Education in Finland

Education in Finland
Education in Finland
Ministry of Education and Culture
Minister of Education and Science
Minister of Culture and Sport
Jukka Gustafsson
Paavo Arhinmäki
National education budget (2009)
Budget € 11.1 billion (2100 € per capita)
General Details
Primary Languages Finnish and Swedish
System Type National
Current system since 1970s
Literacy (2000)
Total 100
Male 100
Female 100
Total n/a
Primary 99.7% (graduating)
Secondary 66.2% (graduating)
Post Secondary n/a
Secondary diploma 60% ac., 45% voc.
Post-secondary diploma 25% (of pop.)
Secondary and tertiary education divided in academic and vocational systems

The Finnish education system is an egalitarian Nordic system, with no tuition fees and with free meals served to full-time students. The present Finnish education system consists of well-funded and carefully thought out daycare programs (for babies and toddlers) and a one-year "pre-school" (or kindergarten for six-year olds); a nine-year compulsory basic comprehensive school (starting at age seven and ending at the age of sixteen); post-compulsory secondary general academic and vocational education; higher education (University and Polytechnical); and adult (lifelong, continuing) education. The Nordic strategy for achieving equality and excellence in education has been based on constructing a publicly funded comprehensive school system without selecting, tracking, or streaming students during their common basic education.[1] Part of the strategy has been to spread the school network so that pupils have a school near their homes whenever possible or, if this is not feasible, e.g. in rural areas, to provide free transportation to more widely dispersed schools. Inclusive special education within the classroom and instructional efforts to minimize low achievement are also typical of Nordic educational systems.[1]

After their nine-year basic education in a comprehensive school, students at the age of 16 may choose to continue their secondary education in either an academic track (lukio) or a vocational track (ammattikoulu), both of which usually take three years. Tertiary education is divided into university and polytechnic (ammattikorkeakoulu, often translated into English as "university of applied sciences") systems. Only universities award licentiate- and doctoral-level degrees. Formerly, only university graduates could obtain higher (postgraduate) degrees, however, since the implementation of the Bologna process, polytechnic degree holders can now qualify for further academic study by doing additional courses. There are 20 universities and 30 polytechnics in the country.

The Education Index, published with the UN's Human Development Index in 2008, based on data from 2006, lists Finland as 0.993, amongst the highest in the world, tied for first with Denmark, Australia and New Zealand.[2]


Readiness to Learn: The Importance of Quality Early Childhood Education Through Play

In Finland high quality daycare and nursery-kindergarten are considered critical for developing the cooperation and communication skills necessary to prepare young children for lifelong education as well as formal learning of reading and mathematics, which in Finland begins at age seven, so as not to disrupt their childhood.

Finnish early childhood education emphasizes respect for each child’s individuality and the chance for each child to develop as a unique person. Finnish early educators also guide children in the development of social and interactive skills, encouraging them to pay attention to other people’s needs and interests, to care about others, and to have a positive attitude toward other people, other cultures, and different environments. The purpose of gradually providing opportunities for increased independence is to enable all children to take care of themselves as “becoming adults,” to be capable of making responsible decisions, to participate productively in society as an active citizen, and to take care of other people who will need his [or her] help.” [3]

To foster a culture of reading parents of newborn babies are given three books, one for the mother and father, and a baby book for the child, as part of the "maternity package".[4] According to Finnish child development specialist Eeva Hujala, "Early education is the first and most critical stage of lifelong learning. Neurological research has shown that 90% of brain growth occurs during the first five years of life, and 85% of the nerve paths develop before starting school (n. b. At the age of seven in Finland)."[5] "Care" in this context is synonymous with upbringing and is seen as a cooperative endeavor between parents and society to prepare children physically (eating properly, keeping clean) and mentally (communication, social awareness, empathy, and self reflection) before beginning more formal learning at age seven. The idea is that before seven they learn best through play, so by the time they finally get to school they are keen to start learning.

