Does the Finnish education system have it right? Part 2

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The recent less-than-flattering comparisons in the press between the Singapore and Finnish educations systems have left many parents wondering if we’re getting a raw deal here.

Read the first part of this article on the Finnish education system :
Does the Finnish education system have it right? What can Singapore learn from it? – Part 1

Accidental heroes

The Finns were actually surprised by their PISA scores as they don’t prioritise academic excellence. The prioritise education. In Finland, education does not equal academic excellence. They invest in creating healthy and safe schools that provide free meals, access to health care, psychological counseling and individual student guidance. By focusing on cooperation rather than competition, the Finns have become the envy of the world.

finnish education

RELATED: Is our education system too rigid?

Singapore scores too!

There are things we can learn from the Finns. But in the meantime, remember that Singapore’s PISA scores were at the top of the pile too. We outscored Finland in Maths and were only marginally behind in Science and Reading.

In fact China outscored everyone in all areas but no one is calling the Chinese education system miraculous.

The reluctance to copy the Singapore or Chinese model is not because we don’t produce results, we definitely do. But the price we pay for those results seems too high.

Finnish lessons

It’s not the method but the philosophy that the Finns seem to have nailed. The Finnish education system may not be perfect but it does offer insight into a whole new way of thinking about education. Singapore is probably not ready (and may never be ready) to let go of our grip on standardised testing, competition and academic excellence. We don’t need to be in any hurry. For the most part, our system is a good one that produces good results.
We just need to ask ourselves if that’s going to be enough for the new global economy.

If you’re interested in learning more, read  “Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland?” by Pasi Sahlberg, director of the Finnish Ministry of Education’s Center for International Mobility and a leading authority on education reform.

Watch this video the Finnish education system part 2

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