school without shoes, like if it is their home. This creates a very warm atmosphere, and pupils like it. Pupils can call their teachers by first name without adding any other additional formal words, which give them more confidence and trust in their teachers. Trust is a very important component in Finland schools. There are no political standards which everybody should follow, and each school is very similar by their high standards to others. The school system set up very high standards in math and science, and also makes pupils study lots of languages, which make Finnish pupils more educated than pupils in other countries. Besides that, there are very high standards for teachers in math and science – they have to have a master’s degree, and their educational level is definitely higher than in other countries, where teacher can just have a bachelor degree. There no competition in schools. The success is not measured on winners and losers. The learning process is a teen game, and it is usually fun and interesting. Teachers are saying that learning together – works. Pupils are trying to play games while in class, and they help each other to study material.
The educational tourism is very attractive part of Finland education. I remember when I was 21, and I saw an ad in a newspaper that I can study in Finland for free (!), I was very inspired by that and wanted to go there first. I lived very close to Finland and it could have been pretty easy for me to go there, but my choice was the US. Looking back, I understand that the education system is much better in Finland than here in the US, but I was scared of language difficulties. I was pretty familiar with English and didn’t want to waste my valuable life time on studying Finnish, which looked very weird to me back then. Finland is also attracting immigrants by their educational grants for those who study well. That means there are more young, educated and self-confident people in this country, and they have much more chances to open their own company after graduation (not like in the US, where average student after graduation has an average $20000-30000 debt, which he has to start paying right when he graduates). Finland is a very attractive country for teachers too. Teachers now take a three-year graduate school preparation program, free and with a stipend for living expenses. In Finland, you don’t go into debt to become a teacher. All of the above makes educational system in Finland very successful. The US could definitely learn a lot from their methods of attracting students and teachers. The atmosphere, standards, consistency, material benefits are making this country very attractive for education. We could create similar grants for foreign students, and develop an atmosphere of trust by providing to pupils more support, and making studying less formal and more fun. We can start thinking of completely free education system, because at the end, it would benefit everybody. If everybody gets access to high standard education for free, then we can get more educated and good citizens, who will create their own companies after graduation, and won’t be depended on their parents or government help. It is easier for better educated people to get into society when they grow up. They know that they have to find a job and do not ask for government help by any given chances. So at the end, if we try to completely follow the Finland education system, then, I think, we will only benefit from it. Our society will be more peaceful, and smiley, our kids will help our country to move forward faster.