Education in Finland

February 10, 2012

Success in Finnish schools

In December 29, 2011 the Atlantic published an article on education in Finland. I found it interesting and it provided me with much food for thought so I am sharing it with you. If you have any thoughts please be sure and share them at the bottom of the post. If you’d like to read the article online or send it to someone else here is the link to it http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/12/what-americans-keep-ignoring-about-finlands-school-success/250564/

Here is the beginning of the article

Everyone agrees the United States needs to improve its education system dramatically, but how? One of the hottest trends in education reform lately is looking at the stunning success of the West’s reigning education superpower, Finland. Trouble is, when it comes to the lessons that Finnish schools have to offer, most of the discussion seems to be missing the point.

The small Nordic country of Finland used to be known — if it was known for anything at all — as the home of Nokia, the mobile phone giant. But lately Finland has been attracting attention on global surveys of quality of life — Newsweek ranked it number one last year — and Finland’s national education system has been receiving particular praise, because in recent years Finnish students have been turning in some of the highest test scores in the world.


  1. Alan Lishness from the Gulf of Maine Research Institute gave a great TEDxDirigo talk on this very subject last fall: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6scW2p90ps

  2. Thank you for sharing this link Ian!

  3. It is difficult in one article to analyze all the reasons that the Finnish students achieve academically, but I would add that it is a very child centered society. They (my relatives) still remember the losses of the recent wars & especially the Winter War. When you approach churches, there is a cemetery on each side. In some cases, the village lost almost all, or indeed all of their young men. I was told that homes everywhere opened their doors to take in the displaced Karelian Finns who chose their country over their possessions & homes (The choice given to them by the Russians).
    When a child is born, either the mother or father is paid to stay home and nurture the child during infancy. My cousin, studying the tourist industry, was paid to come to America to work in the hotels.
    Their past still influences their present and children are valued the most.
    They are proud people who have learned not to depend on others, and have a very strong work ethic.

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