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The Finland Phenomenon – Inside the World’s Most Successful School Systems

Finland’s Education System has been the toast of the Education World with educators from all of the world all wanting to know what makes its tick & also one of the best systems in world, here is why…



A little over 4 decades ago, Finland transformed its education system as part of the country’s economic recovery plan. Finnish students had become the best young readers by the time the 2000 Program for International Student Assessment (a global standardized test for 15-year-olds) results were published. Three years later, Finnish students led global students in Math, and by 2006 they were doing it again in science. Perhaps more important than their PISA results, however, was the take home that the Finnish school system is one of the most equitable in the world, i.e. performance variation among students in schools remains small.

Finland Finland Finland

Success of the Finnish education is based on providing equal opportunities for all. This means that in everyday school work the individual characteristics of everybody, including the strongest and weakest pupils, are taken into account. Providing equal opportunities for all results in even learning out comes as it does not depend on the geographical location or size of the schools nor pupil’s socio-economic background.

The success of providing equal opportunities for all is attested by the Finnish students’ performance in high level in all domains in PISA studies. An exceptionally small share of students are at the lowest proficiency level and there are relatively small differences between schools across the country.

Finland’s excellent learning outcomes are the result of research-based pedagogy and its innovative approach to teaching and learning. This pedagogy and the methods can be applied in different countries and societies, they are not based on the characteristics of the Finnish society. In Finland, teaching in not based on a specific religion or philosophy, thus the pedagogical approached used can be applied in various settings and societies.


In a study of the parents’ satisfaction on the quality of education and care in Qatar-Finland International School (established in Doha, Qatar in 2014) It was found that the parents were very satisfied with the quality of education and care. As quality elements parents emphasized enjoyment of the child, teaching methods, characteristics of the teachers and positive experience of home-school collaboration. The operations in Qatar-Finland FinlandInternational School are based on the Finnish National Core Curriculum but it is adapted to the Qatari standards and context. In the study no statistically significant difference between nationalities were found. In the study the parents also expressed satisfaction with the individualized learning possibilities and differentiated teaching. The findings of the study support the statement that the Finnish quality criteria responds to and can be adapted to the international education requirements.

Here are some links that you may find of interest:

1. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/top-20-education-systems-countries-20152016-anupam-vaid?trk=hp-feed-article-title-publish

2. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/why-finland-has-best-schools-anupam-vaid?published=t

3. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/11-ways-finlands-education-system-shows-us-less-more-anupam-vaid?published=t

4. http://hechingerreport.org/how-finland-broke-every-rule-and-created-a-top-school-system/

5. http://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/why-are-finlands-schools-successful-49859555/?no-ist

6. http://www.koulugroup.com/finnish-education/


This article was submitted by a guest author Anupam Viad, General Manager of Travel to Learn.