Special Reports

Reasons Why Finland is Better than U.S. in Education Systems


Across the globe, Finland is considered as an innovative country in terms of its education system and the results of its innovation.

On the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) which serves as a significant instrument in measuring education systems worldwide, Finland is consistently one of the highest performing developed countries.

Despite of dropping in the ranking to 12, Finland is still higher than US ranking of 36 in the recent PISA ranking, as reported by Business Insider.

Unlike US, which is driven by No Child Left Behind and Common Core that mandates students in third through eighth grade to take annual standardized tests to monitor their performance, in Finland they only have one standardized test during the entire primary and secondary schooling.

Recently, the president of the largest teachers union in New York, Karen Magee, encouraged parents to boycott standardized tests.

While the National Matriculation Examination, Finnish Test, being taken at the end of high school and graded teachers does not include controversial or complex topics.

Pasi Sahlberg, a professor and former director general at the Finland Ministry of Education, said that Finnish students are regularly asked by questions related with their ability to cope with issues regarding dieting, drugs, ethics, losing a job, political issues, violence, wars and other social issues. These issues expand their ideas on multidisciplinary knowledge and skills.

According to the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Finnish students spend less time on their homework. Based on a 2014 study of 15-year-olds across the globe by the OECD, on average, about 2.8 hours in seven days are spent by Finnish students on homework. This is in contrast with American students who spend 6.1 hours per week on homework.

Moreover, bachelor degree programs, master and doctoral programs are completely free in Finland. Unlike American students facing problems due to student loan debt, Finnish students pursue their higher education goals without any worries.

In Finland, teaching is considered as s the most revered professions with a relatively high barrier entry. According to OECD data, teachers are paid slightly more in Finland; average teacher in US makes about $41,000 a year while in Finland they make $43,000 a year.

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