The Finnish education system is wonderful and miles ahead of many countries anywhere in the world. Children learn in a safe and peaceful environment languages, STEM, cultural and social affairs and environmental matters at school. School is free and teachers have very high levels of competence that are required by law. Teaching is a respected and valued profession.
The present government has continued to make some steep cuts in education, like the government before and now they are beginning to realise that this is politically short-sighted and unpopular. New proposals are now being made just before the next elections. It is also expected that even more proposals are on their way the closer we get to the elections in April 2019.
Two proposals in particular are important:
The first is a proposal for early childhood education which aims at strengthening the levels of teacher competence by requiring more formal degrees and training. This will improve children’s chances for development and reduce inequalities. Bullying is also included in the new proposed legislation with the important objective of stopping it as early as possible. A new financial allocation of €10 million will be used especially where unemployment is high, and the pilot projects will be continued for free kindergartens.
Junior High School will also see sweeping changes in the law – this means that the final 3 year Junior High School will better prepare students (16- 19 years) for the following objectives:
- For further eduction and jobs in both domestic and foreign markets.
- Greater flexibility in how course work is organised with a new course point system.
- Student stress will be supported by more support from professional helpers.
Teachers should also benefit from proposals to increase their opportunities for further training and retraining.
Both proposals have been warmly welcomed by teacher and student unions.