Saturday, December 24, 2011


My four grandchildren are now enjoying the last week of their year-end holidays before school starts again on 3 January 2012. Having spent my entire professional life in the field of education, I take a very keen interest in what my grandchildren are learning in schools. Two of them are in Singapore schools, and the other two in private international schools in Kuala Lumpur.

My personal views of Malaysia's education policies have been posted here before. Suffice to say the national education system has been hijacked by the politicians. It will take another generation or two for Malaysia to regain its former levels of academic excellence.

Singapore schools and universities, on the other hand, have consistently been ranked among the top in the world. But frankly, there's just too much emphasis on exams and competition, leaving children with too little time to develop their full potential and creativity.

"Preparing kids for life". Photo:

British and Amercian institutions of learning have long been touted as the best in the world. But in recent years, even the US and the UK are looking to learn from Finland's hugely successful education system.

It took Finland almost 40 years of education reforms for its education system to leapfrog over that of the US and the UK. Today, Finland tops the international rankings for having one of the most innovative and successful systems of education in the world.

Teaching is a prestigious and much sought-after profession in Finland, which is not the case in Malaysia where it is the career of last resort for graduates. It is rare for academically-gifted students to end up as teachers in Malaysia. Teachers here are poorly-paid, inadequately trained and overworked, whereas in Finland teachers are highly respected and the backbone of the education system.

Click here to find out 26 amazing facts about Finland's unorthodox education system.

1 comment:

Starmandala said...

Well, I'm glad I'm Finnished with school! But the key factor, I think, is that Teachers are accorded equal status with Doctors, Lawyers and Engineers. Very inspiring :-)