Finland is one little country in the European region of Scandinavia with a humble land mass and population. This peaceful and well developed country has brought a revolution of its own. Its great change is not an overthrowing of a ruler or a major reform, the change it has brought in its system is an example for others. For over two decades, Finland’s education system has been ranked as the number one model in the world. While the world was keen on implementing the ‘read-memorize-examine’ methodology of teaching, Finland was busy in developing systems that mould a human brain, paving baby steps for what today is known as the Finnish Education Revolution!
In the early 1960’s, the Finnish government decided that educational reforms were requisite. Study and statistics helped them to cultivate a system that would benefit the generations to come. Soon after the research was done, Finnish administration declared that no tuition fees will be demanded from the child attending school. The school fees, school functioning cost of staff salaries were completely subsidized. Learning from their flaws and with an intention to provide the best education, Finnish education board came up with a revolutionary that everybody today wants to adopt.
– Actual school like learning begins at the age of 6, till then children are enrolled in crushes and playschools where they are taught values.
– There is no homework till a child reaches 14 years of age.
– There are no exams till a child reaches 16 years of age.
– Emphasis on learning the fun way rather than examining what a child learnt.
– School is more of a centre of multiple activities and learning rather than a learning discipline.
– School provides almost 90 minutes of recreational time at school, Lunch break is counted separately.
– Study of class exercise is limited to 3 hours only.
– Every teacher teaches only for 4 hours a day.
– Teachers share equal status as Doctors, Lawyers and Scientists.
– Single national curriculum
What they achieved?
– 100% literacy.
– Maximum student enrollment in vocational schools.
– Maximum student percentage in opting for college after school.
– 97% employment.
– Sharpest brains with best ‘average’ of IQ in the world.
– Best brains in Maths and reading.
– Difference between strongest and weakest child is the least in Finland
– 95% students graduate and take up advanced courses or start working professionally.
The Indian scenario-
India has had ‘zero’ education reforms since 1947. The marking and grading system has changed but that’s only an interpretation of numbers and nothing else. All the new systems introduced more or less had no effect on the educational quality being provided. While many nations are subsidizing education, Indian educationists have made it a business sector. Rocketing fee structures for primary education and added assistance in form of extra classes and tuitions have opened gates to businessmen who now view education as an investment sector.
Higher education fee brochures must probably be provided with a disclaimer saying, ‘Heart patients and pregnant women must avoid reading this. The fee is just too high.’ Moreover the population in India is 19 times higher in Finland. A class in Finland accommodates 30 students at a time, that’s the maximum. A class in India accommodates 60-90 students on average, how can a child get personal attention in that way?
Can India adopt this system?
It certainly can, considering all the resources the nation has. Moreover, India has always been a Knowledge Economy; its history of providing pristine education has been vast. India’s challenge is different from Finland’s. But, the challenge is to emulate the feat and not imitate the system. It’s not about making India another Finland, but making a new India with educational reforms. We certainly have the brains to do it.
For a start, India can draw inspiration from Finland and adopt some of its policies if not all. New policies in education will expose new dimensions to work on. It took 5 years of research from Finland’s best educational brains to figure out how their education can improve. For India it must be the decision of adopting a similar mentality and ‘create a change’ rather than imitating a system that ‘changed’.