Schools in Finland are some of the best in the world; according to the PISA rankings*, Finland’s education system is the 3rd best, beaten only by China and Singapore.

finland map

This is why the dramatic changes are so surprising. The Finnish system is already so good; will the changes make it even better?

Traditional school subjects such as Maths, Chemistry, History and English will be scrapped. These will be replaced by “topics” such as the European Union. Topic teaching means that students do lots of different subjects at the same time; so when students study the European Union they will learn history, geography and economics in the same class.

The change has already started and all schools in Finland will be teaching topics by 2020.

Marjo Kyllonen, Helsinki’s education manager says that teaching children traditional subjects, an hour of maths in the morning, then an hour of history does not benefit students. This system was useful in the 19th century but does not prepare students for working in the 21st century.

Early data shows that students produce better results under this new system.


PISA= Programme for International Student Assessment; an international evaluation of education in different countries

Story: The Independent

Vocabulary: according to, to beat (v), to scrap (v,) topic (n), to replace (v), to benefit (v).

What do you think of this new system?  Would you like to learn ‘by topic’?

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