Talk about education systems, and the Scandinavian countries take the lead. While we’re not left in the dust, we also don’t have much to boast about, and many think that an education reform is necessary. Well, let’s take a look at some different education systems in the world, which we could definitely consider implementing here at home.
1) Balance & Equality
Finland is touted as the world’s leader in education, and it’s easy to see why. The teachers are well-paid, there’s plenty of recess time, less focus on homework and exams, and its own citizens receive higher education completely free. In fact, the Finnish use the libraries more than any country in the world, thanks to a lifelong love of learning. The education system in Finland is designed according to age groups, which focus on different skills at each stage. With access to education regardless of wealth or status, everyone gets a chance to receive (even higher) education, and to develop to become active, contributing citizens. The removal of classicism in this case prompts Finnish citizens to enjoy learning, and many continue to take up evening classes/other courses after “formal” education.
2) Moral Education
Before the children start their quest for knowledge, they first learn manners, ethics and morals. The first three years of school is actually used to establish good manners and character development. During that time, children learn respect, compassion, generosity, empathy and other good values. As they grow, there’s also a separate subject on moral, with a textbook and allocated time. Moral education isn’t so much “right” or “wrong”, “should” or “shouldn’t” decisions, but rather discussions on moral dilemmas. Usually, students are given a situation, and they discuss how they would react to it, and there are definitely no right or wrong answers, just thinking and different perspectives.
3) Academic Or Trade?
In: Denmark, Russia, Israel, Norway
In these countries (and a few others), there comes a time when students get to choose, usually at upper/higher secondary school. Once they complete lower secondary, students choose one of two paths: academic or trade. Trade, or vocational education, is linked with training/professional schools specialising in certain skills. Some also make apprenticeship part of it, so that there is better integration into the workforce after they graduate. From agriculture, food, media to engineering and others, there’s a wide range of interests for students to choose from and to hone their skills.
4) No Grading In Primary School
Having no exams or grades in Malaysian schools? Probably laughable, and some of you may even scoff. But it’s real in Norway. In their first year, children play educational games, pick up social skills and receive basic education (language, mathematics etc.) From the second to seventh year, children explore a wide range of subjects, where they do not receive any official grades. However, to mark learning milestones and progress, teachers do give comments and a rough, unofficial grading. With this system in place, children are unburdened and free to discover what piques their interest, which is important for higher education and career.
5) Gender-Neutral Pre-Schools
Another controversial system, Sweden is the pioneering country to breaking gender stereotypes. There is a lot of debate ongoing about its effectiveness, but a rather well-received system regardless. In these schools, there’s no separation or designated areas for toys. All children can play with whatever they want, and boys and girls play together. In other words, children are given the freedom to cross gender boundaries, simply because the teachers try not to enforce any. Children actually don’t have any of their own, and it’s the teachers who monitor their own behaviour and try not to treat boys and girls differently. Stories are also tweaked to ensure that they’re not reinforcing gender stereotypes e.g. it’s always the prince saving the princess. With this, gender stereotyping is reduced and it possibly retains well into adulthood – Sweden is ranked as fourth-most equal country regarding gender.
6) Teamwork & Discovery
In German pre-schools, their focus is on teamwork and integration. One of their key areas is personal and social development, and it seems like there’s a heavy emphasis on this. There’s self-organised learning, teamwork building activities, investigation and experimental activities, all to enhance teamwork. Not only is this likely to build friendships, but it teaches students to work with a variety of different people as well. With this system rooted from a young age, teamwork won’t be a problem in the future. In other words, throughout it all, they get to discover new things in harmony, and pitch ideas together to solve problems.
What do you think of these education systems? How do they compare to our own, and can they be implemented here? Or maybe you know of another education system? Share your thoughts with us!