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Should the concept of competition be eliminated from schools?

Recently I've learned about Finland's educational system. Eliminating the sense of competition between students. No standardized test until they reach the age of 16. The least number of school hours in the world and the best resutls in the standardized tests.
I, as a student myself, I'd see it as a solution to self-esteem issues when it comes to grades and trust in abilities. I get As but I've been wondering how well other students would do if there was no pressure about tests and gradual, self-understanding would do help them achieve what we deserve as a result from education.

Please give your opinion in terms of school experience, and if you're from Finland (or studied there in that system) please don't doubt in sharing.


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  • Apr 7 2013: Let me quote a write-up w/o editing, FYI, from the URL at the bottom of it.
    "There are no mandated standardized tests in Finland, apart from one exam at the end of students’ senior year in high school. There are no rankings, no comparisons or competition between students, schools or regions. Finland’s schools are publicly funded. The people in the government agencies running them, from national officials to local authorities, are educators, not business people, military leaders or career politicians. Every school has the same national goals and draws from the same pool of university-trained educators. The result is that a Finnish child has a good shot at getting the same quality education no matter whether he or she lives in a rural village or a university town. The differences between weakest and strongest students are the smallest in the world, according to the most recent survey by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). “Equality is the most important word in Finnish education. All political parties on the right and left agree on this,” said Olli Luukkainen, president of Finland’s powerful teachers union.
    Ninety-three percent of Finns graduate from academic or vocational high schools, 17.5 percentage points higher than the United States, and 66 percent go on to higher education, the highest rate in the European Union. Yet Finland spends about 30 percent less per student than the United States.
    Still, there is a distinct absence of chest-thumping among the famously reticent Finns. They are eager to celebrate their recent world hockey championship, but PISA scores, not so much. “We prepare children to learn how to learn, not how to take a test,” said Pasi Sahlberg, a former math and physics teacher who is now in Finland’s Ministry of Education and Culture. “We are not much interested in PISA. It’s not what we are about.”
    Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/people-places/Why-Are-Finlands-Schools-Successful.html#ixzz2PjaIbtHD"
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      Apr 7 2013: I wish our schools were as good and as efficient. In my state, public schools supporters are petitioning the state legislature for another $ 5 billion to make things better. The public schools have asked for more funding each year for the last 50 years? We have head start programs that seem to last educationally until about the third grade. I guess we can honestly call them publicly funded day care centers. It's not so much about teachers, it's about public school management. They can not seem to get a good education program in place. So they have gotten into food services, transportation, social services, police, after school sports promotions, so that in many districts, nearly half of the employees are not teachers. Now, schools are not entirely lacking in educating youth. They have successfully taught political correctness, self aggrandizement,
      narcissism, haven't done that well in reading, writing and arithmetic. The surprising thing is that there are bright, articulate, educated young adults coming out of these schools. Not a great number, maybe 10 %.
      I have always wondered what these youngster could have done if they had gone to school.... in Finland.
      • Apr 7 2013: Mike, I agree with you. The problem in education here is that our government also believe in "equility" in education, however their approach, or the interpretation of this word is drastically different from the Finnish government. Here the government approach is that of a (false or harmful) nanny state concept, actually agreed on by both the major parties.
        Let me use an analogy. two farmers started the spring plantation by sowing grain seeds into the ground. And soon the sprouts from the seeds come out. However, the sprouts are not growing to the same height.. One farmer takes the attitude like our government says "let's make equality of these poor sprouts, so he worked very hard by pulling all the low growth sprouts up a few inches to make them all of similar heights. The other farmer says, these sprouts will later grow to nearly similar heights anyway, we just need to help them with fertilizers and irrigation. Now a week later, the first farmer finds half of his sprouts are withered to death, while the other farmer eventually has a good harvest, with most of the plants having similar, but of course not identical heights! Do you think that this is a good analogy?
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          Apr 13 2013: Sorry. been off line for a week. Your analogy is well taken, I got a dozen more. B/L is the founding fathers in establishing a public school system allowed the local school board to be an independent political system not associated with other governments. Makes you wonder.

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