Dozens of children crammed into one classroom with thick books sprawled across their wooden desks, their heavy heads resting on their hands, and their eyes drooping. This is a classic picture of schools worldwide, except for a select few, including Finnish schools. A Finnish school principal declared something alien to almost all educational cultures across the world, “I want the children to play!”. What an odd remark, however, this seems to be the norm in Finland, which also produces the best results in reading, math, and science globally. How is that so?
It is worth considering that the rest of the schools across the world produce neither the top results nor completely happy and satisfied students while a country where a principal wants her students to play is one of the best in the world. Maybe the rest of the world needs to do its homework. Finnish teachers require a master’s degree in education and are well paid and compensated for their services. Moreover, they engage in holistic teaching activities, individually focussing on each child’s needs. If one method does not work, they discuss it with their colleagues and introduce newer teaching activities.
Secondly, Finland does not have any standardized testing. Instead, they have just one test at the end of school which helps with university placements, and that test is also engaging and promotes equity. There are no lists of top schools or teachers made public in Finland since they view education as a collaboration instead of a competition. This does not foster any animosity and ill-being as everyone receives standard education despite income levels, something Pakistan is also aspiring to achieve. Furthermore, Finnish children start school at the age of 7, so they do not miss critical childhood development years chained in classrooms. All of these factors make Finland’s students extremely competent and happy.