Finland has had access to free universal daycare for children age eight months to five years in place since 1990, and a year of "preschool/kindergarten" at age six, since 1996. "Daycare" includes both full-day childcare centers and municipal playgrounds with adult supervision where parents can accompany the child. The municipality will also pay mothers to stay home and provide "home daycare" for the first three years, if she desires, with occasional visits from a careworker to see that the environment is appropriate.[6] The ratio of adults to children in local municipal childcare centers (either private but subsidized by local municipalities or paid for by municipalities with the help of grants from the central government) is, for children three years old and under: three adults (one teacher and two nurses) for every 12 pupils (or one-to-four); and, for children age three to six: three adults (one teacher and two nurses) for every 20 children (or circa one-to-seven). Payment, where applicable, is scaled to family income and ranges from free to about 200 euros a month maximum.[7] According to Pepa Ódena in these centers, "You are not taught, you learn. The children learn through playing. This philosophy is put into practice in all the schools we visited, in what the teachers say, and in all that one sees."[8]

Early childhood education is not mandatory in Finland, but is used by almost everyone. “We see it as the right of the child to have daycare and pre-school,” explained Eeva Penttilä, of Helsinki’s Education Department. “It’s not a place where you dump your child when you’re working. It’s a place for your child to play and learn and make friends. Good parents put their children in daycare. It’s not related to socio-economic class”.[9]

The focus for kindergarten students is to “learn how to learn”, Ms. Penttilä said. Instead of formal instruction in reading and math there are lessons on nature, animals, and the “circle of life” and a focus on materials- based learning.[9]

Basic Comprehensive education

Education in Finland
Academic degrees Vocational degrees Age
doctor employment
master Polytechnic(new)   +2-3
bachelor Polytechnic   +3-4
upper secondary school vocational school 18-19
comprehensive school 15
pre-school 6

The basic compulsory educational system in Finland is the nine-year comprehensive school (Finnish peruskoulu, Swedish grundskola, "basic school"), for which school attendance is mandatory (homeschooling is allowed, but rare). There are no "gifted" programs, and the more able children are expected to help those who are slower to catch on.

Schools up to university level are almost exclusively funded and administered by municipalities of Finland (local government). There are few private schools. The founding of a new private comprehensive school requires a political decision by the Council of State. When founded, private schools are given a state grant comparable to that given to a municipal school of the same size. However, even in private schools, the use of tuition fees is strictly prohibited, and selective admission is prohibited, as well: private schools must admit all its pupils on the same basis as the corresponding municipal school. In addition, private schools are required to give their students all the social entitlements that are offered to the students of municipal schools. Because of this, existing private schools are mostly faith-based or Steiner schools, which are comprehensive by definition.

Teachers, who are fully unionized, follow state curriculum guidelines but are accorded a great deal of autonomy as to methods of instruction and are even allowed to choose their own textbooks. Classes are small, seldom more than twenty.[10] From the outset pupils are expected to learn two languages in addition to the language of the school (usually Finnish or Swedish), and students in grades one through nine spend from four to eleven periods each week taking classes in art, music, cooking, carpentry, metalwork, and textiles.[11] Small classes, insisted upon by the teachers' union, appear to be associated with student achievement, especially in science.[12] Inside the school, the atmosphere is relaxed and informal, and the buildings are so clean that students often wear socks and no shoes. Outdoor activities are stressed, even in the coldest weather; and homework is minimal to leave room for extra-curricular activities.[13] In addition to taking music in school, for example, many students attend the numerous state-subsidized specialized music schools after class[14] where for a small fee they learn to play an instrument as a hobby and study basic solfège and music theory using methods originated in Hungary by Kodály and further developed by the Hungarian-born Finn Csaba Szilvay and others.[15]

Reading for pleasure is actively encouraged (Finland publishes more children's books than any other country). Television stations show foreign programs in the original languages with subtitles, so that in Finland children even read while watching TV.[16]

During the first years of comprehensive school, grading may be limited to verbal assessments rather than formal grades. The start of numerical grading is decided locally. Most commonly, pupils are issued a report card twice a year: at the ends of the autumn and spring terms. There are no high-stakes tests.

