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Why Finland's Educational System Is Dominating the World Stage?

Kavya enjoys unveiling prismatic horizons of education. She likes reading about practices utilised to ensure universalisation of literacy.



Finland is a top ranking country in terms of happiness, stability, gender equality, safety and education. It ranks as one of the top country in education by Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and is often regarded as a 'miracle of education'.

Certainly, this Nordic nation offers more than serene beauty and is seen to outperform in several indicators of freedom, equality and children’s well being.

OECD Report: Teacher policy and practice, Insight from PISA study


Finnish society is perceived to develop education in a systematic manner by making modifications in crucial and fundamental concepts that has resulted into complete revolutionization of their educational system.

Further, appreciation of common sense and its applicability in creating a holistic teaching environment has given Finns an edge to lead for equity over excellence.

Irrefutably, the good results were not achieved overnight; rather it took them decades to emerge in their full fledged form.

The Global Competitiveness Report 2014-15


Finland’s consecutive claiming a top spot in educational scenario has made it obligatory for experts to research what is making education in this country so special.

Here’s a close look on why Finland’s schooling is dominating the world stage

1. No Formal Examinations

One of the drawbacks of standardized tests is that students are encouraged to do rote memorization and over a period of time it becomes legitimized. Moreover, educators start teaching with the sole purpose of students passing in an exam. Hence, purpose of education gets diluted and limited to result oriented mindset and school becomes exam factory which produces high level of competition.


Thankfully, Finland ruled out Standardized tests and instead adopted Alternative assessments which are used to determine what students can and cannot do, in contrast to what they do or do not know. It measures student’s competencies via tools such as discussion, quiz, practical work, demonstrations and presentations, thereby ensuring that students are not labeled as ‘average’, ‘D grader’, ‘failure’ or ‘topper’.

However, at the end of upper secondary school students are given option to take National Matriculation Exam on voluntary basis. They are not ranked or compared in this test as well. Perhaps, schools in Finland tend to prepare students for life and not just for an exam.


2. Skillful and Consistent Teachers

Finland works very hard to ensure that the creamiest persons are recruited as teachers. The basic eligibility to be an educator includes a Master’s degree and ongoing research on children’s wellness. The Primary education department accepts 10% of all applications, thereby making this notably rigorous and systematic procedure.

Accordingly, the teachers are highly qualified, well trained, and passionate individuals who have drive to teach. Such esteemed educators are credited by parents, principal and government. They verily have less accountability and more responsibility as it is believed that they know what is best for kid.

Pasi Sahlberg is an educator, author, researcher and policy advisor in Finland


Moreover, the same teacher nurtures a group of students for six years in a row. There is no ‘passing the buck’ onto the next educator because there isn’t one. The system has proven to be helpful for both child and teacher in terms of consistency, individualized attention and in generation of mutual trust and bond. The notion enables a student in achieving goals as their progress is throughout charted by the instructor in the most particularized manner.

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3. Pool of Professional Options to Children

Education in Finland is as free and fair as anything in this advanced society. It aims in supporting the development, learning and holistic growth of child. It is developed in a manner that the quality of education is not judged by level of literacy and numeracy scores alone rather the system is designed to ensure that student’s are gratified in their lives either in academics or in any other profession.

Education System in Finland


The compulsory comprehensive school lasts for 9 years only and after that students can make a choice if they want to join Upper secondary school, Vocational education or would want to join workforce. Hence, students are not jammed to find purpose of their lives in K-12 Curriculum solely; rather they have pool of professional options available at a young age which are equally respected in the society.


4. Child Centric Schools

Finland allows their children to be children, to learn through playing and exploring rather than sitting locked up in a classroom. Primarily, the kids start formal education at the age of seven, when they are actually ready to learn, thereby prioritizing development of motor and cognitive skills first.


Secondly, the school begins between 9:00 and 9:45 AM as Finns believe that children need quality sleep in morning. They typically have three to four 75 minute classes a day with several recesses in between. The breaks give student’s time to digest what they are learning, use their muscles, may be stretch their legs and get some fresh air to let out the ‘wiggles’. Since stagnation of the body leads to stagnation of brain, they allow their children to play and have fun.

At the same time, teachers are given luxury of actually sitting down for few minutes and enjoy a cup of tea with their colleagues and take only three classes a day, which is a fantasy for most teachers across the globe. The overall system allows both students and teachers to be well rested and explore.


5. Non- threatening environment

Finland works on idea that ‘less is more’; the educational system is planned in a manner which involves less homework, exams and stress but more productivity and increased efficiency of both students and teachers.

Perhaps the progress is made through precise, persistent and purposeful pushes. The children feel safe and secure as they do not have to be part of an unhealthy competition of grades, neither do they have to run to and fro from school to home to tuition.

