Monday, January 15, 2018

Cram School Business and Youth Frustration against Schools in Finland 1/2

Since I wrote the blog post on Finland education, I have come to take a little closer look at what is going on in Finland.
This time I would like to show two recent findings about Finnish education, which hopefully attract your notice.


The first is the rise of cram schools in Finland. Yle news, the Finnish state-owned media, reports as below:
So-called preparatory courses or study cramming programmes are a hit (and sometimes a perceived necessity) among high school graduates applying to institutes of higher education. Now, HS writes, companies specializing in giving students a curricular boost are looking to broaden their customer base to high schools themselves, and even the upper grades of primary school. 
 (Note: HS = Helsingin Sanomat)

I heard of the cram school business in Finland for the first time. The global education experts and reporters who have been recommending the Finland education have ever discussed or mentioned this fact? Or do they even know it?

It is significant to know that the actual educational scene in Finland has a dual structure, consisting of the school education and the cram school business in order to make a fact-based assessment of the Finnish education. And along with other negative facts, it casts a big doubt on the much discussed excellence of Finnish school education in the global community of school educators.

This news is particularly shocking and embarrassing to the Japanese education experts and media people because they keep advertising that "Finland education is ranked top in the world without cram schools!"

At any rate, after knowing this dual structure of Finland education, we have to admit that it is one-sided or even meaningless to discuss only schools there.

Actually I have been wondering why Finlanders can stay calm at the news about the very low mathematical ability of their children, - the fact that would definitely cause a big controversy in Japan.
But now I found that they have not been calm: the students and parents resort to cram schools, while the school educators are pleased by the admiration from the global community of school educators.

Since most education experts and reporters are possessed with the school-centered view, they are very reluctant to admit the effectiveness or even the existence of alternative education institutions such as cram schools. Therefore, the educational reports and studies about the country that has some dual structure of education tend to be misleading and unreliable, as clearly exemplified by the New York Times article about the Japanese education.

The reports and studies on Finland education are no exception, or even more so due to the world applause from the global education experts and reporters. Thus it is advisable to avoid swallowing those articles and scrutinize them very carefully with the knowledge of its dual structure of education.

(Continued to "2. Youth Frustration against Schools in Finland")

Further Readings:

Big Doubts on the NY Times Article "Why Do Americans Stink at Math?"
Finnish Mathematicians Were Blowing Whistle on the Finnish Education Hype
A New Horizon of the Comparative Education in the Age of "Educational Pluralism"

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