Is it feasible to implement the Finnish education system in India?
Every parent looks for the best school or college for their kid. If you were to Google the country with the best education system in the world, the name at the top would surely be Finland.
In the 1960s, Finland’s report and the index of the quality of education and students were like any other country in the world. The Finnish Government realized the importance of quality education and thus made revolutionary reforms.
Reforms which took Finland, from the middle of the pack to the top of the world. Reforms which would make the students of Finland most sort after in the world. Reforms which would make other countries question their own education system and practices and Reforms which made us write this article and you to read it. It is said we must learn good things from others.
So if the Finnish Education system is supposedly so good then why doesn’t India apply the same; after all India lacks somewhat behind the education system. It is easier said than done. This article discusses the essence of the Finnish Education System in India and what challenges there exists to apply the same in India.
The Finnish Education System
The Finnish education system is unlike any education system we have experienced or read about. Anyone reading about it will surely be surprised. The Finnish education system is the one that almost resembles the perfect version of an education system which is supported by its high ranking, world reports, and high student quality.
- Finnish kids do not start their education until the age of 7.
2. The school timings are only 20 hours per week (for the start, it increases according to the age and class of the kids. Still, they are no more than 5 hours per day for the highest classes.
3. After every class, there’s a break of over 15 minutes for the students to relax and freshen up for the next classes. They are free to roam, play, walk, or just chill with friends.
4. The homework for every kid, irrespective of the age or grade is no more than 20 minutes combined for all subjects.
5. There are no standardized tests in Finnish Schools. Just regular class tests to judge the progression of ideas in the kids. The exams are more practical rather than theoretical. The student does not have to give any standard county-wide exam till the age of 17. (although this exam is also voluntary).
6. The job of teaching is a highly respected and regarded profession. The standards for being appointed a teacher in any primary school are also colossal. Every primary teacher must possess at least a Master’s degree.
7. There is no standard curriculum for every school. The curriculum of the school is decided by the teachers.
8. There is great autonomy in the operation of schools. There’s very little to obsolete political or governmental involvement.
9. One of the major attributes of the Finnish Education System is that all education is free for the citizens of Finland. Every school is state-run and the fees are adjusted in the tax collected from the citizens.
10. All the books, libraries, and other required materialistic needs are fulfilled free of cost.
11. There are options for selecting our own path through the education system based on the interest of the students. Finnish students have the option of not go for a bachelor’s degree at the universities and instead opt for vocational training at the choice of their professions. Jobs are not handed out based on degrees in Finland.
12. The students are encouraged to involve in other activities along with academics.
13. The students have more practical than theory lectures.
14. The education system does not exist to make profits for the government, but to make Finnish people acquire all the basic and necessary skills and also the specialization skills in the choice of their subjects.
Finnish Education System in India
We are pretty sure we got you to compare your school days whilst reading the points above. For Indians, it is preposterous to think that such a system exists and is successful too. India and Finland are two very different countries with different cultures, different mindsets, and different levels of trust but most importantly different sizes and populations. It is vastly evident that it is high time that the Indian Education system got certain reforms to make it relevant again in this fast-paced world.
The question here is this, can a country like India adopt an immensely regarded and successful system like the Finnish Education System. Will this system be applicable in the Indian scenario? Will society accept this system? But most importantly will this system bring about any change in the minds of the students and be helpful to them?
1. Public versus Private School
When we compare India & Finland in terms of population (140 crores to 55 lakh) and the average income per capita of Indians and Finnish (USD 5350 v/s USD 29943), we can easily deduce that the Finnish Government has way too much money for a small population and thus can afford to invest in quality public schools.
The Indian government is lacking the money to even cater to the basic needs of 1.4 billion people so having the idea that the government should fund the fees of every child of the country is ludicrous.
It is a fact that schools in Finland are not run for money-making purposes because there are no private schools in the country. It is very easy for any parent to pick the right school for his/her child, they simply enroll them in the school of the neighborhood. Every school has the same facilities, the same level of teaching staff and overall same of everything, again because these are centrally funded. This particular is impossible to do in India. India has to have private schools because of lack of money and obviously, these schools will differ in terms of fees and thus the facilities offered.
2. School Periods/ Breaks/Homework & School Life
Do you remember the feeling you had while in the class that the first period of the day was fun and you actually understood what was taught and by the end of the day, the last period, you are so tired that your mind refuses to register any new information that is being passed to you, no matter how interesting they are?
The importance of having a break is obsolete in the Indian Education system. There are hours of periods of a single subject followed by periods.
The Finnish education system noticed this vital flaw in the system and thus made suitable arrangements so that students have ample time to relax and rejuvenate their brains for the class of the next subject. This is the reason why the Finnish education system has lesser school hours compared to any other system because the grasping power of the students is very high due to the presence of breaks.
The homework system is also based around the same. The Finnish Education System believes more in interactive based teaching methods rather than just making students stand up and read out paragraphs to the whole class in ascending order of their sitting arrangement.
The lectures are much more interactive and visual, by the usage of films, videos, and GDs, thus making the learning more fun rather than making it a burden. The homework is related mostly to researching the topics covered in class.
India can surely adopt this. Having breaks in between classes is something that every school must consider. Also, encouragement and suitable training must be given to the teachers to change the style of their teaching by using more interaction and visuals rather than just reading out loud.
If you may remember, periods like dance, music, art, etc. become obsolete once a child progresses through higher classes. S/He is burdened with just studies and works and assignments. If we are to adopt the Finnish Education System in India, we must do away with this mindset.
3. Exams/ Competitions and Afterschool Life
The exam culture in India focusses more on the ability to recall and memorize answers to a fixed number of questions. This very thing hinders the understanding quotient of the students and promotes mugging up rather than actually understanding the real meaning behind it. If we were to adopt the Finnish Education System in India, we must change the exam pattern of the system. Regular tests must replace the yearly exams. The Finnish students do not compete with one another which is just the opposite of what happens in India, where your score is used to judge your intelligence.
It is known to everyone exactly how much the standardized competitions like boards, NEET, JEE, etc. create mental pressure on the students. However, unlike Finland, India cannot remove these exams just because of the sheer volume of applicants.
Students must be forced to first obtain a degree and then think about what they have to in life. The Finnish Education System in India model must change the mindset of the people too.
So, Can you implement the Finnish education system in India?
If you are a smartphone manufacturer and your competitor has launched a phone with brand new and different features and is very successful, you cannot just copy it and hope it’ll do well in your territory as well. What you must do is, get inspiration from it, do the proper market survey, and make suitable changes according to your market. The same is with the Finnish Education System in India. You can expect to copy the entire system and wait for India to reach the top of the charts.
India has its own set of challenges and drawbacks. Though it is a fact that adopting the Finnish Education System in India is impossible however it is not the case that we cannot take inspiration from it and update our system, make the necessary changes and take the first step in obtaining a great education system for the future of India, a system from which, hopefully, one day, Finland takes inspiration and update its system to continue this perpetual cycle of improvements.