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Effecting Change, Finland's Education System, Good Teaching, Government Policy, Research on Education

Pasi Sahlberg part 1 – A Dream Finnish Line

how_finland_became_an_educational_leader-460x307Today I had the fortune to spend two hours listening to Pasi Sahlberg talk about education.

He didn’t rant, he didn’t rave, in fact he didn’t even sound impassioned – here just talked sense.  He didn’t have notes or a crib sheet, and he didn’t have a political agenda – he just spoke about something he understands well.  It was really quite something.

The talk covered so many very interesting points that I’m breaking it up into a number of shorter blogs to make it digestible.

Here I will just outline some facts about Finland’s education system, without commentary, and leave it to you to think about and comment on them.

Facts About The Finnish Education System

  • All education is 100% publicly funded in Finland.
  • All school materials (books, pencils, etc) are provided and are free.
  • Dental and health care is free.
  • Travel to and from school is free.
  • Compulsory schooling starts the year the child turns 7 years old.
  • Students have the same teacher from year 1 to year 6, then specialist teachers for the final 3 years.
  • There is no testing until children are 15 years old.
  • Only the core curricula are designed for nationwide application. They leave freedom for local education authorities to arrange teaching in the best way suited to local circumstances.
  • There are no national standards.
  • Every child is fed a hot 3 course meal every day at school.
  • Every school has a doctor, a nurse, and a counsellor on site.
  • Teachers have less student contact time and more teacher-teacher contact time.
  • The schools day is shorter.
  • School is 150 days per year.
  • All teachers have a masters degree and a further teaching qualification.
  • There are no school inspections in Finland.

Finland is consistently in the top 5 countries in the PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) lists.  These are the December 2010 figures:

Finland’s results: score points   OECD countries all participants
Reading literacy  536  2nd  3rd
Mathematical literacy  541  2nd  6th
Scientific literacy  554  1st  2nd

Makes you think, doesn’t it.

Read Part Two Here.



Pasi Sahlber’s talk at Bayfield School, Auckland, NZ, 5th October 2012.

About Save Our Schools NZ

"One needs to be slow to form convictions, but once formed they must be defended against the heaviest odds." Gandhi


6 thoughts on “Pasi Sahlberg part 1 – A Dream Finnish Line

  1. To quote from a wonderful musical … “Wouldn’t it be luverly!!” 🙂


    Posted by Deb Mitchell | October 14, 2012, 8:25 am


  1. Pingback: Pasi Sahlberg part 1 – A Dream Finnish Line | Education NZ | - October 5, 2012

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