Over 20 000 applicants to higher education institutions’ English-taught study programmes and studies in the University of the Arts
Record number of applicants participated in the joint application of spring 2020: the number is approx. 8000 more than the number of applicants in the corresponding joint application of spring 2019. In the joint application, one could apply to English-taught study programmes as well as studies offered by the University of the Arts.
Current issues Higher education
The Finnish good PISA results have brought thousands of educationalists to Finland The reputation of Finnish education seems to be known in all parts of the world. Thousands of visitors have come to Finland to learn about our system, schools and teachers since the beginning of the 2000s. The National Agency for Education alone has hosted more than 16 000 guests. Visits to learn about education in Finland 2004–2019 Finland became the focus for interest in 2001 when the first PISA results were published. The main emphasis in PISA 2011 was on reading literacy with Finland as the top performer. We rapidly gained a reputation of a country with an education well-functioning system that produced good learning results. Educationalists all over the world wanted to come and learn about this small and remote country and its excellent education system. The PISA test is done every three years. Finland is still among the top performers although the results have not been as good as in the early years. Finland is known for its good learning outcomes and a child-friendly and encouraging approach. Finland quite uniquely scores well without compromising children’s well-being. Therefore we are still interesting to educationalists all over the world. The National Agency for Education has received PISA visitors from more than half of the world’s countries The National Agency for Education hosted more than 16 000 guests from 114 countries in 2004─2019 The backgrounds of the visitors has varied. We have hosted ministers, officials, researchers, school heads, teachers and other school personnel. We have also welcomed students, parents’ associations, foundations, politicians, labour market representatives and textbook publishers. We have met with journalists who have made Finnish education known also to the public in newspapers, TV and radio programmes. School autonomy and absence of inspections has been a surprise The National Agency for Education has introduced the visitors to education in Finland and its specificities. Often visitors also meet with experts in education and visit schools, early childhood education and care centres, pre-primary schools and libraries. Visitors are interested in those aspects which are different. One recurring topic is the strong autonomy of education providers and schools. Visitors are also surprised that the low level of control and monitoring measures can still produce good results. Teachers and their work is found interesting. Finnish teachers are well trained and they are esteemed in society. Teachers are more independent than in many other countries and their work is not formally evaluated nor are schools inspected. Teachers and schools enjoy a high level of trust. Sometimes visitors want to find out the ‘Finnish secret’, the recipe to excellent learning results that could be copied. Some of our visitors have been disappointed that such a recipe does not exist. Another disappointment can be that Finnish schools seem ‘ordinary’, that on the surface they are like schools anywhere in the world. The hosts also benefit from the visits As hosts we benefit from the visits in at least two ways. We learn a lot about other countries’ education systems through the questions and comments of our guests. At the same time they open our eyes to the differences and similarities of our own education system. We see ourselves in a wider perspective and recognise strengths that we have taken for granted. Additional information • Hanna Laakso hanna.laakso[at]oph.fi • Elina Lötjönen elina.lotjonen[at]oph.fi Typical questions by our visitors: • Why do children start school as late as at the age of 7? • Why is there such a strong emphasis on play in the early years of education? • Why don’t you have school uniforms? • Why do pupils and students call their teachers by their first name? • Why do you take off your shoes at school? • How do the teachers build their authority when they cannot punish their pupils? • How do you ensure quality without inspections? • How can you get so good results with so little regulation? • How are schools punished for bad results?
Starting from 2020, the joint application to higher education is divided into two separate joint applications. In the upcoming first joint application of the spring, one can apply to study programmes...
Current issues Higher education
Finnish 15-year-olds still among top performers in reading literacy but growing proportion of low performers needs addressing
OECD’s PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) survey again ranked Finnish 15-year-olds among top performers in reading literacy in OECD countries. This time the focus in the PISA2018 survey, held every three years, was on reading literacy. Compared with 2015, Finnish pupils’ mathematical literacy also remained unchanged, but performance in science literacy declined. Differentiation between students is being addressed with national programmes such as the national literacy forum and a survey of boys' learning challenges
The participation rate in early childhood education and care is below the OECD average and clearly lower than in the other Nordic countries. The participation rate has however grown evenly since 2000.
In early October 2019 Finland was shaken by a violent incident at Savo Vocational College in Kuopio. Schools in Finland are supporting pupils and students cope with what has happened. As part of student welfare plan, schools have to prepare a crisis plan and offer psychosocial support to students in a crisis situation. It is important to anticipate different situations, prepare plans on how to act, and to train for these situations regularly. EDUFI supports education providers by information and advice, and by providing materials and training related to security issues.
Average group sizes in basic education in Finland have for a long time been below the OECD average. This is the case also in 2017, according to this year’s Education at a Glance that was published in September.
Current issues Basic education
A private school based on the Finnish curriculum and pedagogical approach has opened in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The opening ceremony of Vietnam-Finland International School (VFIS), the first school in Vietnam that is based on the Finnish model, was held on August 12th, 2019. The school, which operates under Ton Duc Than university, covers grades 1-9, and a part of the teaching staff comes from Finland.
Current issues Basic education Asia
In 2017 Finnish students in upper secondary education completed fewer mobility periods than the previous year. This is evident in the statistics compiled by the Finnish National Agency for Education. Target countries in both VET and general upper secondary education were mainly in Europe. The EU Erasmus+ Programme is becoming more and more important of as a source of funding for student mobility.