Education Systems of the World.
by finley.n on February 28, 2013 - 7:55am
Canada is taking educational advice from Finland.
Benjamin Gillies of the Toronto Star in the editorial opinion wrote an article “Finland offers lessons in equality for educators” reflecting on the public debate regarding the Bill 115 and teacher’s response. He believes that Ontarians are very concerned about the education systems and the compensate educators receive for their work. However, he argues they also desire children develop skills that will help them lead successful lives in the future. Unfortunately, little of such advancement is heard, in fact, Canada compared to international systems is falling behind. There is great competition from foreign counterparts. Though for a long time the Asians were said to be on top rank of the education system, someone new is on the rise according to Gillies. Finland, a country’s who educational system has long been considered not to bring forth star performers has outdone itself. Back in 1970 “Finland’s government undertook a substantial overhaul of its education system” their “model was [based] on equity: that all children had the same opportunity to learn, regardless of where they lived or their family situation”. Another man intrigued by this is, Eric Bombicino from the Agenda who published an article October 23 2012 on “Why Are Finnish kids So Smart”. In it he explained why and how the educational superpower Finland has very intelligent kids. Well just like Gillies he found their system is based around the “Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development's (OECD) Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)”. This program has a specific aspect; first, it is hard to no notice that they have no standardized test. Students do not have “mandatory exams” except secondary school seniors who are required to write a test to enter post-secondary level. Another aspect of the PISA is that teachers and at minimum are required to have at least a master’s degree. To add to the pleasure of teaching the instructors are allowed to design own assessments they see fit for student in place of tests. This system also “Emphasis on Comfort and Familiarity” in other words all children are equal and have the same access to the same education for anywhere in Finland. Up to grade ten students are mixed there is no distinction between academic level. Ever since 1991 the Finnish have held back on “underachievers and making them repeat a grade”. Additionally primary students remain for several years with same instructor. They have also removed the thought of competition and placed that of cooperation a “necessary ingredient to propel people, institutions, and businesses to success.” All children have the right to learn equally this means from the pre-years to the end of university the state funds for the child education no matter the geography or family income.
The Finnish understand that importance of teachers in their children’s progress, so ample amount of respect is bestowed upon them and other profession such as doctors and advocates. However, none of this achievements would mean anything if it was not for that fact that Finns have produced outstanding students in the world. They are the top of “Western nation on the world’s foremost educational test, the OECD’s Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), since its inception in 2000.” The Asian highly regarded in mathematics and science; its “[student] body [is] good at writing exams, but that struggles to excel in other areas”, because their system has neglected extracurricular activity. Unlike them the investment Finnish authorities have put in the education has brought forth rewards. Today they lead in telecommunications technology and most of all they have achieved they goal of providing students with equality. They can proudly say that “No matter where they live, Finnish children can attend an excellent school.”
So why is this system working? Is there something deeper to it that is not mentioned, or are the Finnish hiding something? According to Frey, Nancy, Fisher and Douglas, Neuroscientists and authors of the journal article “Reading and theBrain: What Early Childhood Educators Need to Know” published on the on August 2010. The Finnish program seems to adapt to one’s brain better easier than others, especially when it concerns youngsters in early childhood education. No matter the age all children are “brain workers”. To be in an educational system where “development is uneven, [or] an overemphasis on one aspect of development [a] detriment of overall development in the present and, possibly, in the future” might occur. In other words what the Finnish are promoting equal education for all does indeed help students in their present life and in their future. For “the aim of education,[…] is to provide youth with developmental experiences that help them develop some sense of where they’re going, what they want for themselves, their responsibility to other people, and their responsibilities to the larger society”. This does not mean to be continually tested and tried for things that do not interest them. From experience as a student this liberty is good, it allows children to be free and more willing to dive in challenges independently; as oppose to be given the challenge thus performing it with one thing in mind “my grade “or “my school diploma or certificate.” Frey, Nancy, Fisher and Douglas also believe so, they say that “learning the formulas and procedures of the mathematics and sciences is essential, but knowing only formulas and procedures will not help the young make sense of our rapidly changing world. They need an education that will enable them to handle technology, the sciences, and all the contradictions that are involved in the social world…”
Drawing back to Canada, it should be proud of its education system also well ranked, but it could learn from the Nordic State. Maybe ministerial requirements do not really fit the youth student? Liberty is essential, it is that untapped, covered up by the rug of the education minister standards that blocking Canadian learners from becoming top of the world students?