Finland is considered to be a county with one of the most successful education systems in the world. According to the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), Finland was at the top of international league tables in literacy and numeracy. Today this Scandinavian country is about to reform its education system to make it even more effective.
The drastic change includes replacing teaching subjects with topics which will help to prepare Finnish student for their future work life. To make it come true, a full rewrite of the current curriculum for all classes is required.
The change that is aimed to make Finnish system of education correspond developing industry and modern society has already begun. For example, in the capital of the country, Helsinki, there are already test runs of the system for upper schools. One of the most distinctive features of new topics referred by Finns as “phenomenon” is that each topic combines multiple subjects taught in the European Union. Such topics put together such subjects as economics, history, languages, and geography. Furthermore, topics are to be taught through the interactive group work, so there will be no passively sitting students listening to what teacher says. Also, the change is aimed to help Finnish students to get better communication skills through the group work with their classmates.
Finns believe that the reform of educations system in the country is needed because most of the schools still follow the 1990s old-fashioned model of education, while the society changes and such approach is no longer effective. To improve their education system, they want it to correspond the needs of the 21st century.
The topic-based teaching has already shown its positive results. Today, the main aim is to apply such approach in more schools across the country and to train teachers to apply the new system in the most effective way. It is worth to mention that not only high schools are facing a revolutionary new system of education. It is aimed at pre-schools and elementary schools sectors as well.
The new approach also referred as a “playful” learning, is focused on the creation of a happy, safe, and inspiring environment for Finnish students. A playful part of a new system allows students to be more active, and to support students’ creativity and strive for knowledge. For example, there are some classes of geography where students are running through corridors while learning different parts of this or that continent. Also, there are language classes where students have to move around a European map on the whiteboard while speaking this or that foreign language.
In the most countries of the world, an old-fashioned education system is aimed to create a reliable, predictable, and obedient citizen, while new education system in Finland is focused on developing critical thinking. If the reform of Finnish education system will help the country to remain in the top of the countries according to PISA tests, other western countries will have to adjust and change their education system for the better as well.