Thursday, April 14, 2011

Educational success in Finland

Where is our education system going? A friend shared this article and I'm very impressed with how the Finns have developed theirs.

But Finland's sweeping success is largely due to one big, not-so-secret weapon: its teachers....In Finland, the teachers are the standard. That's one reason so many Finns want to become teachers, which provides a rich talent pool that Finland filters very selectively. In 2008, the latest year for which figures are available, 1,258 undergrads applied for training to become elementary-school teachers. Only 123, or 9.8% were accepted into the five-year teaching program. That's typical. There's another thing: in Finland, every teacher is required to have a master's degree. (The Finns call this a master's in kasvatus, which is the same word they use for a mother bringing up her child.)

In Malaysia? If you've been keeping up with and are concerned about how our education system has been going round and round in circles, you would know the answer to that question.

"Finland is a society based on equity," says Laukkanen. "Japan and Korea are highly competitive societies — if you're not better than your neighbor, your parents pay to send you to night school. In Finland, outperforming your neighbor isn't very important. Everybody is average, but you want that average to be very high."

This principle has gone far toward making Finland an educational overachiever. In the 2006 PISA science results, Finland's worst students did 80% better than the OECD average for the worst group; its brightest did only 50% better than the average for bright students. "Raising the average for the bottom rungs has had a profound effect on the overall result," says MacIsaac.

According to the last para in the article, Thailand has tried adopting their system, but has yet to succeed. Malaysia is a long way from this. Very sad indeed....

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