George Lucas Educational Foundation
Global Education

Finland’s Formula for School Success (Education Everywhere Series)

Early intervention and sustained individual support for every student are keys to educating the whole child in Finnish schools. 

Education Everywhere Video Series

This series takes a look at high-achieving education systems and model schools around the world to see what makes them successful. This series is a co-production with the Pearson Foundation.


Finland Fast Facts

  • Only 3.8% of Finland's population of 5.3 million is foreign-born, which makes for a relatively homogenous society in a small country.
  • Teachers in Finland are well-trained and highly respected, and recruited from the top 10% of graduates.
  • Because of the flexible national core curriculum that functions as a framework, Finnish teachers are able to design their own curriculum and choose their own textbooks.
  • Finnish schools are typically small in size, and the administrators share teaching responsibilities.
  • Finnish schools provide a broad array of services, including a hot meal for every student daily, health and dental care, and psychological guidance.
  • About 40% of students in Finnish secondary schools receive some kind of special intervention. School faculties include a "special teacher" who is assigned to identify student who need extra help and then provide it.
  • Upper secondary schools in Finland employ a modular structure that enables students to design their own learning programs based on their individual needs and interests.
  • Finland's graduation rate for upper secondary students was 93% in 2008.
  • On the last three Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests (given in 2003, 2006, and 2009), Finland has scored either first or second out of all OECD countries for all three measures: scientific literacy, math literacy, and reading literacy. (Source: Finland's Ministry of Education and Culture)

Watch more videos in the Education Everywhere series:

Or visit our global learning resource page for more resources.

Source: Finland: Slow and Steady Reform for Consistently High Results PDF report by the OECD.