Why is the Finland education system the best in the world?

Ultimately it is because of Finland‘s education principles. Kids Can Know More By Studying Less.

Dubbed “Phenomenon-based” teaching, the general principals of education in Finland allow children to study and cram less, expand their knowledge and be more creative.

During the last several years, the Finnish education system has been getting stunning results in the Programme for International Student Assessment. Finnish students are considered to be the brightest.


Phenomena of school education in Finland
Phenomena of school education in Finland


For example, they read a larger quota of books compared to students in the rest of the world. They are taking second place in the world with their level of natural science knowledge, and fifth place with their level of mathematics knowledge. And at the same time they are spending fewer hours in the school, have virtually no homework and take the minimum number of exams.

The main secret of this system is hidden in 7 education principles. It is claimed that they prepare kids for real life and not just merely for exams.


Finland Education Facts

Principle 1 — everything is free

Principle 1 — everything is free
Principle 1 — everything is free

Finnish kids are not only having a free education, but they also receive free meals, a full set of books and stationery, free tours, museum visits, special units, and a school taxi for those living more than 2 kilometers away from the school. Kids are even provided with a tablet computer. Any fee or money collection is strictly prohibited.



Principle 2 — equality

Principle 1 — everything is free
Principle 1 — everything is free

Everybody and everything is equal in the Finnish education system:

  • Equity of schools
: Almost all schools in Finland are state schools. The smallest school has 11 students, while the largest has around 1000. All schools have equal quantities of equipment and financial support, there is no more or less privileged schools. All institutions are using the parallel education system “from kindergarten to university”.
  • Equity of disciplines
: It’s almost impossible to find a class where one subject is treated with more superiority to another subject. Mathematics is not considered to be more important than life sciences or art. In extremely rare situations, when students are showing exceptional talents in sport, music or art, local authorities may create special classes for these gifted children.
  • Equity of parentsSocial status, place of work and other information about parents are not requested. It’s strictly prohibited for schools to use questionnaires or talk with children about such topics.





  • Equity of students
: All students are considered as special. A class will combine the gifted children with kids who have special needs, even including disabled ones. Such an approach is used to improve integration, raising children to become people in a society that has no segregation according to levels of knowledge or physical abilities. Occasionally a special class for visually impaired children or kids with hearing problems can be created within a school.
  • Equity of teachers
: Teachers of various disciplines all have the same value. If a teacher is trying to divide a class by choosing who are his favorite students, he or she can be suspended and not permitted to teach classes. Teachers have to work as mentors, which is highly appreciated by both “lyrists” and “physicists”.
  • Equal rights: for adults and children, for teachers and students
: The main principle of what Finnish pedagogy means is a respectful attitude without misdeeds or punishments. All students have a right to complain about a teacher to a social worker or Principal. There is an additional way to encourage motivation in teachers – working contracts have to be extended every single year.



Principle 3 — individuality

Principle 3 — individuality
Principle 3 — individuality

An individual education plan is created for each student, taking his or her personal abilities and speed of learning. Kids solving simple tasks and learning minimum information study together with children solving complex tasks, and getting the maximum amount of information. Furthermore, the evaluation system is also individual, thus children are getting high or low marks in accordance with their own tasks and missions.

Weak students can take special supporting classes, while underperforming children – correction classes. Such approach totally removes any need in services of tutors.


Principle 4 — practicality


Bearing in mind that Finnish schools now utilize a “prepare for living and not for exams” approach, the information and evaluation methodology had to be significantly transformed. There are no exams because students only pass control and interim steps (only in the secondary school, and only at the discretion of a teacher). Obligatory tests are available leading up to the graduation period, but there’s no special preparation for such tests.



All classes mainly focus on developing practical skills: for example web site development, making a portfolio, agreements, tax calculation, drawing wind patterns in a selected area and so on.



Principle 5 — trust


All school workers in Finland are considered as trustworthy, therefore there’s no audit of them. Furthermore, each and every teacher can use his or her own teaching method, as long as it aligns with the education program, and is of a recommendatory nature.

And most importantly it is fundamental that they believe in children too. Each student is capable of doing the most remarkable and valuable things during classes. Nevertheless, attendance is obligatory and each student must attend and participate in a predefined amount of teaching hours. If a child is not satisfied with their current program, he or she can choose to spend time in lower grades in order to watch, observe and think.


Principle 6 — voluntarism

Principle 6 — voluntarism
Principle 6 — voluntarism

Only the children who want to study, are choosing to study in school. Teachers are not berating or using punishments for lazy students. Such children are motivated to choose more practical and easy professions. “A teacher of the future” is able to discover individual tendencies for various professions. The main task of the school is to identify such tendencies.


Principle 7 — independence

Principle 7 — independence
Principle 7 — independence

The schools are preparing children for a successful and independent life, which is at the same level of significance as self-determination. That’s why they show children how to study, understand and solve, instead of cramming facts and figures into them. Also, teachers are not permitted to participate in conflicts between students, as children must learn how to solve these on their own.

Such an unusual and surprising approach to education that provides amazing results: children become patient, balanced and happy. They are reading more, participating in sports and creating art. They are capable of speaking perfect English by graduation and are consequentially able to easily pass entry exams into the best universities all over the world.