Finland – Putting Western Education to Shame

Posted by & filed under Asia, Business, Canada, East Asia, Europe, International Education, Languages, Maths, North America, Northern Europe, Politics, Science, Southeast Asia, United States, Western Europe.

The east and northern regions of the world are often criticized, for lack of a better term, for a non-civilized view of economic and educative principles. But in recent years the world has seen a sharp turn in many of these countries and it’s been shown that these outdated, and frankly, bigoted views are reminiscent of a time when people thought certain countries were the greatest in the world at absolutely everything. Of course, we’re talking about the US and the UK.

It’s easy for a population to turn a blind eye to the issues frequenting their dear country and begin to believe that their nation is flawless, unbreakable and without fault. These views are enforced every day by the media and politicians of the country when in actuality these beliefs are simply smoke and mirrors and couldn’t be further from the truth. The west is slipping.

  • The US and UK Education systems are slipping terribly.
  • Western Education in general is degenerating.


And why wouldn’t it be? Every western world country has its economy in a mess and despite statements by a government determined to pull itself out of the massive debt crisis plaguing the country, it’s clear that this has devastating implications on all sectors, most of all, education. As the country continues to slip and lose its grip and sights on what is truly important, not only does the massive wealth of the country find its way into fewer pockets but also we see unemployment rates soar higher than they’ve ever been, clearly something has to change.


Some twenty years ago, Finland turned the whole situation around, it was by no means in any better place than Europe is now and was neck-deep in a recession that threatened to ruin its economy and bankrupt its nation entirely. But as it bottomed out in 1993, Finland slowly liberalized its economy and with it joining the EU in 1995, it began to invest into the education sector and now it is considered to have the best education system in the western world.

  • Higher unemployment rates and lower education scores than ever in the west.
  • Finland striving to be different makes a breakthrough and ranks top in the west in education.


Out of the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2012, Finland ranked 12th in Maths, 6th in Reading and 5th in Science, averaging at 7th place in education among countries  and topping the likes of the US and UK that ranked at an average at around 30th and 25th respectively. Why, you’re probably asking. Why does Finland have such an edge over the rest of the west? Well if you look at PISA’s overall rankings and find some averages, it becomes pretty clear, here are the top sixteen education systems with their Maths, Science and Reading scores averaged out:

  • 1st: Shanghai, China – 588
  • 2nd: Singapore – 555
  • 3rd: Hong Kong – 554
  • 4th: South Korea – 542
  • 5th: Japan – 540
  • 6th: Taiwan – 535
  • 7th: Finland – 529
  • 8th: Estonia – 526
  • 9th: Liechtenstein – 525
  • 10th: Macau – 523
  • 11th: Canada – 522
  • 12th: Poland – 521
  • 13th: Netherlands – 519
  • 14th: Switzerland – 518
  • 15th: Vietnam – 516
  • 16th: Ireland – 515


Do you see a correlation? The top countries in the world are those in Eastern Asia and Northern Europe including the likes of China, the Four Asian Tigers, Japan, Finland, Estonia and Liechtenstein. These countries have some extremely common practices that, although simple to implement and straightforward in ideology, have dramatic results that’re tantamount to a good education.

  • The best countries in the world for education are found in Eastern Asia and Northern Europe.
  • Simple but effective practices make all the difference.


The countries are all well known for developing their students’ minds through the use of multiple languages of instruction, investing into the student’s social and critical thinking skills and, most importantly of all, giving teachers the freedom to teach without harsh restriction to hard-set curricula. These factors have served to create an international grasp of the English language that is rapidly developing to a high calibre that even England has trouble keeping on top of. Additionally, through developing the student’s social and critical thinking skills, the teacher is giving the student the ability to figure out their own problems instead of having to be hand-held through every little thing as is commonplace in US and UK schools.


This is of critical importance to why the US and UK school systems are failing to produce students capable of standing on an international stage, toe-to-toe against other students and it explains why some of the newest large-scale developments, some of the most successful companies and some of the most stable economies, are found solely in these East Asian and North European nations. The west simply produces students like products and does not endeavour to actually educate their students, just to have them recite information which ultimately culminates in tests of memory rather than tests of character.

  • Developing students’ minds takes presidence over testing memory.
  • US and UK students unable to compete on a world stage.


The school systems in Shanghai, Singapore and Hong Kong are among the best in the world and SeekTeachers is always recruiting for new positions in the region as well as many other locations nearby, have a look at their jobs page and we’re sure you’ll find many positions available in these countries.