Education in Finland: schools without walls, learning with no marks

Освіта у Фінляндії: школи без стін, навчання без оцінок

In the world of future people will most most notably need such skills as creative thinking, critical reasoning, and trainability. Finland, with its PBL system, is already teaching people of the future. It is demolishing walls at schools and is taking away usual “school subjects” from lesson schedule.

Short time ago Innovation House has already thrown light on how important the creative thinking is. American business advisor and researcher Garry Jacobs has already disclosed his thoughts on this issue. According to him, current educational system that teaches children to learn the facts, rather than to develop the creative initiative, became irreversibly out of date, and shall be fundamentally changed.

Current educational system that teaches children to learn the facts, rather than to develop the creative initiative, became irreversibly out of date, and shall be fundamentally changed

It is been a long time since educational system of Finland took care of training of people of the future, having reformed its approaches to the study at schools and universities. This resulted in worldwide recognition and top positions in a wide range of rankings. But the most revolutionary changes were made this year, when children, who came back from holidays, found out that floors with classrooms turned into open spaces. Instead of common school desks they saw that this space is furnished with comfortable sofas, upholstered chairs, tables and chairs of various shape, where scholars may get together at the “lesson”.

Education in Finland

  • Average classroom size – 19 pupils
  • Academic day is very short, and summer holidays last 10 weeks
  • Profession of a teacher is very well-paid, prestigious and respected
  • School are not checked, teachers are not assessed
  • Teachers prepare tests for their pupils
  • Nationwide exam is conducted by those, who have reached the age of 18 and continue to study

Schools with no walls

Finland is going to reequip all its 4,800 schools – project is more than ambitious. Only about a hundred of schools are built “from scratch” pursuant to new “open space” concept, the rest of them will be gradually and fundamentally rearranged. Sure thing, not all of them will be converted into the open space: some of the schools are rather old to survive the demolition of all the walls. Nevertheless, even they will undergo architectural replanning and will be adapted to the new concept, making allowances for the creation of more flexible educational space to the greatest possible extent.

The problem of acoustics is the important aspect in this case: open space is known for a fact that one noisy person may disturb all the working group, and here we have one hundred of mischievous children on one floor. With the express aim of reduction of noisiness, large premises are furnished with large sofas, upholstered chairs, instead of school desks. If some “classroom” needs a little more silence, pupils can use relocatable walls and screens to create the island of calm and silence.

Education of groups or classes of children of different ages is performed in the atmosphere of freedom. What is more, separate school subjects – mathemat