EDUCATION SYSTEM OF FINLANDIA
Posted April 25, 2009on:
EDU – In Finland, the basic right to education and culture is recorded in the Constitution of Finland. Public authorities must secure equal opportunities for every resident in Finland to get education also after compulsory education and to develop themselves, irrespective of their financial standing. Legislation provides for compulsory education and the right to free pre-primary and basic education. Most other qualifying education is also free of charges for the students, including postgraduate education at universities. The key words in Finnish education policy are quality, efficiency, equity and internationalisation. Education is a factor for competitiveness. The current priorities in educational development are to raise the level of education and upgrade competencies among the population and the work force, to improve the efficiency of the education system, to prevent exclusion among children and young people, and to enlarge adult learning opportunities. Special attention is also paid to quality enhancement and impact in education, training and research and to internationalisation. Background to Finland’s success in education builds on the following * Equal opportunities The Finnish education system offers everybody equal opportunities for education, irrespective of domicile, sex, economic situation or linguistic and cultural background. The school network is regionally extensive, and there are no sex-specific school services. Basic education is completely free of charge (including instruction, school materials, school meals, health care, dental care, commuting, special needs education and remedial teaching). * Comprehensiveness of education Basic education encompasses nine years and caters for all those between 7 and 16 years. Schools do not select their students but every student can go to the school of his or her own school district. Students are neither channelled to different schools nor streamed. * Competent teachers On all school levels, teachers are highly qualified and committed. Master’s degree is a requirement, and teacher education includes teaching practice. Teaching profession is very popular in Finland, and hence universities can select the most motivated and talented applicants. Teachers work independently and enjoy full autonomy in the classroom. * Student counselling and special needs education Individual support for the learning and welfare of pupils is well accommodated, and the national core curriculum contains guidelines for the purpose. Special needs education is integrated into regular education as far as possible. Guidance counsellors support upper grade students in their studies and choice of further education. * Encouraging assessment and evaluation The student assessment and evaluation of education and learning outcomes are encouraging and supportive by nature. The aim is to produce information that supports both schools and students to develop. National testing, school ranking lists and inspection systems do not exist. * Significance of education in society Finnish society strongly favours education and the population is highly educated by international standards. Education is appreciated and there is a broad political consensus on education policy. * A flexible system based on empowerment The education system is flexible and the administration based on the principal of “Centralised steering – local implementation”. Steering is conducted through legislation and norms, core curricula, government planning and information steering. Municipalities are responsible for the provision of education and the implementation. Schools and teachers enjoy large autonomy. * Co-operation Interaction and partnerships are built at all levels of activity. There is co-operation for the development of education between various levels of administration, between schools and between other social actors and schools. Education authorities co-operate with teachers’ organisations, pedagogical subject associations and school leadership organisations. This provides strong support for the development. * A student-oriented, active conception of learning The organisation of schoolwork and education is based on a conception of learning that focuses on students’ activity and interaction with the teacher, other students and the learning environment.