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Finland will eliminate school subjects and give children freedom

Finland will eliminate school subjects and give children freedom

July 12, 2024

The Scandinavian countries stand out as being among the richest in Europe and, in addition, for offering a good educational model. However, with them, Finland shows a curious trend: despite not enjoying the economic level of its Western neighbors, for years it has been above them in the results of the PISA report , which assesses the educational level of 15-year-olds.

In fact, the first time these measurements were made, this country surprised to lead the educational ranking with much advantage over the rest.

Since then, Finland has become a benchmark in education. But it seems that he is not content with a school model that others try to imitate. Now, the country is in the process of changing from top to bottom the way of teaching classes: the subjects disappear and the "projects" appear , in which several competitions are worked at the same time.


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The characteristics of education in Finland

The current Finnish educational model is characterized by a liberalization of education, which moves away from models based on very rigid master classes in which students copy and memorize what they are told. This means that we try to favor the autonomy of the students by making them actively participate in the classes, cooperating with each other to develop projects and, in general, having a greater degree of freedom when deciding how to learn.

On the other hand, it seems that Finnish education gets more with less . Their annual teaching hours, for example, are less than those of Spain: 608 and 875, respectively. The amount of homework is also less, and this fits very well with a way of thinking that places parents in a very relevant place when it comes to the education of their children. It is understood that education is something that occurs throughout the day, and not just between the walls of the school.


Further, teacher training is very demanding both for primary and secondary school, and it is considered a university and post-university trajectory that is difficult to access, in addition to being very centralized: the ways of training teachers are very similar in all the universities of the country. It is for all this, among other things, that in Finland teachers are highly valued and admired.

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What is the disappearance of the subjects?

The new educational paradigm of Finland, which is being tested in schools in Helsinki and will be fully implemented in 2020, is based on a premise: moving from educating about content to educating about skills similar to those that will be required in adult life.

This implies to stop treating subjects as if each of them were a watertight compartment, and to make that in an hour the students learn and train in very diverse competitions, in the same way in which in the day to day the challenges do not appear sequentially, but integrated into each other.


Thus, the subjects give way to "projects", in which the subjects that previously belonged to different subjects appear integrated in complex challenges and with several competence layers . For example, one of the exercises to be carried out may be to explain in English the different characteristic ecosystems of several European countries previously studied, or to explain whether a text on economics offers correct data and expresses them in grammatically correct ways.

In this way, students' brains will always be working at the same time on various types of mental processes oriented towards the resolution of a complex problem, what is sometimes known as multiple intelligences.

These projects will be directed by groups of several teachers who will combine their skills to provide an environment in which students can work in groups and raise their doubts about different topics without being held back by the rhythm of the class.

Forming future workers

The idea of ​​educating in a less rigid way is very seductive, among other things, because it seems to be based on the ideals of romanticism. A class in which activities develop more naturally should be exposed to the risks that the impositions of "civilization" put limits on the creativity and spontaneous curiosity of the youngest.

However, there is an alternative way to see this change in the educational model. For example, interpret it as a way of subordinate education to the interests of the labor market . It is one thing to work several types of competences at the same time, and another is to choose the type of projects in which these are going to be exercised according to what the productive machinery of the country needs.

With the disappearance of the subjects and the emergence of a more pragmatic approach, the risk is arising that the theoretical-practical projects that produce added value eclipse even more those whose existence does not have to depend on the market but with critical thinking and a global vision of the world, such as philosophy. Time will tell.


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