Finland knocked off top spot in international education league table

A report released today has challenged conventional wisdom that Finland’s education system sits comfortably at the top of the international education league tables.

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In the report Real Finnish Lessons: The true story of an education superpower, published by right wing think tank, Centre for Policy Studies, author Gabriel Heller Sahlgren challenges conventional wisdom regarding the reasons for Finland’s remarkable education success.Finnish education scores were at the top of the international league tables in the early and mid-2000s. Yet they have now begun to slip. Heller Sahlgren reveals that Finnish education has faltered just as new reforms have begun to take effect – the same reforms that have previously been attributed with propelling the country to the top of the charts.The author of the report Gabriel Heller Sahlgren explains that many believed Finland’s initial education success was due to the high levels of teacher trust and status and its reputable teacher training system. “Instead, new evidence indicates that Finland’s success to a large extent was due to historical, economic, and cultural factors that have little to do with the country’s education system,” says Gabriel Heller Sahlgren. “It is also clear that the country’s hierarchical educational culture, including traditional teaching methods, partly explain its achievements. This is now changing, which explains the current decline."The report ultimately warns that the most important lesson take from Finland’s performance is the “danger of throwing out authority in schools.”Finland famously opted for ‘pupil-led’ methods of learning and, the report claims, these methods could even be “harmful for cognitive achievement.” 

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