The created non- threatening environment enhances Finnish student’s chance of surpassing other kids as they focus on real tasks at hand.


At the same time, the students are given equal opportunities irrespective of family and earnings background. The schools are government funded, so it doesn’t matter if a child belongs to higher or low income level group or if he lives in a posh or remote locality.

Despite of these factors the children are given same opportunities, thereby allowing parents and children to be worry free regarding student’s admission and his educational course and structure.



In recent years, Finland has made headlines for having special educational program. The above mentioned principles act as an attribute for it being, one of the top finishers in worlds best educational systems.

The country has set an example for its excellence by proving healthy balance between school life and other activities is possible. It can be said that William Doyle was right when she quoted, “I have seen the school of tomorrow. It is here today, in Finland."

Perhaps all the educators must learn from Finns that independence, exploration, plays and creation inspires children to grow into innovators and we must not block them in our rigid academies rather facilitate them by giving opportunities to be a critical and creative thinkers.

Learn more about Finnish education system by watching a video published by ABC News (Australia)


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Kavya Jain


Kavya Jain (author) on September 09, 2020:

Chitrangada Sharan- Thank you for such a warm welcome.

Appreciate you for reading and sharing your thoughts. I am glad that you liked the hub.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on September 09, 2020:

A well written and informative article about the education system in Finland.

I liked the way you have presented this well researched article. Some valuable points made by you can be used as an example by different countries in their education system.

Thanks for sharing and thanks for the follow. Welcome to HubPages. Wish you great times ahead.

Kavya Jain (author) on September 09, 2020:

Devika Primić - Thanks for your generous comment. If these practices will ever be implemented in India, then it will be a dream come true for many of us. The meaning of education will certainly change in real scenario.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on September 09, 2020:

Kavya Jain This is an interesting and well-researched hub on the Finnish people and the education system. Finland surprised me about the rankings and such a great country to live in. If the system is implemented in India it could be a better approach to learn and improvise.

Kavya Jain (author) on September 08, 2020:

Thank you Priya, your comments are always appreciated. I hope what you are saying comes true in near future.

Priya Aggarwal on September 08, 2020:

Very well said that all Nordic countries are always in top positions, be it any rank released by the top institutions because of the curriculum they provide. If the new education policy of our country is properly implemented we will somewhere reach to its level and it may possible we compete with them for getting top positions in some years. Thankyou for this informative article. Your efforts are laudable.

Kavya Jain (author) on September 08, 2020:

Thank you Pooja, Suhasini, Aditi, Mridul, Sneha, Abhinav and Nishtha for stopping by, I am glad that you all liked the article. The comments are so insightful, really thanks for the value addition. Keep in touch.

Nishtha on September 08, 2020:

Very informative and well explained article. I feel even our country should adopt Finland’s Education System as this can make learning more effective, meaningful and enjoyable for the students.

Abhinav on September 08, 2020:

Well expressed! The words you have chosen are so appropriate. The article makes me wonder that Finland's education system is such a contrast to what we have in India, where marks are the only thing which matters in Schools and Universities and taking test means cramming up all the information a night before and pouring it out in pile of sheets. This is such a narrow approach and we are just products of factories ( School). Hope somewhere in future we are able to take atleast some of the practices of Finland so that coming generations may not become pressure cooker.

Sneha on September 08, 2020:

Awesome hub, very informative and great learnings too! Keep writing.

Mridul on September 07, 2020:

Your blog is an eye opener, it makes me think that when Finland, such a small country can develop largest human capital, what wonders can India do with its second largest population in world. The problem is that we see population as a barrier to our growth rather we should utilize it in our favour and treat population as an asset to our country. We must invest heavily in development of human resources and should actually implement results of researches ongoing.

Aditi on September 07, 2020:

EXCELLENT WRITE-UP!! Finland has by far the best educational system, in my opinion it deserves the reputation for a few more important reasons. Adding to what you have quoted, I want to mention that in Finland there is a general consensus among people that collaboration is better than competition and they tend to work in teams, which is entirely a different case in other countries.

The size of a Finnish class is not large. Unlike Indian teacher working with 35-45 students at a time in Finland each teacher works with 7-8 students only and pay attention to each child's needs. This is real human centric approach. Also, there is free food for children so parents are not busy in morning packing the lunch boxes. There is a lot to learn from Finland not only for India but also for developed countries like USA and UK where education has become commercialised.

Suhasini on September 07, 2020:

Honestly, this article made me want to go to Finland and study there. A free, encouraging environment that focusses on personal interests of students and honing their creativity, instead of reducing education to passing exams, sounds heavenly.

Pooja jain on September 07, 2020:

Great article. Well composed.

The content makes me feel that how wrong we have perceived the idea of education. I wonder if this will ever come true to India. Finland is an excellent example of how schools should be, we must move in this direction.

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