Could abolishing private schools and respecting teachers more help lift education standards?
Does the Finland education system have answers for the rest of the world or is their world class performance just some aberration?
Firstly we have to look at the results and see if their many differences attribute to these results.
Finland is out of step with the rest of the world, on educational issues on a number of key practices.
Public all the way
There are no private schools allowed in Finland. Every student, from the richest to the poorest attends their local State school.
The debate on private and state education in Australia is never ending, often vitriolic and divisive. There is no such debate in Finland.
Highly respected teachers
Although teachers’ salaries are roughly the same as the Australian equivalent, teaching positions are much prized and teachers are considered the most highly respected professionals in the country.
Teachers in Australia are not (unfortunately) given the recognition or the respect that they deserve.
Homework is banned in Finland, the role of teaching belongs to the school and is not delegated to the parents to assist with the process.
Could a similar system be introduced in Australia? Most unlikely, it seems that Australia has adopted a track diametrically opposed to the Finnish Education system.
Instead of having uniform State education for 100 per cent of the population, Australia has a complex mix of private schools, many with religious affiliation, genuine private schools, and State schools at the end of the spectrum.
Even this is not enough with State schools further divided into performing arts schools, selective schools and just schools; very few of these. This fragmentation and diversity comes at a huge dollar cost to the tax payer.
There is no political will in this country to diminish the role of the elite private schools, many of our politicians, including the Prime Minister owe allegiance to these schools.
The Finnish experiment shows what’s possible with a uniform united system, meanwhile funding debates and arguments see the Australian educational standards in continual decline.