On the website, toptenz.net, author Kristine Alexander lists ten reasons why she believes Finland’s school system is best in the world. Here is one of the reasons:
“In Finland, teaching is seen as a very desirable career; teachers are viewed on par with other professionals, such as lawyers and doctors. A research-based master’s degree (fully paid for by the Finnish government) is a prerequisite for a teaching position, and competition for acceptance into the top teaching programs can be fierce. One professor reports that in 2012, the University of Helsinki received over 2,300 applications for the 120 places in its primary school teacher education program.
The requirement of a master’s degree means that Finnish teachers generally have between 5 and 7.5 years of educational preparation for their roles before they are responsible for leading their own classroom. Because teachers have undertaken extensive training for their roles, they are more likely to view teaching as a lifelong profession, and Finnish society accords teachers a position of respect and prestige, which in turn enables them to do their jobs even more effectively.”
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This piece focuses on the college degrees of Finland's teachers, and today in the US there is also a focus on requiring college degrees to teach young children. But this requirement is meaningless unless these teachers are paid in accordance with the value of a college degree. In this country they are not!