Finland has been ranked one of the top academic performers in the last two decades. The Finnish education system has earned attention from educators across the world. Regularly, Finnish students are resulting in number one and two in science, math, and reading. This article will cover the Finnish Education system and the reform that happened for them to become top contenders on education.
In the 1970s the Finnish education system was divided into two parts. One is covered academic theoretical subjects while the other focused on practical and task-oriented subjects. Finnish teachers specialized in one of the two sections. Reformers in the 1970s deemed this type of learning system inappropriate and weak. Critics of the system were concerned about the unfair distribution of resources, the limited amount of schools, and the mandatory career choice for children at age eleven. The framework of the reform replaced the two-part education system with one comprehensive school. This common school was a nine-year common school program developed by teachers. The program comprised of a six-year general overview with one teacher teaching all subjects. The following three years of the common school consisted of specialized education. The specialized education offered electives, foreign languages, art, music, applied studies and many other topics. After the nine years of common school, students can choose to further their education in an academic program or a vocational one. This upper education is offered for an additional three years and grooms the students to go on to University or Finnish polytechnics. Unlike schools in the US, Finnish schools do not compete with one another for scores.Finnish schools are not ranked against each other, and there are no formal teacher reviews. Finland has no honor society or valedictorians.
Finland has the Trade Union of Education that is very strong politically. Close to 100% of teachers belong to the Finnish union voluntarily. Politicians and the Finnish teachers union participate in negotiating policies and other reforms. All Finnish teachers are hired by the municipalities. Being a teacher in Finland is a very well paid and respected job. Teachers are one of the highest paid and desired jobs in Finland. The requirements to become a teacher in Finland are difficult to achieve. Eight universities in Finland are allowed to educate teachers. These universities accept very few applicants and require many to have previous teaching experience. All teachers must receive a master degree in Finland. This difficult acceptance process pushes teachers to be well prepared for the introductory tests of the universities and also preparedness for their classrooms.