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| Published in Education in the World | Written by James Macaluso

Education in Finland: What Makes It That Good

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According to the International Studies conducted once in three years by an authoritative Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, Finnish students have shown the highest level of knowledge in the world. An unbelievable fact is that they reach such high results spending minimum time on studying.

General education in Finland entails 2 stages:

– Alakoulu (lower), 1 to grade 6;
– Yläkoulu (upper), 7 to grade 9.

The additional 10-th year is for those students who want to improve their grades. After that, children go to college or continue their studying at lukio (lyceum). Below you will see the basic principles of Finnish education that actually make it that good.


  • Schools
    In Finland there no elite schools. The largest school in the country accounts for 960 students. The smallest one accounts for 11 students. Every school has the same features, equipment, and financing. There are some public-private schools, but most of them are public. The main difference between them is the high requirements for the students. In private institutions, children are taught in German, English and French.
  • Subjects
    In Finnish schools it is not believed that some subjects are more important than the other ones. Therefore, an intensive studying of particular subjects is not welcome there. In contrary, additional classes for art, sports and music may be created for gifted children.
  • Parents
    Questionnaires relating to parents’ professional and social status are prohibited. The teacher will know it if necessary.
  • Students
    Children are not divided into classes according to their abilities and career preferences. Moreover, there are no “good” or “bad” pupils. The comparison of students is prohibited. For that reason, the difference between able and week pupils is the smallest in the entire world.
  • Teachers
    There are no such things as “hateful” and “favorite” teachers, “teacher’s pets” or “punch balls”. Finnish teachers do their job of mentors, and that’s all.

No payment

Not only study is free, but also:

  • meals;
  • museums, excursions, and extra-curricular activities;
  • textbooks, calculators, stationery and even tablets and laptops
  • The bus that picks up and returns children if the nearest school is located in 2 kilometers’ distance;


An individual plan of learning is developed for each student. Children perform exercises of different level of complexity in the same class, and they are judged accordingly to their personal level. Along with a usual study, there are two unique species of education:

  • Supportive education is provided to the weak students
  • Correctional training is conducted individually or in small groups


Finnish schools aim to prepare children for life, not for exams. Therefore, there are no examinations there. The reason is that it is impossible to create a single mandatory standard test for every student.

Students teach only what they may need in their further life. Finnish kids know what is a credit card or portfolio from earliest years. They know how to calculate the tax percentage, how to create a business account on the Internet, or how to calculate the price of goods after discounts. (


The Finnish schools aim to teach students to be prepared for a successful future and independent life. They are taught to think and apply knowledge without any outside help. The students do not have to only learn the formula by heart but be able to understand how to use it effectively and what resources may be engaged to resolve the problems.

Also, teachers never intervene the conflicts between students, enabling them to develop the ability to deal with real-life situations and stand up for themselves.

After reading this article, some people may argue that Finnish education system is wrong. However, the main thing Finnish schools do is that their students do not dream to grow up quickly to leave the school they hate, they do not wake up at night crying from nervous overstrain, and do not hate the world around, preparing for the next exam. They are happy, calm and reasonable. They watch movies, read books, ride bikes, paint pictures, play music and sing songs. They enjoy their life at fullest, besides they have enough time to study.