While the Minister of Education in New Brunswick tinkers with the school system and abolishes Early French Immersion, [more info here] the Finns are quietly ensuring a high quality education system for all. Via Sara Bennett, is this post on lessons to be learned from the Finnish school system. The highlights, in my opinion:
School doesn’t start until age 7, but a government funded preschool program concentrates on self-reflection and social behaviour:
It is interesting to note that one of the most notable attributes of Finnish children is their level of personal responsibility. The early focus on self-reflection is seen as a key component for developing that level of responsibility towards learning.
The Finns realize that 50% of students are above average while 50% are below average in academic proficiency, so there is a vocational and university track in high school, and neither is stigmatized. Separation does not happen until the 9th year, and there is little grading in earlier years. Attendance at universities and polytechnics is free.
I’ve listened to the French immersion debate and have been involved from several perspectives, but I’m coming to realize that EFI is not the issue. Is our government spending time and money on the symptoms of our sick industrial school system in order to divert us from the root causes of dysfunction? If enough parents and educators spend their precious discretionary time on the French immersion red herring, perhaps no one will notice that millions of dollars are being wasted elsewhere.