Grades are given on scale from 4 to 10. In individual exams, but not on school year report or basic education certificate, it is also possible to divide the scale further with '½', which represents a half grade, and '+' and '–', which represent one-fourth a grade better or inferior. For example, the order is "9 < 9+ < 9½ < 10– < 10". The grade '10+' can also be awarded for a perfect performance with extra effort by the student.

If a comprehensive school pupil receives the grade 4 in one subject at the end of the spring term, they must show by a separate examination at the end of summer term that they have improved in the subject. If the pupil receives multiple failing grades, they may have to retake the year, though it is considered far preferable to provide a struggling student with extra help and tutoring. In the rare cases where a student is retained, the decision is made by the teachers and the headmaster after interviewing the pupil and the parents.

Comprehensive school students enjoy a number of social entitlements, such as school health care and a free lunch everyday, which covers about a third of the daily nutritional need.[17] In addition, pupils are entitled to receive free books and materials and free school trips (or even housing) in the event that they have a long or arduous trip to school.

Upper Secondary education

Upper secondary education begins at 16 or 17 and lasts three to four years (roughly corresponding to the last two years of American high school plus what in the USA would be a two-year Community or Junior College). It is not compulsory. Finnish upper secondary students may choose whether to undergo occupational training to develop vocational competence and/or to prepare them for a polytechnic institute or to enter an academic upper school focusing on preparation for university studies and post-graduate professional degrees in fields such as law, medicine, science, education, and the humanities. Admissions to academic upper schools are based on GPA, and in some cases academic tests and interviews. For example, during the year 2007, 51 % of the age group were enrolled in the academic upper school.[18]

The system is not rigid, however and vocational school graduates may formally qualify for polytechnic or, in rare cases, university education; and academic secondary school graduates may enroll into vocational education programs. It is also possible to attend both vocational and academic secondary schools at the same time. Tuition is free, and vocational and academic students are entitled to school health care and a free lunch. However, they must buy their own books and materials.

Upon graduation, vocational school graduates receive a vocational school certificate. Academic upper secondary school graduates receive both secondary school certification and undergo a nationally graded matriculation examination. This was originally the entrance examination to the University of Helsinki, and its high prestige survives to this day. Students in special programs may receive a vocational school certificate and take the matriculation examination (kaksoistutkinto) or all of the three certifications (kolmoistutkinto). Approximately 83 % of the upper academic school students, or 42 % of the age group, complete the matriculation examination.[19]

Polytechnic institutes require school certification for admission, whereas the matriculation examination is more important in university admissions. However, some tertiary education programmes have their own admission examinations, and many use a mixture of both.

Advanced curricula in the upper academic school

In mathematics, the second national language, and foreign languages, a student can choose their curriculum from different levels. The choice of level must be done both in the beginning of the school to select the appropriate courses, and again when registering for the matriculation exam, to select the appropriate exam. These two choices are not directly linked, but commonly students keep the level the same for the matriculation exam. Common exception to this rule of thumb is whenever a student has barely finished the higher level courses and is unsure of their performance in the matriculation exam. In those cases, a student may elect to take the easier exam.

In mathematics, the advanced level is in practice a pre-requisite for the more competitive university science programs, such as those of the universities of technology, other university mathematical science programs, and medicine.[20] In mathematics, 20 % of the matriculation examinees take the advanced level.[21] The nation-wide matriculation exam together with entirely percentile-based grading provides an easy way to objectively classify each student based on their mathematical ability, regardless of the year when the exam was taken. For example, assuming that the best mathematical students are selected first to the upper academic school and then to the advanced mathematics curriculum, the students achieving laudatur would comprise the mathematically best 0.4 % of the age group, comparable to 800 SAT mathematics section.[22] The percentile equality does not, however, mean that the absolute level of a laudatur student in the advanced mathematics in Finland is equal to that of an 800 SAT student in the USA, due to differences in the mean quality of the population.

Tertiary education

There are two sectors in the tertiary education: universities (yliopisto, universitet) and polytechnics (ammattikorkeakoulu, yrkeshögskola, or AMK/YH for short). Admissions are based on gymnasium final GPA, the national matriculation examination and entrance examinations. The selection process is fully transparent, merit-based and objective; there are no application essays, no human factor in selection, no underrepresented minority support, and no weight on extracurricular activities. Moreover, the entrance examinations are rarely long lists of multiple-answer questions, but smaller amount of longer and more complicated questions that are supposed to test more than memorization and quick mechanical problem solving. Therefore, the selection process is much different than for example in the US or India.

