ADVERTISEMENT

What is the Finnish School System and Why is the AAP Advocating for it?

Finland's education system is vastly different from our country's and is slowly gaining traction in India.

Published
Explainers
4 min read
What is the Finnish School System and Why is the AAP Advocating for it?
i

The Quint DAILY

For impactful stories you just can’t miss

By subscribing you agree to our Privacy Policy

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday, 17 January, came down hard on Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena, accusing him of harbouring a “feudal mindset” and denying primary teachers in the capital the opportunity to avail the “best training” and the “best institute in the world”.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has accused Saxena of blocking the city government’s plan to send primary school teachers to a training programme in Finland.

On Monday, 16 January, led by Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia, AAP MLAs marched to Saxena's office to protest against his alleged interference in the functioning of the city government.

But, why does the Delhi government want to send teachers to Finland for training? And why is the Finnish system of education so sought after? Keep reading.

What is the Finnish School System and Why is the AAP Advocating for it?

  1. 1. What is the Finnish Model of Education and How is it Different from the Indian System?

    The approach that has long dominated Indian education is this: Government agencies draw up curricula, teachers and schools have little flexibility to innovate, and students are graded on what they remember (the 'rote' system) rather than what they comprehend.

    A normal routine for a child who goes to school in India may look something like this: Wake up at 5.30 every morning, reach school by 6.45 am to avoid peak hour traffic, to hopefully make it to school before the bell rings at 7.15 am. The school day ends at 3 pm, only to be followed by private remedial classes. There is very less time for play or extracurricular activities.

    Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal with AAP MLAs during a protest march towards Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena's office over his alleged interference in the working of the city government, in New Delhi on 16 January. 

    (Photo: PTI)

    The Finnish system breaks away from all of the above things. To begin with, school in Finland starts later, between the ages of 6 and 7.

    In comparison, in India, children as young as 3 often go to some type of educational institution.

    Also, schools in Finland, start later in the day, usually after 9 am. In India, older children may be expected at school as early as 7 am.

    Expand
  2. 2. Only One Exam in Nine Years

    Another huge difference is that Finland has no formal examination as such. But, how then, are students assessed?

    Students are assessed in more than one way to ensure that holistic learning is happening instead of just a focus on getting grades.

    There are no mandated standardised tests, apart from one examination at the end of senior year in high school.

    Also, homework in the Nordic nation is minimal. In India, it is the opposite, with school kids drowning under piles of homework. So much so that even during holidays/breaks, they are not spared from it.

    According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD),  students in Finland have the least amount of outside work and homework any students in the world. They spend only half an hour a night working on school-related activities.

    'Common-Sense Based System'

    "The focus of the education system is on skill and competency building which is more necessary in the real-wolrd skills. The education system is commmon sense-based system, " Ashish Srivastava, CEO of Finland Education Hub told The Quint.

    Further, he added, Finland's ecosystem is unique in the sense that both schools and colleges work very closely together. "There is a lot of research carried out in universities in Finland about educational outcomes and whatever are the findings of the research, it is implemnted quickly. That is probably the only ecosystem where the schools and universitoies work so closely together, " he added.

    Experts told The Indian Express that under the Finnish model of education, students are taught using practical methods and they are encouraged to use their common sense.

    “The Finnish education system believes in learning by doing. Children are given a lot of opportunities to explore their interests and likes. The main difference between the Indian education system and the Finnish education system is the capacity to explore, ” Chani Trivedi, Director of Nordic High International School, Indore, told the newspaper.

    Expand
  3. 3. High Bar Set for Teachers as Well

    Finland is routinely near the top in the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests and that boasts a high school graduation rate of more than 90 percent, according to a report by Al Jazeera.

    In Finland, teachers are largely free from external requirements such as inspection, standardised testing, and government control, according to The Guardian. In fact, school inspections were scrapped in the 1990s.

    As an OECD document specifies, "Teachers are required to have a master’s degree that includes research and practice-based studies."

    Teaching programmes in the Nordic nation are said to be the most rigorous and selective professional schools in the entire country.

    As Pasi Sahlberg, director of the Finnish Ministry of Education, writes in his blog:

    In Finland, entry into teacher education is one of the most competitive among any field in higher education. Since all teachers must hold advanced academic degrees and they are therefore relatively well-paid and protected professionals, teaching is an attractive career choice among young Finns.

    "And yes, teachers in Finland also have good working conditions in schools and a moderate teaching load by international standards," he adds.

    Expand
  4. 4. Is the System Gaining Popularity in India?

    An Al Jazeera report stated the Finnish system is gaining popularity in India and schools offering Finnish education are emerging across Indian cities, emphasising activity-based learning, interaction with nature, and life skills over textbook-based, test-oriented education.

    Last year, the education minister of Kerala also announced that the state would tie up with the Nordic nation on teacher training, curriculum reforms and classroom technology.

