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Should we adopt the Finnish education system?

Fides

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Apr 6, 2010
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There is another thread going on having a go at fee paying education. It's the usual bunch of arguments. One person though did mention the Finnish system was totally free so I decided to take a look. You see while I did go to a fee paying school and sent my children to a fee paying school the dominant reason was for a better education. Now if you can get that better education without paying for it then I would have no problem using it. (Pretty much the same with health)

Here's a nice simple description of the Finnish models (with pictures for those from the free sector!!! - just kidding really)

Finland's Education System Best In World - Business Insider

Some interesting points

Don't go to school until 7
No streaming
One exam at 16
Science classes capped at 16 students
43% go to vocational schools
Teachers only spend 4 hours a day in classroom
All teachers must have a Masters degree
Teachers come from the top 10% of graduates

I suppose the next question is:
How has the Finnish system improved their society compared to other countries?
 


Prester Jim

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There is another thread going on having a go at fee paying education. It's the usual bunch of arguments. One person though did mention the Finnish system was totally free so I decided to take a look. You see while I did go to a fee paying school and sent my children to a fee paying school the dominant reason was for a better education. Now if you can get that better education without paying for it then I would have no problem using it. (Pretty much the same with health)

Here's a nice simple description of the Finnish models (with pictures for those from the free sector!!! - just kidding really)

Finland's Education System Best In World - Business Insider

Some interesting points

Don't go to school until 7
No streaming
One exam at 16
Science classes capped at 16 students
43% go to vocational schools
Teachers only spend 4 hours a day in classroom
All teachers must have a Masters degree
Teachers come from the top 10% of graduates

I suppose the next question is:
How has the Finnish system improved their society compared to other countries?
The question is; if the Finnish system is demonstrably better then ours, not more expensive and relatively easy to implement (compared to the laboratory type experimentation Quinn is currently engaged in), why have we not already switched to the Finnish system?

Would anyone here have an issue with any of the parts that comprise the Finnish system and if so why?
 

rockofcashel

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www.sinnfein.ie
Well firstly they do go to school before 7.. it's just their pre school goes up to 7 instead of 4 1/2 like here. Which I think is a good idea by the way. (I worked in Sweden, and they are similar to Finland.. when I told a Swedish girl I went to school at 4 she said that was tantamount to child abuse in her opinion)

The 43% going to vocational school is a good idea, but don't think this relates to what we consider primary school. Again, if it's like Sweden, they finish primary school at 16 or so, then go to what she called "gym" (dunno why it was called gym).. here they go into a system like "post leaving cert" here.. they decide do they want to go into trades, admin, nursing etc... and receive vocational training related to those disciplines.. it's only after that do the really top students, then go on to University
 

Prester Jim

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The question is; if the Finnish system is demonstrably better then ours, not more expensive and relatively easy to implement (compared to the laboratory type experimentation Quinn is currently engaged in), why have we not already switched to the Finnish system?

Would anyone here have an issue with any of the parts that comprise the Finnish system and if so why?
Teachers already come from the top 10% of graduates (for the PGDE) and many teachers already have masters or above so we are already part of the way there.

Yes by the way, we should implement it ASAP.
Fully!
 

Fides

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The question is; if the Finnish system is demonstrably better then ours, not more expensive and relatively easy to implement (compared to the laboratory type experimentation Quinn is currently engaged in), why have we not already switched to the Finnish system?

Would anyone here have an issue with any of the parts that comprise the Finnish system and if so why?
It does seem hard to argue with and yet no one is copying it.
 

Lempo

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Gym is gymnasium, lycaeum in Swedish.

And of course there are tests, several per subject per year, but really not the big standardized ones.
 

Fides

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Gym is gymnasium, lycaeum in Swedish.

And of course there are tests, several per subject per year, but really not the big standardized ones.
Would you have personal experience of the Finnish system?
Sometimes articles can be pretty one sided. Any downsides versus our system?
 

Con Gallagher

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May 25, 2010
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Education improvement is not that difficult, with a few small changes:
No time spent on religion in teacher training college
Religion taught only before 9 or after 3
Irish to be taught by native speakers as a foreign language to 5 year olds
A foreign language to be taught from children shed 10
Greater time and resources on science
Remove all subsidies by the state to fee paying schools and charge VAT on the fee (to fund greater number who transfer from fee paying to non-fee paying)
At least 2% of teachers to be replaced each year on the ground of incompetence
Children taught critical thinking, basic economics and political affairs.
 

Prester Jim

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It does seem hard to argue with and yet no one is copying it.
That is what I don't understand about politics, when something as much of a no-brainer as this isn't carbon copied into every system that is not performing properly (not that I don't think our system has many good points and does work well).
What are the barriers to this system?
What is different about us that means it wouldn't work here?
I don't know how highly education was valued before the current system was installed in Finland or how much parents took responsibility for their kids working etc... was there a difference?
 

Prester Jim

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Education improvement is not that difficult, with a few small changes:
No time spent on religion in teacher training college
Religion taught only before 9 or after 3
Irish to be taught by native speakers as a foreign language to 5 year olds
A foreign language to be taught from children shed 10
Greater time and resources on science
Remove all subsidies by the state to fee paying schools and charge VAT on the fee (to fund greater number who transfer from fee paying to non-fee paying)
At least 2% of teachers to be replaced each year on the ground of incompetence
Children taught critical thinking, basic economics and political affairs.
Why this number?
Why every year? This sounds like a Trotskyite nightmare.
The Finnish system doesn't work like that, at all.
 

Shpake

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A deep question. But is your admiration of the Finnish education system at all influenced by their economic success? Their remarkable innovation and success with Nokia might be a one-hit wonder. If they can repeat it and make a comeback now that Samsung and Apple and HTC and Google and lots of others are taking over the show... until then I'll reserve opinion.
Note that if their education is so wonderful, and all these bright new Finns have come through their bright shiny education, they should walk it, no?
 

Prester Jim

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A deep question. But is your admiration of the Finnish education system at all influenced by their economic success? Their remarkable innovation and success with Nokia might be a one-hit wonder. If they can repeat it and make a comeback now that Samsung and Apple and HTC and Google and lots of others are taking over the show... until then I'll reserve opinion.
Note that if their education is so wonderful, and all these bright new Finns have come through their bright shiny education, they should walk it, no?
Results shouldn't be expected in too small an amount of time.
How long should we wait for a new wave of business, science, arts talent? I don't know, it is a difficult guess to make.
 

Protestant/Catholic=Irish

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One striking fact is that although the education system is completely subsidised, Finland pays 30% less per student than the US. This means more bang for our buck.

But in all honesty, this is impossible to argue with. Those in power, i.e. fervent capitalists, oppose successful schemes such as this due to ideology rather than practicality. To them, education is a privilege, not a right.

We need to progress, we need to create a more educated, tolerant and peaceful society. The first step is by adopting methods proven to have worked in the real world.
 

Observer

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Mar 1, 2003
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Education improvement is not that difficult, with a few small changes:
No time spent on religion in teacher training college
Religion taught only before 9 or after 3
Irish to be taught by native speakers as a foreign language to 5 year olds
A foreign language to be taught from children shed 10
Greater time and resources on science
Remove all subsidies by the state to fee paying schools and charge VAT on the fee (to fund greater number who transfer from fee paying to non-fee paying)
At least 2% of teachers to be replaced each year on the ground of incompetence
Children taught critical thinking, basic economics and political affairs.
Why this number?
Why every year? This sounds like a Trotskyite nightmare.
The Finnish system doesn't work like that, at all.
It's not about the Finnish system; it's about the usual assortment of p.ie obsessions wrt education - religion, the Irish language and having a swipe at teachers. I'm only surprised that the length of the school day and of school holidays didn't get a run-out as well.
 

Rural

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Apr 28, 2007
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Get rid of transition year - where it is not working, there is no check on what is being done or not being done in transition year, a few (very few) schools have some great teachers running it, but this is not usually the case.

My Niece is in transition year and the class was sent home for the Christmas Holidays over a week before the rest of the school - the teacher said that she didn't know what to do with them.:rolleyes:
 

Fides

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Apr 6, 2010
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4,442
A few more interesting points I have gleaned from googling:

1. 1/3 of Finnish comprehensives had less than 50 pupils. Just 4% above 500 pupils.
2. Grades are prohibited by law. By 5th grade students do not receive numerical grades so students can't be compared
3. There is a culture of trust basically leaving schools to it and allowing autonomy over the curriculum
4. The changes mainly seem to have happened since 1985 when everything was centrally controlled

In point 4 I think we have the answer to why others don't follow - the DoE would lose control.
 

Shpake

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Education improvement is not that difficult, with a few small changes:

Remove all subsidies by the state to fee paying schools and charge VAT on the fee (to fund greater number who transfer from fee paying to non-fee paying)
A condensed minefield (the correct term?) of very interesting points. I pick out the above one because it really is a minefield of controversy.
Someone mentioned a few years back that a family (usually well-off but not always) who pay money to get their kids into a school that will ensure that they get to study at third level, are really making a wise investment. The kids avail of state subsidies till they get through university at 22 or 23 and then they get into a more wellpaid and maybe more satisfying career than some young person who quit after the inter or whatever it's called now.
Then again, there are some parents who are not well-off, but will go through any sacrifice for their children even though they can ill-afford it.
A trotskyite directive from from some dear leader would stick in their craw. Incidentally the same goes for health insurance. Some people will pay enormous premiums for private health care and way beyond their means. Is it not their right? And there are some people who are alcoholic drivers, who go sky-diving and drunken driving and smoke like chimneys and have unprotected sex and expect free medical treatment.
What's my point? well you can't plan everything for everyone, you know. No matter how intelligent you are or if you have a Dail majority or whatever
 

Lempo

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Jun 30, 2012
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6,318
Would you have personal experience of the Finnish system?
Sometimes articles can be pretty one sided. Any downsides versus our system?
About seventeen years' worth. :D

I don't know your system well enough to compare it. If it can be said to be downside teaching is an esteemed profession and subsequently very sought after so the Masters program, which teacher has to go through only accepts one in eight applicants resulting in theory into top class teaching professionals which probably is a key element in the perceived goodness of Finnish education. So that would had to be emulated somehow to go the Finnish way. If you have to pay for tertiary education (unlike in Finland) you probably will want to invest into better-rewarding profession, economically and otherwise.

The awe usually shown in the articles is mad sometimes, granted, and facts can be off in some smaller details, but I can't really think what bad they have left out from them. Of course, in the comments it will be readily pointed out that Finland is a very homogenous society, economically and ethnically, which may help a plenty.
 

pedagogus

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May 12, 2010
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One important point about the Finnish system that has been overlooked is its motivating force. According to Finnish educationalists, its excellence is only a by-product of the prime motivation,I.e. social equality. Those posting on the thread about private schools might do well to look at the Finnish attitude to private schools.
 


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