25 Amazing Facts about Finland’s Education System

Posted by | 5th July 2013 | Living in Finland, Study in Finland, Why Finland

Finland’s education system is thought to be one of the most successful in the world, with Finland consistently scoring very high in international rankings. Here is a list of amazing facts about education in Finland which may surprise you:

1. Children only start school at 7 years old. They cannot enroll at a younger age.

2. Pupils in Finland don’t have to take exams until they reach high-school. They are also given very little homework which normally doesn’t exceed half an hour of work. Students in elementary and middle school on the other hand aren’t given any homework at all.

3. Teachers are given a lot of autonomy and freedom to develop their own curriculum and are fully responsible for their students’ progression.

4. Finland’s education system does not mark students for performance in their first six years of school.

5. Pupils only have to take one mandatory standardized test.

6. Classwork is reduced to creativity rather than memorizing information. They are encouraged to understand the need to learn and use creative ways to improve efficiency.

7. Gifted children are not given special praise but struggling pupils are given as much help as they need. Children are also always taught in the same classroom regardless of personal performance so that the difference between the strongest students and the weaker ones is eliminated.

8. As much as 30% of Finnish students receive extra tuition help during their first 9 years of school.

9. Practical experience is just as important as theory and science classes only run with a maximum number of 16 students so that everyone can perform each science experiment.

10. Finnish students have a 93% college graduation rate.

11. A recess time of 75 minutes is standard throughout Finnish elementary school. In the United States of America, recess time is only 27 minutes whilst in Europe it never exceeds 20 minutes.

12. Finland’s education system encourages teachers to constantly improve professionally and take 2 hours a week towards this. On any working day, they only spend 4 hours in the classrooms.

13. Finland has the same number of teachers as New York and far less students.

14. One of the best advantages of Finnish education is that it is 100% funded by the state so that everybody can have access to it.

15. Teachers’ qualifications are highly important and the lowest academic achievement required to become a teacher is a Master’s Degree. In addition, teacher training programmes are very selective and they cover extensive training with all types of students. This is also fully subsidized by the state.

16. Finland’s national curriculum only contains broad guidelines.

17. Cooperation is encouraged and competition is discouraged.

18. Finland’s education system promotes the complete well-being of students and all schools provide free food, access to health care and free counseling.

19. Finland’s assessment scores have never been changed by increased immigration.

20. In 2008 teachers started on a salary of as much as $29,000. In the United States of America the average starting salary was $36,000.

21. However, a teacher’s salary grows exponentially with experience and seniority. In just 15 years, a teacher can earn 102% more than they did when they first started. In the United States, they can only earn 63% more.

22. Finland’s education system does not reward teachers with bonus schemes.

23. In the society, teachers are regarded as highly as doctors and lawyers.

24. Finland’s education system is built on trust and equity.

25. Finland continues to beat its neighbouring countries with similar demographics. For example, Norway follows the same education system as the United States of America. It has never scored as high as Finland in international assessment tests.

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