Miles and miles apart : Finnish education system vs Indian education system

“Don’t worry, be happy…” No, this is no positivity blog. I recently came across a documentary on the Finnish education system through a friend. For those of you who don’t know, Finland’s education system is known to be one of the best education systems in the world and as we peep inside a Finnish elementary classroom in a village of Finland called Fiskarin, we see children playing musical instruments and humming merrily to the tune of “Don’t worry, be happy” . What is more surprising is that all this is happening, right under the nose of the class teacher and in fact, it is he who is teaching them how to play the flute or the guitar or any other instrument. In Finland, Finnish and Swedish are the most widely spoken languages. Teaching a foreign language to small kids can be a daunting and boring task both for the teacher and also, for the students. So this teacher comes up with the best way to make learning as well as teaching exciting by using music to invoke the interests of the students. This takes me back to my 4th grade. The days when we used to sit cross-legged on the floor in the computer lab, singing “500 miles away from home”. Thanks to absence of power backups in those days, we were saved from the boring MS Excel lessons and on such days we would have almost a half hour long singing session. If only learning was this enjoyable!

In Finland, the emphasis is on creating the interests of students and not merely imposing boring content on them.  Apart from Finland, countries like South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore etc are also known for their efficient and outstanding education systems. And India, well you can’t expect seeing it even in the top 50. Given their substandard conditions, the government schools are almost dysfunctional. There is a KAALA AKSHAR BHAINS BARAABAR-like situation for most of the students there. The teaching staff is mostly under qualified and the no. of teachers is also insufficient. Let’s not even talk about the infrastructure. Leaking roofs, students cramped up in tiny classrooms, makeshift classrooms, insufficient funding and scarce facilities. On the other hand, the private schools canada goose coats uk canada goose 2015 collection, while well-equipped in terms of infrastructure, are doing no good in terms of quality. Pedantic methods, old and traditional modes of teaching and learning, poor quality of content, emphasis on rote learning and memorization. In short, there is no scope for the students to think creatively and independently.


Finland provides equal access to education to all the students. Another very distinctive aspect of the Finnish education system is that children start going to school only once they are 7 years old. Not only that, education is free for all students, be it from government schools or private schools and yet, the quality of content is exactly same for both the government and private school students. In the Indian context however, there are too many loopholes which prevent the government schools from developing and becoming strong and efficient educational institutions which will play the role of imparting education to almost 60% of the Indian population that lives in rural areas.

What makes the Finnish education system stand apart is also the fact that the profession of a teacher is seen with the same respect as that of a police officer or a doctor. The teaching profession is not seen in the same light in India. Teaching is taken up by those who do not find themselves succeeding in other fields and therefore pursue teaching as a career. Also, the process of recruiting teachers is not as rigorous as seen in countries like Finland and South Korea. A teacher must hold a Master’s degree in Finland, if he/she wants to become a teacher. Teacher’s training involves various levels of scrutiny, for the teacher plays the role of a helper to the students, giving them space to learn at their own pace. A single teacher teaches 14 students at a time which allows the teacher to pay attention to almost all the students. They teach all types of students, including slow learners and design the content and teach in such a manner that even those who are lagging behind are taken care of.  Special education is an essential part of education there. In India, one teacher teaches at least 35 students and paying equal attention to all students is an impossible task. Students are left with no option but to go for tuitions to get that additional help. This creates a huge problem for those who cannot afford tuitions and they end up quitting school and taking up odd jobs to make two ends meet.


The documentary on the utopian education system of Finland was an eye opener. India can draw inspiration from it and revamp the entire education system paving the way for new methods of learning and teaching that defy the traditional orthodox. Rebuilding the image of the teaching profession should also be considered. Last but not the least, the creative bent of the children should be allowed to bloom, for as Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam said: “When learning is purposeful, creativity blossoms. When creativity blossoms, thinking emanates. When thinking emanates, knowledge is fully lit. When knowledge is lit, economy flourishes.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Back To Top