While travelling abroad people seem to be highly interested about Finland. Maybe it is because of the distant location or small number of population, maybe it is still quite surprising to bump into a Finn. Here is one of many topics that I have told about Finland during my travels abroad.
My experiences about Finnish education system
In 2016 while wandering around Bali I met a teacher from Singapore, which is one of the most developed countries in Asia, also in a field of education. He was adamant about the superiority of Finnish education system, and he was very eager to ask about my personal experiences of the primary school. This takes me back about twenty years, but it is still easy to remember what I felt about studying back then. These were the main points I told him:
o Finnish kids learn by playing. The first years in primary school (from the age 7-10) are dedicated in social skills and the basics of being a part of a larger group. Of course we had to manage the basics of mathematics and learning how to read, but music, art and sports were also as important. The duration of the lesson was no more that 45 minutes at time, and after that we always had 15min recess. The school provided free lunch every day, and also some activities after school.
o We still don’t have school uniforms. This ment that kids were able to express themselves from the early age and feel comfortable in their own clothes. There were no stress about the clothes getting dirty, and playing during the brakes become more adventurous and diverse. Building a snow castle or a hut made of sticks was never a problem for me. Nevertheless I am aware that the school uniforms make everyone equal in countries that have large gaps in between the poor and the rich. This standard gives the possibility to blend in a group with different backgrounds.
o The amount of home work was quite decent. I do not recall having too much trouble managing my time after school, because the home work I brought back from the classes never took more than 20 minutes to handle. Things got a bit bigger and more challenging as I grew up, of course, but during the three first grades I remember doing easy and silly tasks that were more playful that hard studying.
These three aspects are just a few from many. I could also talk about the informality, safety and equality in Finnish education system, as for me they have always been essential. I am aware how lucky it is to be a part of this system, and I will always gladly tell the next Singaporean traveller about my experiences.