The Finnish education system has often been ranked among the best in the world, and this is for good reasons. Every child in Finland has access to free and high-quality early childhood education and comprehensive education regardless of their place of residence and the parents’ income.
The success of the Finnish school system is based on equality in education, high-quality teacher training and an exceptionally high value placed on the teaching profession.
All school teachers and a large percentage of teachers in early childhood education have university degrees. This guarantees a high quality of teaching at schools and day care centres. School curricula are of high quality by international standards, and they reflect the needs of the modern world. The school of the future emphasizes digital skills and phenomenon-based learning.
All children and young people in Helsinki have equal opportunities to go to school and to learn
The responsibility to organize teaching and early childhood education lies with municipalities in Finland. Finnish- and Swedish-language early childhood education and comprehensive education provided by the City of Helsinki are among the local services that increase the city’s appeal. Only about 2 percent of learners in compulsory education in Helsinki go to private schools.
In Helsinki, 89 percent of children aged 3–5 attend early childhood education. Although this is a high percentage, the goal is to raise attendance, especially among immigrant families. Early childhood education promotes the integration of a child and the family into Finnish society.
Every child in early childhood education receives a personal education plan
The plan is drawn up by the teacher or other early childhood professional in cooperation with the parents. The implementation of the plan is monitored and evaluated, and the evaluation determines further action. Early childhood education cooperates with social service and public health care providers, especially with maternity and child health clinics. Thus possible problems can be detected early, enabling early intervention.
Every school in Helsinki is a good school
Divergence between residential areas and schools into good and bad ones is still low, and the process is countered with equal housing policies, allocation of budgets on the principles of positive discrimination, and by encouraging families to place their children in the local school. Nearly 90 percent of first-graders go to their local school.
Helsinki seeks to develop into an innovative city of experimentation in lifelong learning
Smart solutions and new technologies have found their way into early childhood education and schools. Digitalization of learning is coupled with the expansion of learning to diverse learning environments outside the classroom, learner engagement and participation, communal learning, and learning the skills of the future. Even day care centres utilize computers, tablets and smart phones in teaching. The youngest learners are taught programming, algorithms and robotics.
Forerunner: Improving education in Helsinki -report (November 2019, pdf)
Photo by Elina Manninen / Keksi / Team Finland