Education minister seeks lessons in Finland

French Education Minister Luc Chatel said Wednesday he believed France had a lot to learn from the Finnish school system, which for years has outperformed other European nations in international rankings.

“There are a number of practices that work here which we can transport,” he told AFP while visiting the Itaekeskus school in eastern Helsinki.  

Finland’s school system was judged to be the world’s best in 2006 by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s PISA study, and in 2010 it was still the only European country to hit the top five after being displaced in reading skills by Asian countries.  

“It’s useful, since we (in France) do not have such good results, to gain inspiration from good practices,” said Chatel.  

After listening to a presentation by teachers at the Finnish school, Chatel said he was impressed by how multi-faceted Finnish teachers’ roles were and how much authority they had to shape the national curriculum they followed.  

“The mission of teachers here encompasses not just instruction, but also support for study and pedagogical work, and that’s very interesting,” he said.

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