School is meant to open minds and to create roads for children who first step in a classroom and hold a pen in their hands under the guidance of teachers who are supposed to be their greatest help in learning new and useful things. However, the idea that school must be a positive place has faded among all the failures of students who do not find their calling and spend their school years learning useless stuff. With this in mind, Finland has developed an education model designed to offer students what they really want by allowing them to choose for themselves.
Finland promotes the freedom of choice
For Finns teachers, school is the center of the community and its role is to provide not only educational services but social services as well. The Finnish education model values the personal motivation and the pursuit of an identity by helping children find their personal interest. This is why the Finnish school day is relatively short compared to other countries, only 600 hours in class to 1100 hours spent in the US, and the activities happen outside of the classroom during school-sponsored extracurricular classes. A third of the classes Finnish students take are electives and they even get to choose which exams they will take and which not, thus offering students a stress-free learning process that values a wide range of experiences. Finnish students do not start school at the age of 7, they are not measured during their first six years of education, they do not do homework until they are teenagers and they only take one test at the age of 16. All these low-stress details have brought impressive results in the Finns as 93% graduate from high school, 66% go to college, 43% go to vocational schools and the future teachers are chosen from the best 10% of the graduates.
Finnish students are motivated and responsible
A light education program does not mean that Finns don’t take education and school seriously and that learning is only a game for them. Even the smallest child understands that no one else in the world speaks the Finnish language, so they choose to learn one or more foreign languages like English, French or even Russian, so that they will be able to travel and get along with strangers. This helps them set their tasks and priorities and each student has learned that if they want to do something valuable in life, they have to study what they like. In Finland, the education model teaches students a deep respect for their teachers and for what they can offer and teach them. This is perhaps the biggest advantage of the Finnish education model, the fact that children realize by themselves that learning and starting a career is what will open doors for them, and this idea should be embraced by many other countries.