What if Sir Ken Robinson was to give the same talk today, would he still mention Finland as a country on the top of the education system, would he still mention “No Child Left Behind” act as a topic for irony? Two and half years have passed since sir Ken gave his talk and the world did not stand still in these years. With the complete assent to sir Ken’s talk, I want to highlight some changes that have occurred with the focus on some related points.
In the past few years, Samsung has outperformed Nokia especially after adopting Google’s Android operating system. Nokia was famous by its slogan “connecting people” however, Samsung came out by a more rigid slogan “Inspire the world”. Looking at the fact that Nokia is Finnish and Samsung is South Korean, did South Korea outperformed Nokia in any other field than cell phones ? The answer is yes. According to http://www.mbctimes.com/, the Finland’s education system was on the top rank until 2012. However, today we can see that South Korea has snatched the lead from Finland and became on the top of the rank. With many similarities between the two systems especially in the aspects related to respecting teachers and providing exceptional environment to them, and the most important no school’s dropout.
In South Korea about 93% of all students graduate from high school on time compared to 75% in the united states according to abc news. The country is now 100 percent literate, and at the forefront of international comparative tests of achievement, including tests of critical thinking and analysis. However, having a system without school dropout and that’s ranked on the top of world’s education systems does not mean that the system is perfect. On the contrary to the Finnish system, I can feel that the South Korean system is not applicable every where. The system is mainly successful because of the nation’s culture which traditionally values conformity, order and hard work.
This success comes at a price according to a TED talk. Students are under enormous pressure to perform. Talent is not a consideration because the culture believes in hard work and diligence above all. Andreas Schleicher said that Koreans believe that they have to get through the really tough school period to have a great future. Classes also are larger with about forty students per class with the teacher’s goal is to lead the class as a community and help develop peer relationships.
So, having two successful but different education systems, the Finnish and the South Korean, which one is better to adopt? Actually, it depends. Some other countries with similar cultures to South Korea have already applied similar techniques and were able to achieve great success in their education systems, speaking about Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong. These countries also has outperformed Finland in the rank. However, we can see that this type of education, under pressure, is not suitable to other countries like the United States.
The united states education system has gone up in the rank in the past few years but still not in the lead. It was ranked 17th in 2012 and moved to the 14th in 2015. With many criticism to the No Child Left Behind act, in December 2015 President Barack Obama signed a legislation replacing it, named Every Student Succeeds Act (EESA). The new law modified parts of the previous law but did not eliminate provisions relating to the periodic standardized tests given to students. However, the law makes significant changes to the role of tests in state education systems. For example, it requires states to include a broader set of factors in school accountability systems rather than just test scores. It is aimed that this new law overcomes the drawbacks of the previous one.