The focus for universities is research, and they give a more theoretical education. The polytechnics focus on practical skills and seldom pursue research, but they do engage in industry development projects. For example, physicians are university graduates, whereas registered nurses are polytechnic graduates. (However, universities do award advanced degrees in Nursing Science.) The vocational schools and polytechnics are governed by municipalities, or, in special cases, by private entities. (As an exception to the rule, Police College is governed by the Ministry of the Interior.) All Finnish universities, on the other hand, are owned by the state. A bachelor's degree takes about three–four years. Depending on the programme, this may be the point of graduation, but it is usually only an intermediate step towards the master's degree. A polytechnic degree, on the other hand, takes about 3.5–4.5 years. A degree from a polytechnic is not, however, considered legally equivalent to a lower university degree in the Finnish system — even though translated into English as "bachelor". Outside of Finland, polytechnic degrees are generally accepted as lower university degrees.

Graduates from polytechnics are able to continue their studies by applying to Master's degree programmes in universities. These take two years in general, but the polytechnic graduates are often required to undertake perhaps a year's worth of additional studies to bring them up to the level of university graduates. The Bologna process has progressively lowered the amount of required additional studies and in some cases no additional studies are required. After polytechnic graduates have completed three year's work experience in their field, they are also qualified to apply for higher polytechnic education programmes which are work-oriented — not academic. They are translated into English as "master's degree programmes" - the degree awarded is not identical to but in principle considered to be on the same level as a master's degree. Lower university degree graduates are also qualified to apply, but with additional studies. The higher polytechnic degree programme takes two years and can be undertaken in conjunction with regular work. After the higher polytechnic degree, the remaining degrees (Licentiate and Doctor) are available only in universities. The higher polytechnic degree does not qualify its recipient for graduate studies at doctoral level.[citation needed]

The equivalence discussed above is only relevant when applying for public sector jobs.

Attendance is compulsory in primary, but mostly voluntary in universities and polytechnics. No tuition fees are collected. However, since the 1990s there have been plans at government level to introduce tuition fees to students from outside the European Union/EEA. The students' organisations have opposed those plans. In universities, membership in the students' union is compulsory. Students' unions of polytechnics are similarly recognized in the legislation, but membership is voluntary and does not include special university student health care (which is organised and partly financed by the students' unions). Finnish students are entitled to a student benefit, which may be revoked if there is a persistent lack of progress in the studies. The benefit is often insufficient and thus students usually work to help fund their studies. State-guaranteed student loans are also available.

Some universities provide professional degrees in such fields as engineering and medicine. They have additional requirements in addition to merely completing the studies, such as demonstrations of competence in practice.


  • Lääketieteen lisensiaatti, medicine licentiat, Licentiate of Medicine. A Bachelor of Medicine (lääketieteen kandidaatti, medicine kandidat) is allowed to conduct clinical work under the supervision of senior medical staff. There is no Master's degree, and the licentiate degree does not require a full doctoral dissertation. The equivalent of a Medical Doctor in the U.S. sense is therefore not called "doctor", but licentiate. The research or "professor's degree", including a full dissertation, is called "Doctor of Medicine" (lääketieteen tohtori, medicine doktorsexamen).
  • Diplomi-insinööri, diplomingenjör, is a six-year programme of 300 ECTS, which is comparable to a Master of Science with the Bachelor in the same field in Anglo-phone countries. However, included in this is a 30 ECTS "diploma project", which is a real-life engineering or science project taking about six months to a year full-time work. Its completion demonstrates professional competence in addition to the necessary amount of education. Notice: this programme, in practice, does not interoperate with the polytechnic insinööri (amk) (ingenjör (YH)) programme.

After the master's degree, there are two further post-graduate degrees — an intermediate postgraduate degree, called Licentiate, and the Doctoral (Doctorate) degree. A Licenciate programme has the same amount of theoretical education as a Doctor, but its dissertation work has fewer requirements. On the other hand, the requirements for a doctoral dissertation are a little bit higher than in other countries.

