Finland is more advanced than most other countries because they teach skills necessary for the 21st century.
There’s little doubt that society and commerce have changed. The jobs suitable for the industrial age are fast disappearing. Low-level routine jobs are being taken over by machines and other countries due to their lower labor costs.
We have entered a new age due to technology and globalization, and as such, our society needs to develop a mentality for creating jobs—not just finding and “doing” a job. This means that education needs to adjust if our young people are going to have successful and meaningful lives after they leave the basic education years.
Finland is in the forefront of this adjustment because it is teaching entrepreneurship. I witnessed this in the high school I visited. The school had an entire course on how to be an entrepreneur. The curriculum was flexible, creative, prompted critical thinking and curiosity, and was global in its perspective.
The curriculum was driven by students’ interests and built on their strengths. This is in stark contrast with United States’ current emphasis on increasing standardization (such as the emphasis on a “common core” curriculum) and an overemphasis on standardized testing. This 20th century approach is very different than Finland’s, where independent thinking and creative skills are emphasized for success in life.
High schools in Finland stress product-based learning, where students create products and things that are meaningful to them. It is through engaging their students by making things that students learn basics, discover their interests, learn how to discipline themselves, and experience the joy of creativity and serving others.
This will be my last post on my observations of the Finnish education system. I thoroughly enjoyed visiting Finland and learning so much about how they educate their students. It just goes to show that curiosity and learning are never-ending.