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Cayman Parent | Articles | Expert Advice | Considering The Best | Education Systems in Finland and Singapore

Considering The Best | Education Systems in Finland and Singapore

singapore education system children classroom

In the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), a survey that evaluates the performances of students in dozens of countries, Finland and Singapore consistently rank among the top scorers. But the education systems of these two nations are completely different. So what makes each so successful and is one better than another? -Natasha Were

Is One System Better than Another? These two education systems are almost diametrically opposed, yet both produce excellent academic results. So, is one better than the other?

Each system has evolved from a difChildren high five-ing Finlandferent historical narrative and set of cultural values, and those receiving the education also have different mind sets.

Comparing the Two Countries. In Finland, where collaboration and equality are highly valued, there are no elite schools and children are not separated into academic sets. The guiding philosophy is “we all progress together”. All schools are publicly funded, classes are small and teachers are highly qualified: all teachers must hold a Masters degree and teachers training candidates are selected from the top 10% of graduates. Finns also believe there is much learning to be done outside the classroom, so school days are short and homework is rarely set which allows time for extra curricular activities.

If there is a downside to the system, it could be that a particularly strong student might not be pushed to achieve their full potential in a non-competitive setting.

In Singapore, industriousness and diligence are praised, and children are expected to put in many hours of study. Education is all-important and many parents believe that the earlier a child’s brain is trained, the better they will do academically.

Whilst the style of learning prepares students well for examinations, there is concern that the methodology does not encourage critical thinking, creativity and innovation. Photo of a child's profile, coloring/completing a worksheet with colored pencils

The hours of homework, constant testing and after school tutoring they receive all put a great deal of pressure on young children, and leave little time for enrichment or leisure activities.

It also begs the question: do Singaporean students do well academically because the teaching is excellent, or is it because they devote more time to study, often to the exclusion of other activities?

And if Finland can achieve similarly good results, without putting children through regular exams and whilst giving them a more rounded, well-balanced education, is that not preferable?

How does Cayman’s Public Education System compare?

Read our in-depth review of The State of Cayman’s Public Education System.

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