Another recent article on Scholastic.com notes that educators from 50 countries have visited Finland in the past few years, including numerous groups from the United States. They have identified several reasons behind Finland’s educational success. The first is the near absence of poverty which means most children come to school healthy and ready to learn. In Finland schools, school lunches and college are free for all residents.
Other factors that make the Finnish education system different to the American model include the fact Finnish children don’t start school until the age of seven, spend less time in class, and have less competitive exams than their counterparts in the United States. Most Finnish students can communicate in English as well as their native tongue.
One major reason for Finland’s success is the quality of the teachers and the respect given to the teaching profession. All teachers hold a Master’s Degree and only one of every eight applicants to teacher education programs is accepted. Teacher salaries are roughly comparable to those in the United States, but in total Finland spends about USD 1,200 less per student than the United States’ USD 8,700 per-pupil average, according to Scholastic.com.
The Finnish education system is turning young people into skilled professionals who contribute to the creation of a dynamic innovation environment and the growth of the economy. According to an interview by Yle.fi, Mårten Mickos, CEO of Eucalyptus and recipient of the Changing Times Award: European Entrepreneur of the Year 2006, Finland has the kind of wild and crazy innovativeness in the arts and business that is not found in the rest of Europe. He believes this should be further encouraged to create more growth entrepreneurship and success stories in Finland.