Children in Finland spend fewer hours in school than any other country in the developed world so how do they consistently turn in top international scores in reading, science and math? A BBC report focuses on the relaxed atmosphere of the nation’s schools, lack of political interference, as well as the country’s approach to schooling.
“The Finnish philosophy with education is that everyone has something to contribute and those who struggle in certain subjects should not be left behind. A tactic used in virtually every lesson is the provision of an additional teacher who helps those who struggle in a particular subject. But the pupils are all kept in the same classroom, regardless of their ability in that particular subject.”
The report makes much of the contributions of Finnish home life to student achievement. “There is a culture of reading with the kids at home and families have regular contact with their children’s teachers,” notes the BBC’s Tom Burridge, who also points out that teaching is a prestigious career in Finland. “Teachers are highly valued and teaching standards are high,” he says.
Education Minister Henna Virkkunen is now looking to boost the performance of Finland’s brightest pupils. ”The Finnish system supports very much those pupils who have learning difficulties but we have to pay more attention also to those pupils who are very talented. Now we have started a pilot project about how to support those pupils who are very gifted in certain areas,” she says.