    And it is not just India that is looking to Finland. In Peru, the government is building 75 schools modelled on the Finnish experience, the Al Jazeera report highlighted.

    The challenges remain though as Srivastava pointed out. "Though it is slowly becoming popular, the challenges in implementing such a system remain. Changing the mindset takes a lot of time and is not something that happens overnight, " he added.

    (At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

    Expand

What is the Finnish Model of Education and How is it Different from the Indian System?

The approach that has long dominated Indian education is this: Government agencies draw up curricula, teachers and schools have little flexibility to innovate, and students are graded on what they remember (the 'rote' system) rather than what they comprehend.

A normal routine for a child who goes to school in India may look something like this: Wake up at 5.30 every morning, reach school by 6.45 am to avoid peak hour traffic, to hopefully make it to school before the bell rings at 7.15 am. The school day ends at 3 pm, only to be followed by private remedial classes. There is very less time for play or extracurricular activities.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal with AAP MLAs during a protest march towards Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena's office over his alleged interference in the working of the city government, in New Delhi on 16 January. 

(Photo: PTI)

The Finnish system breaks away from all of the above things. To begin with, school in Finland starts later, between the ages of 6 and 7.

In comparison, in India, children as young as 3 often go to some type of educational institution.

Also, schools in Finland, start later in the day, usually after 9 am. In India, older children may be expected at school as early as 7 am.

ADVERTISEMENT

Only One Exam in Nine Years

Another huge difference is that Finland has no formal examination as such. But, how then, are students assessed?

Students are assessed in more than one way to ensure that holistic learning is happening instead of just a focus on getting grades.

There are no mandated standardised tests, apart from one examination at the end of senior year in high school.

Also, homework in the Nordic nation is minimal. In India, it is the opposite, with school kids drowning under piles of homework. So much so that even during holidays/breaks, they are not spared from it.

According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD),  students in Finland have the least amount of outside work and homework any students in the world. They spend only half an hour a night working on school-related activities.

'Common-Sense Based System'

"The focus of the education system is on skill and competency building which is more necessary in the real-wolrd skills. The education system is commmon sense-based system, " Ashish Srivastava, CEO of Finland Education Hub told The Quint.

Further, he added, Finland's ecosystem is unique in the sense that both schools and colleges work very closely together. "There is a lot of research carried out in universities in Finland about educational outcomes and whatever are the findings of the research, it is implemnted quickly. That is probably the only ecosystem where the schools and universitoies work so closely together, " he added.

Experts told The Indian Express that under the Finnish model of education, students are taught using practical methods and they are encouraged to use their common sense.

“The Finnish education system believes in learning by doing. Children are given a lot of opportunities to explore their interests and likes. The main difference between the Indian education system and the Finnish education system is the capacity to explore, ” Chani Trivedi, Director of Nordic High International School, Indore, told the newspaper.

ADVERTISEMENT

Finland is routinely near the top in the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests and that boasts a high school graduation rate of more than 90 percent, according to a report by Al Jazeera.

High Bar Set for Teachers as Well

In Finland, teachers are largely free from external requirements such as inspection, standardised testing, and government control, according to The Guardian. In fact, school inspections were scrapped in the 1990s.

As an OECD document specifies, "Teachers are required to have a master’s degree that includes research and practice-based studies."

Teaching programmes in the Nordic nation are said to be the most rigorous and selective professional schools in the entire country.

As Pasi Sahlberg, director of the Finnish Ministry of Education, writes in his blog:

In Finland, entry into teacher education is one of the most competitive among any field in higher education. Since all teachers must hold advanced academic degrees and they are therefore relatively well-paid and protected professionals, teaching is an attractive career choice among young Finns.

"And yes, teachers in Finland also have good working conditions in schools and a moderate teaching load by international standards," he adds.

ADVERTISEMENT

Is the System Gaining Popularity in India?

An Al Jazeera report stated the Finnish system is gaining popularity in India and schools offering Finnish education are emerging across Indian cities, emphasising activity-based learning, interaction with nature, and life skills over textbook-based, test-oriented education.

Last year, the education minister of Kerala also announced that the state would tie up with the Nordic nation on teacher training, curriculum reforms and classroom technology.

And it is not just India that is looking to Finland. In Peru, the government is building 75 schools modelled on the Finnish experience, the Al Jazeera report highlighted.

The challenges remain though as Srivastava pointed out. "Though it is slowly becoming popular, the challenges in implementing such a system remain. Changing the mindset takes a lot of time and is not something that happens overnight, " he added.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

Read and Breaking News at the Quint, browse for more from explainers

ADVERTISEMENT
Speaking truth to power requires allies like you.
Become a Member
22

25 10% off

90

100 10% off

180

200 10% off

or more

PREMIUM

3 months
12 months
12 months
Check Member Benefits
Read More
ADVERTISEMENT
Stay Updated

Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.

Join over 120,000 subscribers!
ADVERTISEMENT
More News
×
×