Finland’s schools flourish in freedom and flexibility

State prescribes the curriculum but leaves teachers alone to decide how to teach the subject

By Jeevan Vasagar in Helsinki

“At Meri-Rastila primary school in a suburb of Helsinki, pupils shake the snow off their boots in the corridors, then peel them off and pad into class in socks. After a 45-minute lesson, they’re out in the playground again.

The Finnish education system contrasts sharply with England. Every Finnish child gets a free school meal, and a free education, which extends to university level.

There are no league tables, and no school inspections. There is only one set of national exams, when children are about to leave school, aged 18. The government conducts national assessments, sampling the population to keep track of school performance. But these results are not made public.”

Our View:

What I think I like the most about this article is the response by the Principal at Meri-Rastila regarding testing and how the information is used:

“We have these tests, in the fifth or sixth forms, that are the same tests at each and every school. We get the results and we see where we stand. But that is not common knowledge. And if it’s not good we have to check what are we doing wrong, what we have to improve.”

Instead of the data being used to ‘punish’ the schools for under-performing, the information is used BY the schools to address any issues and make the necessary improvements – what a fantastic idea!

To read the full article by Jeevan Vasagar click here

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