The most typical Finnish doctoral degree is Doctor of Philosophy (filosofian tohtori, filosofie doktorsexamen). However, universities of technology award the title Doctor of Science, tekniikan tohtori, teknologie doktorsexamen and there are several branch-specific titles, e.g., in medicine lääketieteen tohtori, medicine doktorsexamen, in art taiteen tohtori, and in social sciences valtiotieteen tohtori, politices doktorsexamen.

Adult education

Completing secondary school on a vocational programme with full classes on a three-year curriculum provides a formal qualification for further studies. However, it may prove necessary to obtain post-secondary education before being admitted to a university, as the entrance examinations require a relatively high level of knowledge. Post-secondary education is provided by municipal schools or independent 'adult education centres', which can give either vocational education or teaching at comprehensive or upper secondary school levels. It is possible to obtain the matriculation diploma, or to better the comprehensive school grades, in these programmes. A new trade can also be learned by an adult at an adult education centre (aikuiskoulutuskeskus, vuxenutbildningscenter), for example, if structural change of the economy has made the old trade redundant.

In universities, the "Open University" (Finnish: Avoin yliopisto, Swedish: öppet universitet) programme enables people without student status to enroll in individual university courses. There are no requirements, but there is a modest tuition fee (e.g., 60 euros per course). Polytechnics have their own similar programme (Finnish: Avoin ammattikorkeakoulu, Swedish: öppen högskola). While "Open University" students cannot pursue studies towards a degree, they may, after passing a sufficient number of separately determined courses with a sufficiently high grade point average, be eligible for transfer into an undergraduate degree program.

A third branch of adult education is formed by the so called vapaa sivistystyö, the "Free Education". This is formed by the partially state-funded, independent educational institutes offering diverse courses varying in length and academic level. The purpose of the "Free Education" is not to provide professional or degree-oriented education but to "support the multi-faceted development of personality, the ability to act in the community and to pursue the fulfilment of democracy, equality and diversity in the society."[23] Historically, the "Free education" stems from the late 19th century efforts to educate the general populace with little previous academic experience.

The "Free Education" is offered by[24]

  • 206 kansalaisopisto or työväenopisto (Citizens' or Workers' Institutes)
  • 88 kansanopisto (People's Institutes)
  • 14 Sports' training centres (Finnish: liikunnan koulutuskeskus)
  • 20 Summer universities (Finnish: kesäyliopisto)
  • 11 Study Centres (Finnish: opintokeskus)

The most common type of "Free Education" is a kansalaisopisto, sometimes called työväenopisto for historical reasons. These are mostly evening-type municipal institutions offering language, handicraft and humanities courses. The academic level varies strongly, and many courses do not require any requisite knowledge. The kansanopistos, on the other hand, are boarding-schools, often maintained by associations with either a strong ideological or religious mission. Also here, the academic level varies strongly. In all these institutions, the courses carry a modest tuition. The Sports' training centres are institutions for the professional or semi-professional sportsmen's training, while Summer universities and study centres are auxiliary bodies for the organization of Free Education.

Future prospects

The ongoing Bologna Process blurs the distinction between vocational and academic qualifications. In some fields, new postgraduate degrees have been introduced. Co-operation between the different systems is rising and some integration will occur (although not without a substantial amount of pressure). This results from not only the Bologna Process but also the goal of Finnish politicians — to educate the vast majority of Finns to a higher degree (ca. 60–70% of each annual cohort enter higher education).[25]

In recent years, a cut in the number of new student places has often been called for by the economic sphere, as well as trade and student unions, because of an ongoing trend of rising academic unemployment, which is interpreted as a result of the steep increase in student places in higher education in the 1990s. In particular, some polytechnic (AMK/YH) degrees have suffered inflation. In a reflection of this current belief, the Ministry of Education has recently decreed a nationwide cut of 10% in new student places in polytechnics to be applied starting from 2007 and 2008. It is still largely undecided whether (and when) some of those cuts could be redistributed to areas in need of a more highly educated work force. In 2001 and 2002, university graduates had a 3.7% unemployment rate, and polytechnic graduates had 8%, which is on a par with the general unemployment rate (see the OECD report).

