Learning - the Finnish way

Learning - the Finnish way

Like Singapore, Finland, which has a population of 5.4 million, is an education superstar.

Its students consistently do as well as top-performing Singapore pupils in international maths and science tests.

But a recent study trip by The Sunday Times sponsored by Lien Foundation found that Finnish students take a completely different route to academic excellence.

Before going to Primary 1 at age seven, all that Finnish children in pre-schools seem to do is play.

And once in school, they do not undergo formal assessments or examinations until they are 18, when they sit for a matriculation examination to enter university.

There is also little homework for primary and lower secondary students, and no nationwide standardised testing.

And tuition? That is a concept foreign to most Finnish parents.

Teachers say the equivalent of Singapore's gifted education scheme or Normal or Express streams would be illegal in Finland because its education policy calls for all children to be given the same opportunities.

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