Education – Jonathan K Benton

Jonathan small fileIt seems logical that if a country with a population of 5.4 million circa can create a highly successful publicly funded school system that provides quality education to every member of its society, regardless of background, then this model should be used in every country that truly puts its citizens first – all its citizens.

Finland has created the ideal.

Students are not selected, tracked or streamed during their basic education (4 – 15 years old) in Finland. Early childhood education stresses the importance of diversity and culture. Differences are celebrated in these first years to limit bullying and other destabilising influences in the classroom.

There are no private schools in Finland. Competition to become a teacher is fierce – only the best teachers make it into the classrooms. This is how it should be. Why wouldn’t we want all our children taught by passionate, skilled and extremely well educated pedagogues? Teaching plays an essential role in our society.  We need to recognise its true value, and reward it accordingly, both in status and compensation. Without teachers we wouldn’t have doctors, scientists, artists, or trades people. Teaching is important in terms of agriculture and economy. The healthier the education system, the healthier the society. It’s really that simple.

Some UN studies rank New Zealand and Australia highly in terms of their education systems. This is an unreality. Both these countries possess a large pool of students who perform extremely well, and thus distort results. But a significant number of children in the antipodes do not have access to the same quality of schooling, and find themselves stuck in a cycle of educational neglect.

Governments are forever forking out tax-payer money to generate reports on how to restructure and reform education when a successful working model already exists in Finland. All we need is a team of smart people – educated by brilliant teachers, no doubt – to transition us into the ideal.

Until every child is afforded the same quality of education, then humanity will never reach its full potential. And there’s so much potential.

Just a thought


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