Finland will become the first country in the world to overhaul their education system to reflect the needs of a contemporary society and the world is paying attention. Finland is regularly seen as having one of the best education systems in the world, consistently ranking in the top 10. Now, they’ve set their sights on creating an entirely new system for both the teachers and the students.
What do they want to do? Well, it involves getting rid of traditional subjects such as physics, math, literature, history and geography.
“There are schools that are teaching in the old-fashioned way which was of benefit in the beginning of the 1900s — but the needs are not the same, and we need something fit for the 21st century,” explains Marjo Kyllonen, head of Finland’s Department of Education.
Individual subjects will be done away with, but they will be replaced by somewhat of a mix of many different subjects, depending on what the student wants to study. For example, a course called “Working in a Cafe” would have students learning the English language, economics and how to communicate effectively.
They also plan on using specific events and phenomena that utilize a variety of different subjects. World War II, for example, would be studied from the perspectives of math, geography and history.
This new education system is set to be introduced for students in their senior year of school, starting when they are at least 16 years old. The main idea behind this new approach to education is that the student has more control over the events, ideas and topics that they want to study with regard to what they plan on doing in the future and how skilled they are.
Ideally, it will eliminate those moments in a student’s life where they’re taking a course or studying a certain subject and catch themselves wondering if they will ever actually utilize the information or skills that they are learning.
Additionally, students will no longer sit at desks and answer questions when asked. Instead, students will work in group environments discussing problems and brainstorming ideas. This comes straight from Finland’s wish to encourage collaborative work.
The new education reform will also largely affect the teachers, as many of them will now have to rework what their curriculum looks like, as well as figure out how to best incorporate their program with the programs of the other teachers.
It’s reported that 70 percent of the teachers in Helsinki have already begun designing these new programs. Finland plans on having all of these changes implemented and put in place by the year 2020.
Do you think the United States and other developed nations should follow in Finland’s footsteps? Let us know how you feel!