The most recent survey on literacy and numeracy that was conducted in 2013 by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) shows Finland sitting pretty at the top of the list along with Japan. What makes Finland fall into the creamy layer when it comes to imparting secondary education is its continued innovation and experimentation in this field which began about forty years ago as part of the country’s economic recovery plan. Since 2000, the results of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), a standard test given to 15-year-olds, have been proving the excellence of young Finn students to the world. Very recently, Finland embarked upon the most revolutionary revamp (as of yet) to its education system that seeks to replace ‘subject based learning’ with ‘topic based learning’. “This is going to be a big change in education in Finland that we’re just beginning,” said Lisa Pohjolainen, who is in charge of youth and adult education in Helsinki.
Why this revamp now? The effectiveness of the traditional method of assimilating knowledge in the form of subjects designed and prescribed for different age groups has often been the topic of debate for several analysts. With employers all over the world laying emphasis on real world simulations for enhancing education, this move towards topic based learning that seeks to train students for practical applications has been a welcome one. Marjo Kyllonen, Helsinki’s education manager, who is leading this transformation, said “We really need a rethinking of education and a redesigning of our system, so it prepares our children for the future with the skills that are needed for today and tomorrow.”
Topic based learning The novel system, that is going to be implemented fully by 2020, will remove conventional subjects like History and Science which will be replaced by topics that would hopefully give students better exposure. For example, instead of a class dedicated to a subject every day, the students would have a two hour class on the European Union which would include learning languages, economics, history and geography. Eventually, all aspects of basic theories will be covered-only in a different and more impacting manner. Also, the teachers are not obligated to include unwanted concepts and factions only for the sake of designing complete courses for their respective subjects.
The plausibility of the system The abolition of subjects as a whole definitely seems challenging and has already garnered quite a bit of criticism from people across the world. Finland’s blueprint suggests that teachers from different backgrounds should come together in order to design the required syllabi but, given that almost all the teaching faculty are trained to handle individual subjects, creating a curriculum for this new style of teaching would be an obstacle that Finland needs to overcome. One of the secrets to being successful at something is to continuously evolve and improvise. While Finland has always been outstanding when it comes to educating its people, its new educational innovation has added a feather in its cap. Finnish schools are not just education imparting establishments but complete environments designed to benefit young minds. The quality of teachers, individual attention given to students, special provisions for mentally challenged students, comprehensive school system and inventive teaching style are attributes that Finland’s education system already boasts of. Analysts have flocked to this country from all over the world in order to decode and understand Finland’s success in the sphere of education and bolster their own systems. This ground-breaking move by Finland will be closely watched by everyone and we hope that this change in the age-old system will be beneficial to Finland as well as the world in the near future. The Logical Indian congratulates Finland on taking up such a radical decision which would serve as an example to many other countries and would hopefully work wonders for the student community.