Suomi 100, Sisu & Success
Investment on Education, Innovations and Global Competitiveness.
Finland celebrated 100 years of Independence in 2017. Its education has not always been such a success, far from it, only through long term investment an effective system was developed.
Finland hasn't got natural resources to rely on and suffered deeply from war, making the nation poor. Despite this Finnish politicians made massive changes in the education to fight poverty and lift the country back on its feet. This has paid dividends giving Finland a high innovation index allowing a small nation to compete globally. And yet, its successful education system is one of the most cost effective systems in the world.
Education is linked to the country, culture and its value system. A Finnish word Sisu is difficult to translate, but it defines Finnish culture and national character well: determination, honesty, integrity, perseverance, hard work, courage, strength, never give up-mentality and entrepreneurial spirit. These are qualities that education should always support and thus, prepare children for life.
Finland's new National Curriculum
“Why fix things, when they're not broken?
The world keeps spinning and if we don't change, we don't just get stuck in one place, but fall behind.”
Finland's new national curriculum (August 2016) introduces phenomenal, multi-disciplinary learning and competences such as multi-literacy, ICT, entrepreneurship, thinking and learn to learn skills.
Basic education supports the holistic development of children, growth of a human being and an informed global citizen. The new curriculum aims to meet the needs of the rapidly changing world and provide children with skills and abilities to live a good life.
21st Century Skills
"Pedagogy should always be in the front and the emphasis on the human factor in digitalization.”
ICT, coding and computational thinking are considered as crucial 21st century skills and integrating technology into education is a big challenge. Just an increase in information technology is not enough to support the effective use of technology and children's learning. It requires changes in pedagogy as well as the working culture and community of educators.
Teacher Autonomy and Future Focused Research
Finnish teachers hold a Master's degree and continuously develop their profession. Teaching targets are set by the national curriculum and teachers are the ones, who put it into practice. Curriculum is a broad framework allowing teachers a high degree of autonomy in their choice of teaching methods, tools and devices.
Teachers and principals are trusted professionals, who know what is best for children in their schools and classrooms. Thus, there is no standardized testing (until A-levels in high-school) or school inspectors. However, a Finnish child is getting the same quality education no matter which school they go to.
"Without Imagination, there is no Creativity or Innovations."
Basic education creates the conditions for lifelong learning and continuous development, which is an integral part of building a good life. Children should learn how to learn, experiment and make mistakes, not how to take a test.
Formal schooling in Finland does not begin until age 7, when children are considered to be ready, motivated and eager to learn. Not only science, technology, maths, literacy and language subjects, but also art, music, physical education, textile and wood work are considered important in education.
Childhood, play and playful learning are highly valued in Finnish education. Whilst playing children get to practice their skills and imagination. Without imagination, there will be no creativity or future innovations.