“The best education you can get is investing in yourself, and that does not mean college or university” - Warren Buffett
People spend thousands of dollars or lakhs of rupees to get educated in any country. Education after all is the foundation of a great personality and a great nation. Let us analyze through a simple comparison how India and other nations are educating its citizens and how the Indian education system can be made better for the future.
Let us have a look at the Finnish education system that has revolutionized the world with its simplicity and novel approach. Finland is leading the way because of common-sense practices and a holistic teaching environment that strives for “Equity over Excellence”. The below figure shows the path Finnish students take to pursue their education.
Source: website of Ministry of education and culture, Finland https://okm.fi/en/education-system
Finland takes its education very seriously and offers equal opportunities for education to all. As per the Education Policy Report of the Finnish Government,2021 - "Everyone has the right to learn and grow and to receive the support and guidance they need. The underlying values of education set down in the legislation will be put into practice equitably across Finland. Every child has the right to attend high-standard early childhood education and care. The path of increasing educational inequalities will have been reversed. Progress on the study path and learning outcomes will not depend on the learner’s gender, restrictions to physical functional capacity, place of residence, or family or cultural background. Early childhood education and care services and educational services of a high standard will be available in both national languages, and the special needs of language minorities will be addressed. All learners can feel safe during their day in early childhood education and care and school, and they will be heard and taken into consideration as members of their communities. Sufficient numbers of competent and committed teaching, guidance and other staff will be available across Finland, and the staff will regularly improve their competence."
Education from pre-primary to higher education is free of charge in Finland.
Finnish teachers are highly educated and strongly committed to their work. A person who wants to pursue their careers as a teacher can’t take teaching as a secondary career option for themselves. A person must choose teaching as their primary career option. He or she must prepare hard to become a teacher. Irrespective of the class you teach, you must have a master’s degree. However, teachers who teach from class 1 to 6 undergo a very different training program as they teach almost all the subjects. Since teachers must undergo the same rigorous process as an engineer or a doctor, they have a lot of pride in what they do. Finnish people have strong faith in the teachers. They try not to interfere with the teachers and the students. This faith is again one of the most foundational steps in the success of Finland’s education system. The teacher from class 1 to 6 remains the same. This helps in creating a bond between the teachers and the students and the teachers can understand the needs of every single child.
In Finland, the student goes to school at the age of 7 and the school is open only for 4 hours a day. A student gets some homework for maximum 10 mins and most of the studies are done in the school hours only, thereby reducing the pressure on the student and the parents for studies and more focus on their upbringing.
In other countries, most of the schools are not willing to take weak students.
However, in Finland, there is no criteria as such to enroll the student. Therefore, all the students get equal opportunity to groom themselves. It is considered the school’s responsibility to make the weak student learn and come at par with the other students. This is done by giving special classes to such students.
All schools whether they are situated in a village, or a city get the same amount of funding. Thus, even schools in villages have high infrastructure quality. This is in high contrast with most of the government schools in India where the roofs might be leaking, students might be sitting on the floor, or the teacher can be found sleeping during the classes.
As we can see in this simple study, by changing the education policy or we may say by changing the mindset with which we lead our younger ones in education, we may reap different and outstanding results. If the education system in India will be aimed more towards educating students from all sections of the society whether rich or poor, we may have more Abdul Kalaam Azad in our country.