We all have been irritated by that NRI relative whose only purpose to return to India is to ramble on about how things haven’t progressed since the last time they were here and how things are way better over there. But there are times when you have to wonder at some things that are so fundamentally wrong about the country, or even the world for that matter. These wrong things have been so deeply rooted and engraved in our operations due to years of practice and ignorance that a change seems very lethargic and improbable; a good change at least. Few people notice things that are so blatantly wrong, and even fewer decide to do something about it. This is especially true when it comes to education system in India. Let’s take a look at Finland’s Education System and think about why it is considered the best. And also how our own system is inferior to it!
In Finland, people, in the most real sense, study to learn. They don’t focus on making people remember the Quadratic formula; they focus on making people educated individuals. There are two operative words here: educated and individuals. After the one year pre-school program which children join at the age of six, they enroll in a compulsory basic comprehensive school for nine years. By the end of this compulsory program, every individual is focused on. Best efforts are made to identify every individual’s aptitude and help them take the best next step. They don’t try to make an individual excel in one field; they make sure that they become the best version of themselves. While constant efforts are being made here to think of ways to make as much money as possible by the educational institutes, Finnish education is free. There is no tuition fee. You’d think if it’s for free, then it has got to be bad, right? But it’s not!
While the system here has managed to put so much pressure on students to study and succeed, Finland is doing it without putting any. Three out of four students in Finland read for pleasure. There are no tests at all in the first six years of their education. Children aren’t measured. Young, impressionable minds aren’t judged, measured and told that they are not good at something or that they are only good at one thing. Every single student feels that he/she is as good as any other and isn’t put through any kind of inferiority. All the children, whatever their ability level, are made to study in the same classroom and aren’t made to feel better than or inferior to others. Their education isn’t driven by agendas of evaluation and competition and this led to it being the best in the world.
Also, they actually recognize the influence a teacher has on a child and have one of the toughest screening processes. You don’t easily get to become a teacher in Finland. Every teacher requires a Masters degree. It’s the most basic qualification required before you enter a classroom and start teaching a child. Also, only the top 10% of the graduates are desired for the teaching jobs. In 2010, around 6600 people applied for 660 primary school teaching jobs. Teachers are looked at the way doctors and lawyers are looked at here.
These are just some of the facts that make Finnish education what it is. It is so often the case that what is orthodox is not right and aspiring for better things is something much needed, especially in this country.
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