Ng Eng Han, you've got no right to cite the Finnish education system

By Evil Wears White

Ng Eng Hen, you have no right to cite the example of the Finnish education system just because they have postgraduate-educated only teachers in primary and secondary school. Let me enlighten you as to why.

You have failed to mention that their OVERALL EDUCATION STRATEGY is based on building an egalitarian (that means “everyone is equal”) system of public schools where students have equal opportunities to receive a high standard of education, without the necessity of selection or streaming by academic ability.

Part of this strategy is to have schools evenly placed throughout the country so that students can then attend the school which is located closest to them, else free transportation shall be provided in areas where the population is more widely dispersed.

The challenge of students having different learning abilities is tackled within the classroom, where teachers can concurrently apply different education strategies to help students with varying needs, so nobody who is slower than his or her classmates is stigmatized by being singled out. There is no “gifted” stream, and part of classroom learning strategy is for the better students to help their weaker classmates.

You also failed to explain how the Finnish system allows secondary students to choose whether to go into an academic or a vocational stream, this eventually leading to university or polytechnic study. (The Finnish polytechnic is the equivalent of a university, and awards a bachelor’s degree like the university. The difference is in the focus and subjects offered.)

You did not point out that applying to be a teacher in Finland is extremely competitive, with 10-15% success rates of acceptance, because they only employ the best graduates to take up such important jobs. Teachers are regarded with a lot more respect, and are paid considerably better, which in turn is reflected in the overall quality of education.

Did you mention that education, up to the tertiary level, is FREE? Even the so-called private schools are not allowed, by law, to charge tuition fees, and are not allowed to apply “selective admission” but rather consider admissions on the same basis as public schools. (Private schools, therefore, tend to be “private” because they are run by a church organization rather than the Finnish education ministry, and in all other respects, identical to public schools.)

Speaking of free, Finland provides FREE DAYCARE for all children from eight months to five years of age, and one year of preschool/kiddy care at six. If mothers so desire, they can instead receive an allowance from the state to stay at home for the first three years aka “home daycare”, with regular visits paid by social workers to provide relevant assistance.

Did you forget to mention that selected daycare centres provide 24-hour daycare service, to assist parents who may have to work night shifts or irregular hours?

So, Ng Eng Hen, please, just shut the f**k up about comparing us to Finland. They have a complete education system; what we have in Singapore is merely a bureaucracy.

This was reproduced with permission from editors of The Real Singapore.


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