Did we succeed or become worse? We are more corrupt today than 25 years ago and our education system has turned into a joke.
We should look to the west, somewhere near the artic to change the mindset by emulating, if not learning from Finnish success stories!
The Finnish Report Card
Finland has largely remade itself over the last 35 years, revamping its education system, transforming its medical care structure and creating a new high-tech sector that, thanks to cell phone manufacturer Nokia, has become an international player. Today Finland is regularly cited as among the world's best in a variety of indexes and comparisons. For example:
· The World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, ranks Finland's the most competitive economy in the world.
· Yale and Columbia universities rank the nations of the world in a "sustainability index" that measures a country's ability to "protect the natural environment over the next several decades." Finland is first in the rankings.
· Statistics kept by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development show that Finland invests more of its gross domestic product in research and development than any country but Sweden.
· Finnish 15-year-olds score first in the industrial world on comparative tests of their academic abilities.
· According to a global survey by Transparency International, Finland is perceived as the least corrupt country in the world. (The United States is tied for 17th.)
· Finns read newspapers and take books out of libraries at rates as high or higher than all other countries.
· Finland trains more musicians, per capita, than any other country.
-- Robert G. Kaiser
In Finland's Footsteps
If We're So Rich and Smart, Why Aren't We More Like Them?
By Robert G. KaiserSunday, August 7, 2005; Page B01
Life in Finland, one of the world's best functioning welfare states and least known success stories, can be complicated. Consider the dilemma confronting parents looking for day care for a 4-year-old daughter in Kuhmo, a town of 10,000 near the middle of the country.
Should they put their child into the town nursery school, where she could spend her weekdays from 6:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. with about 40 other children, cared for by a 47-year-old principal with 20 years' experience, Mirsa Pussinen, as well as four teachers with master's degrees in preschool education, two teacher's aides and one cook?
How to decide? There's no financial difference; both forms of day care cost the parents nothing. There's no difference in the schooling that will follow day care -- all the kids in Kuhmo (and throughout Finland) will have essentially identical opportunities in Finnish schools, Europe's best. There is no "elite" choice, no working-class choice; everyone is treated equally.
The girl would hear books read aloud every day, play games with numbers and the alphabet, learn some English, dig in the indoor sandbox or run around outside, sing and perform music, dress up for theatrical games, paint pictures, eat a hot lunch, take a nap if she wanted one, learn to play and work with others.