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LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Change our educational system to the Finland way

/ 04:05 AM June 28, 2022

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation Development, students in Finland have the least amount of homework and outside work than any other students in the world. They spend only half an hour at night on their homework. And they do not hire tutors.

Finnish students start school from 9 to 9:45 a.m. and usually end by 2 to 2:45 p.m. They have longer class periods and break time. And their educational system exists not to ram and cram information into the heads of their students.

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Also, students usually take only a couple of classes a day. They have enough time to eat their food, enjoy sports, and just relax. And throughout the school day, they have several 15-20-minute periods for the kids to get out and stretch.

In spite of fewer classes and more breaks, Finland education is one of the best in the world.

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What is Finland doing that we can copy?

Some ideas that we can adopt from the Finland way are:

Remove standardized testing. Students in Finland take only one test called the National Matriculation Exam, which is a voluntary test at the end of the upper-secondary school equivalent to the American high school. Finnish children do not have regular weekly, monthly, or yearly end examinations of True or False, choosing A, B, C, or D, fill in the blank type of examination.

All elementary and high school students in Finland are graded by their teacher on an individualized basis and a grading system set by their teacher, not by the school department. The overall tracking of the progress of the child is done by the Ministry of Education.

A master’s degree certificate is required before teachers are employed.

In Finland, to be a teacher, they have to pass through rigorous study and training like what medical students go through. The average monthly salary of a teacher is 3,570 euros, or P205,917 at 1 euro:P57.58.

The Finland educational system is based on cooperation not on competition like that of the United States, the Philippines, and many other countries. Finland does not have a list of top-performing students, teachers, or students. Unlike in the Philippines where schools and colleges are ranked like sports competing for the top 10.

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Reduce the number of subjects to only the basic English, Math, and Science during the first six grades to improve reading, writing, and communication skills. Make English the language for teaching and learning. Both teachers and students should speak only in English even during break or recess time.

There are only nine years of compulsory school that Finnish children are required to attend. After the ninth grade, education is optional; either they go to vocational or professional school.

In the Philippines, many children complete K-to-12, then go to college and graduate. However many of them end up employed as grocery cashiers, department store sales employees, and other low-paying jobs that do not need a college degree.

If Finland’s educational system is one of the best in the world, what is the ranking of the Philippines?

Among Grade 4 students, the Philippines ranked last among 58 participating countries in an international assessment for science and mathematics. The Philippines scored 297 in mathematics and 249 in science, which are “significantly lower” than any other participating country. This was reported by the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study of 2019.

The Philippines scored the lowest in reading comprehension among 79 participating countries reported by the Programme for International Student Assessment.

Leonardo Leonidas, M.D.,

[email protected]

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