Otago Daily Times
The Finland model
A standout alternative to this approach is offered by Finland, which has decided that solving educational achievement problems cannot be separated from health, welfare, housing and employment policies.
The Finns expect government agencies to coordinate with each other to ensure the socioeconomic determinants of achievement were put in place for all children, in conjunction with action taken by schools and their education ministry. This means not blaming schools and teachers for poor student performance when that performance was a consequence of hunger, unemployment, poor health or myriad other social ills that schooling alone cannot solve.
Seeing educational outcomes as a canary in the coalmine of social wellbeing has meant all government policy works together to ensure educational equity. Also, it’s perhaps startling from the perspective of New Zealand’s tradition of experiencebased teacher education that all Finnish teachers require masters degrees and to be trained in evidencebased practices before being deployed as schoolteachers.
Those teachers are well paid and have became highly regarded professionals in their community. The challenge for New Zealand is that Finland’s solution is expensive. It requires great political will and constant attention to the changing factors that undermine societal equity. Nonetheless, Finland has shown it is possible to change educational outcomes in a coherent and meaningful way. — theconversation. com