A Short History of Education in Finland.
Like many other schools, tablets have taken over from chalkboards and notebooks in Finnish schools, but how has education changed over the years?
Finland has had public schools since the 1860’s, but if we go back over 100 years, educational facilities were very limited. The compulsory education act aimed to get all children through the primary school syllabus but only a third of children in the rural areas attended. It was only those that did well and who could afford it that could continue with schooling after fourth grade. Children from poorer families had to go to work. In the 1920s Finland was not a wealthy country. Relying primarily on agriculture, it had only recently become independent.
It wasn’t until 1963 that the Government of Finland put public education first. Over a decade later, they famously required all teachers to obtain masters degrees in education from one of their free public universities.
The changes didn’t stop there. In more recent years, the numerical grading system has been replaced with written assessments. Students are given more time to play and no homework.
Now children have at least nine years of schooling, with the Finnish school system having developed greatly. In fact, the Finnish educational system now receives recognition all over the world. The PISA Study, which is a research programme covering all OECD member states, ranks the skills of children in Finland most highly. Whilst comparing schools internationally may be hard to do, there is no doubt that the Finnish attitude towards schooling is extremely positive, with education being highly valued.
The school system is being constantly renewed with a new core curriculum taking effect in elementary school back in 2016. More recently, phenomenon-based learning was applied across a range of subjects with the focus moving away from collecting information and towards learning study skills. Classroom layouts have also changed with the teachers using wireless computers and smartboards; they no longer need to stand in front of a blackboard. Information retrieval skills are incredibly important with students getting together to give presentations. Many textbooks are also electronic.
Top within international rankings
Since the huge reform 50 years ago, Finland’s educational system has regularly come top within international rankings. But why is the Finnish educational system so strong:
Top in science, reading and mathematics
The National Curriculum is only used to provide broad guidelines. During an international standardized measurement back in 2001, children came top for science, reading and mathematics. Since then, Finland has come top – or very close to it – ever since.
At Kipinä, we use the Finnish approach, providing amazing nurseries and preschools in English. Using the globalised Finland curriculum, our focus is on blending fun and structured learning.
Get in touch with us today to find out more about how your child can thrive with Kipinä.
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