An increase in vocational school student places might be preferred, as a shortage of basic workforce such as plumbers and construction workers is widely acknowledged in Finland. It should also be noted that retiring age groups are bigger than the ones entering higher education in Finland at present and for quite some time into the foreseeable future. If the current number of student places were kept unchanged to the year 2020, for example, Eastern Finland would have enough student places for 103% of the estimated size of the age group 19-21.

Higher Education system restructuring

Due to globalization and increasing competition for diminishing younger age groups, system-wide restructuring has been called for by the Ministry of Education. Since 2006 all institutions of higher education have been sharing methods of cooperation. The total number of institutions is expected to drop significantly within 10–15 years.

The process within universities is led by the University of Kuopio and the University of Joensuu, which will form a new University of Eastern Finland in 2010.[26] In Helsinki, three local universities, namely Helsinki University of Technology, Helsinki School of Economics and University of Art and Design Helsinki, merged to a new Aalto University on August 1, 2009. Also several polytechnics have announced mergers (such as Haaga and Helia, which merged into Haaga-Helia in 2007).

New methods of cooperation such as consortia and federations have been introduced within universities (e.g., University of Turku and Turku School of Economics Consortium[27]). Partnerships between universities and polytechnics are also developing (e.g., the University of Kuopio and Savonia University of Applied Sciences formed the Northern Savonia Higher Education Consortium[28]). In general, such system-wide change closely follows the pattern established in Central Europe and the United States and Spain and Hungary.


