Report from CTV on how Finland has the best educational system in the world for only a few hours a day

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Suomen koulujärjestelmä - Finnish school system

This report came out on the 7th of September - the link to the video is here (Windows Media file). It basically shows how the educational system in Finland is based on teaching fewer hours a day than other countries but making those hours count. The reason behind the smaller number of hours spent in school per day is that children have a certain amount of time that they are able to concentrate in a day, and anything after that it wasted time. You'll notice the other extreme here in Korea where kids spend so much time studying at night that they end up sleeping through class the next day, so their schedule basically goes like this: wake up sleepy, get to school, half-ass classes and sleep through a lot of them, finish school, finally really wake up, go to the hagwon (학원, cram school), study hard there, come home late at night exhausted for a few hours' sleep. There's a saying here called samdangsarak (삼당사락, 當四落삼당사락) that I can't remember that basically says "sleep four hours fail the test, sleep three hours and you pass it" - in short, don't ever sleep, just study. That's one funny thing about proverbs by the way: the assumption that just because a proverb exists for something that it must somehow be true. In this case the proverb is 100% wrong.

A few months ago there was a documentary here on a high school student that had the best marks in the whole province, and he never went to cram school after regular school, and always slept ten hours a day. While he stayed awake and concentrated on everything the teacher said the other poor students were drowsy and couldn't concentrate. It's amazing that most parents here can't grasp the basic concept of sleepy = hard to concentrate.


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