Finland Ranks #1 in World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report

The most recent Global Competitiveness Report, a scorecard that ranks the 138 largest economies in the world, ranked Finland the best country in the world for educating kids.

Some reasons given by the experts about whey the Finnish school system educates its students so effectively include:

  • Kids in Finland don’t start school until age 7, two years later than the 5-year-old threshold for starting kindergarten in the United States. This apparently allows kids to mature more at home and
  • School systems in Finland don’t give exams or provide homework for their students until they are teenagers. This apparently
  • Students are not assessed or compared to any achievement standard in their first six years of school
  • Children are all taught in the same classroom, regardless of how intelligent they are or how quickly they learn the material.
  • Extra help is provided for 30% of students during their first nine years of school to keep them moving.
  • There is little difference between students who are the highest achievers and those who tend to struggle.
  • The limit on class science in Finnish science classes is 16, allowing students to perform hands-on experiments and receive practical training.
  • Recess times for school kids in Finland average 75 minutes per day. Finnish students have much more time to relax and renew than US students, whose recess time averages only 27 minutes per day.
  • Teachers in Finland are also given more time to relax and sharpen their tools. They spend an average of only 4 hours in the classroom each day, and are given 2 hours per week for professional development activities.
  • The student to teacher ratio is much lower in Finland than in most places in the United States.
  • Teacher status in Finland is on par with such professional careers as doctors and lawyers.

Some of the reasons given by experts seem to contradict common sense about why schools succeed. For instance, many of the experts claim that Finland’s success in school comes because their system is 100% funded by the government. Government involvement in education and its accompanying tendency toward waste is often negatively correlated with educational success.