How Finnish schools lead the world

In recent years Finland has scored at or near the top of the world in terms of educating young people (and in many other measures of the quality of life, in fact). One reason is that teachers are revered in Finland and earn a decent income, and they're revered in part because it's not easy to become a teacher. (If you can't get into a teacher's college in Finland, you might have to settle for medical school.)

Unlike East Asian countries whose students also rank highly, Finland achieves this without high pressure or endless hours of homework. Finnish schools emphasize creativity, play, individual student interests, and cooperation over competition. There's very little in the way of machine-scored testing. The emphasis is on giving every student, no matter where they live or their family income, an equal chance to learn. There are relatively few private schools, and even there tuition is free. So are school lunches and health care.

This article from The Atlantic last December has stimulated a lot of discussion and merits a look. As the article notes, few people suggest the Finnish model be adopted wholesale everywhere, but it's certainly worth considering what can be copied.

Here Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian talk about it. (They get some minor matters of fact wrong -- Norwegians and the majority of Finns aren't strictly speaking the same ethnicity, for example -- but nothing serious that I noticed.)

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