Sunday, June 13, 2010

Finland ranks #1 in education for PISA

Finland was recently ranked #1 in the world for PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment). PISA is an international comparison of students in the subjects of reading, literacy, mathematics and science. This worldwide test of scholastic perforamce of 15-year-old teenagers is conducted once every three years starting in 2000. The United States ranked #21. (Do note that there are quite a few international ranking systems. This is just one of them. We will cover the other ranking systems in later posts.)

Here are some interesting facts of Finland's educational system:

1. Teachers are required to have a Master's Degree from a qualified university.
2. Because the teachers are highly qualified, they are autonomous as they can coose how to teach their own students.
3. 6% of Finland's gross domestic product goes towards education. As such there are very few private schools and the private schools receive little or no government subsidy.
4. Books and school meals are free.
5. About 96% of Finnish students have a very strong interest in continuing with secondary and higher level education after the compulsory nine years primary school.
6. Outside the schools, the country has strong municipal libraries in every suburb that provide practical benefits for children's studies, while business enterprises contribute innovations to promote students' learning.

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