In 2011, documentary filmmaker, Bob Compton, and Harvard researcher, Dr. Tony Wagner, made research looking into the Finnish school system and its excellence. The result of their research is the film, "The Finland Phenomenon: Inside the World’s Most Surprising School System".[29]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Ari Antikainen & Anne Luukkainen of the Department of Sociology, University of Joensuu, Finland, "Twenty- five Years of Educational Reform Initiatives in Finland".
  2. ^ "Human development indices". Human Development Reports. 2008-12-18. Retrieved 2010-02-16. 
  3. ^ Anneli Niikko, "Finnish Daycare: Caring, Education and Instruction", in Nordic Childhoods and Early Education: Philosophy, Research, Policy and Practice in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, Series: International Perspectives on Educational Policy, Research (Information Age Publishing Inc., 2006), 141
  4. ^ According to Eeva Penttilä, Director of International Relations for the Finland Education Department (City of Helsinki), "When a child is born in Finland, every mother gets a box (maternity package) from the Mother Care Center which consists of the first bed the baby has...[and]... three books. There is a book for the mother, a book for the father, and a book for the baby. Of course the baby book has...mainly those faces that babies easily can see. This indicates to the parents that for this new member of the family, you have to read. Reading to the baby is so important. I was amazed when I read somewhere that when you consider our population, we produce more children's books than any other country does. One thing you can’t do here is to buy good education for your child. Everything is free including universities. Every child is a self made person in this kind of a system because whatever your background is, you can make it but if you don’t make it, whatever your father is, you will drop down because we do not have this elite. The school meals are also free... Education isn’t even free in China. If I count the taxation from my salary, it goes somewhere about 60 percent. I am a happy taxpayer because my grandchildren get everything they need for free.” Eeva Penttilä, quoted in Leo R. Sandy, "Education in Finland", New Hampshire Journal of Learning Vol 10 (April 2007).
  5. ^ Hujala continues, "Early education has also been shown to be economically and socially beneficial. The long term benefit of early education exceeds the economic costs. In addition, children’s participation in early childhood education is a significant promoter of social equality (Kajonoja, 2005; Woodhead, 2004). The effectiveness of early childhood education on both on children’s social and cognitive development has been demonstrated. For instance, the results of the PISA of 2003 demonstrated the long-term effects of early childhood education on school achievement, including the fact that children who had participated in early childhood education performed significantly better in mathematics in secondary school. French research, on the other hand, has demonstrated a connection between participation in early childhood education and experiences of success in the lower school (El Pan-European Structure Policy on ECE [2006]). The connection between early childhood education and school success was highly significant among children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Thus, early childhood education is a significant source for enhancing social equality. Longitudinal studies have demonstrated that the effectiveness of early childhood education lies in its ability to promote children’s communication and cooperation skills. See Eeva Hujala, “The Development of Early Childhood as an Academic Discipline in Finland”, Nordic Early Childhood Education Research, Vol. 1, no. 1 (2008).
  6. ^ Tom Burrage, “Why Do Finland’s Schools Get the Best Results?” BBC News
  7. ^ Pepa Ódena, "Finland Early Childhood education".
  8. ^ Ódena, "Finland Early Childhood Education", cit.
  9. ^ a b Maria Jiménez, “Early Education’s Top Model: Finland”, The Toronto Globe and Mail
  10. ^ The Hechinger Report, "What We Can Learn From Finland: A Q&A with Dr. Pasi Sahlberg" (December 9, 2010).
  11. ^ "These classes provide natural venues for learning math and science, nurture critical cooperative skills, and implicitly cultivate respect for people who make their living working with their hands," Samuel E. Abrams, "The Children Must Play: What the United States can learn from Finland about Education Reform", The New Republic (January 28, 2011).
  12. ^ "In grades seven through nine, for instance, classes in science—the subject in which Finnish students have done especially well on PISA—are capped at 16 so students may do labs each lesson," Samuel E. Abrams, "The Children Must Play" (2011), cit.
  13. ^ Asked about the many hours Asian students spend in school, Dr. Pasi Sahlberg, of Finland's Education Department told Justin Snider of the Hechinger Report (December 9, 2010 : "There’s no evidence globally that doing more of the same [instructionally] will improve results. An equally relevant argument would be, let’s try to do less. Increasing time comes from the old industrial mindset. The important thing is ensuring school is a place where students can discover who they are and what they can do. It’s not about the amount of teaching and learning."
  14. ^ Graeme Smith, Head of Croydon Music and Arts, "Lessons in Education and Music from Finland".
  15. ^ The Kodály method was adopted enthusiastically in the 1950s. "Nowadays, the Kodály method is not the predominant method anymore, because music teachers have become more familiar with other methods and philosophies as well. But the Kodály philosophy still affects the point of view that many Finnish music educators have. Kodály's basic principles were as follows:
    • Music is a prime necessity of life.
    • Only music of the highest quality is good enough for children.
    • Music education must begin nine months before the birth of the child.
    • Music instruction must be a part of general education for everyone.
    • The ear, the eye, the hand, and the heart must all be trained together.
    Different methods do not, however, exclude each other. They have different approaches to teaching music, and they emphasize different things: for example, Kodály emphasizes singing and purity of tone, Orff playing instruments, Suzuki listening, and Dalcroze learning by moving. Therefore, all of them have something to give, and they can be used together (Säätelä)". Soili Hietaniemi, "Early Childhood Music Education in Finland," 2005. In addition to these after-school programs, these institutes also offer music playschools for babies and toddlers from the age of three months and up, which are quite popular with music-loving Finnish parents. In Finnish music education, as in academics, the stress is fostering in pupils above all a love and enjoyment of the subject matter.
  16. ^ In Finland, “Reading to children, telling them folk tales, and going to the library are all high status activities,” Leo R. Sandy, "Education in Finland" (2007), cit.
  17. ^ Nutrition in Finland
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ Vapaa sivistystyö. 2007-05-04. Retrieved 2009-07-18.(Finnish)
  24. ^ Vapaan sivistystyön kehittämisohjelma 2009-2012 Opetusministeriö. 2009-3-10. Retrieved 2010-8-16. (Finnish)
  25. ^ "Higher Education in Finland". The International Education Site.
  26. ^ University of Eastern Finland (
  27. ^ Turusta tieteen huippukeskittymä. University of Turku. (Finnish)
  28. ^ Pohjois-Savon korkeakoulukonsortio (Northern Savonia Higher Education Consortium). (Finnish)
  29. ^ "The Finland Phenomenon: Inside the World’s Most Surprising School System", Forbes, May. 2 2011

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