The Finnish basic education system has been thrown into such a state of confusion that it is threatening to compromise the legal protection of pupils and equality in further education, Jari Salminen, a researcher of educational history at the University of Helsinki, argues in a guest contribution to Helsingin Sanomat.
“Hardly anything is left of the carefully designed, thoroughly supervised and systematically developed basic education system,” he writes.
Salminen believes the quality of basic education has been compromised by talk about innovation, the ambiguous core curriculum reform, and several coinciding changes and projects. Such development efforts, he adds, have been based on images and social trends rather than thorough empirical evidence, and implemented in a reactive and volatile fashion.
“Meanwhile, the basic responsibilities of the school have been rejected.”
The Finnish basic education system became a global success story because it was created by combining the advantages of the two parallel systems it replaced – the folk school and the grammar school. A balance was found between practice and theory was found in teaching, while the systematic nature of the folk school ensured the objectives were reached, tells Salminen.
“Less and less is left of these principles. Nobody understands the overall state of teaching in primary schools today,” he writes.
Salminen views that one of the underlying problems is that virtually all instruments to steer and supervise the basic education system have been torn down. Another problem, he adds, is that teachers have only been offered limited continuing training opportunities to help them respond to the emphasis placed on digital and phenomenon-based learning in the new core curriculum.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Roni Rekomaa – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi