Schools in Finland good role models

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 January, 2013, 2:57am


As a parent with some experience of the local education system, I must take issue with Iris Chan's comments about pressure on students ("Pressure an integral part of school system", January 2).

Positively speaking, local schools are effective at imparting subject knowledge and, as we now know, produce the third-best education attainment results globally. This means a great deal has been done right, and also reflects the importance attached to education in this city.

My son's primary and secondary schools also manage discipline well, with very little bullying, something of which I am very glad.

Most teachers I have encountered are also dedicated professionals who care about their students (and who are also under a great deal of pressure caused by the system).

Attending local schools has also ensured that my son is trilingual, something which English-speaking international schools do not replicate.

However, with the recent release of global Pisa (Programme for International Student Assessment) results, we see that four of the top five places are Asian cultures with high-pressure education systems, Hong Kong being one of them.

What is interesting is Finland - which has a low-pressure education system, as well as a need to learn three languages like we do here - was also among the top.

Now while Hong Kong has done very well to place itself among the best, Finland has achieved it with less work.

This means that its education system is much more efficient than ours.

I would like to therefore suggest that Hong Kong should adopt Finland's teaching methods and philosophy.

This will decrease the pressure felt by our students, the suicide rate and family conflict.

Our government has plenty of money with which it can start implementing the necessary changes, including reducing class sizes, proper language training for ethnic minorities within mainstream schools (instead of dumping them in schools designated for them), retraining according to Finnish methods (where teachers are regarded in the same light as doctors and lawyers). Also, re-education of local parents as to the effectiveness of Finland's methods, compared with the ones we use now, is needed.

Maybe the Education Bureau would like to enlighten us as to when these changes will be implemented.

Doing so will make life a great deal more pleasant for Hong Kong's students, their teachers and their family.

Roger Phillips, Sheung Shui