International City Profile
Helsinki is a small city that takes pride in its smallness. Having only 1 million people in the city, the city is still developing, but rapidly and intelligently. Within the next decade, big changes should come for this small city. The city grows yet still hold firm to its roots - its tight knit community continues to support local businesses and homegrown food. Since this city was part of Sweden for many years, there is still a small part of the population that speak Swedish (about 5%) and the Finnish speaking population (about 81%) as a majority.
The people in Helsinki start education later than people in Hong Kong do - their education starts when they are 6, in a "pre-primary" year, before going through 9 years of primary and continuing their secondary education in the same school all the way up to when they are 16 - then they can choose to either lukio, their equivalent of high school or vocational schooling for three years, or just drop out altogether. Surprisingly, only 3% of students discontinue their learning, 70% going on to high school and 27% going to vocational school. Some suggest that such a high rate of success is because of their student centred democracy. All students are taught at the same level, and the student are able to choose what they choose to study - with an advisor's advice. There is also no standardised testing or formal across city examinations until lukio, where they take matriculation at the end of all their schooling.
Benefits in Public System
Helsinkis public system has a lot of benefits that help the poor with their costs. In the University of Helsinki, the schooling is completely free, and they have student benefits, such as grants and scholarships given by various scientific organisations to help doctoral students or scholarships and grants given by the school to help international students or local students alike. From a translation of the Finnish national board of education, it says that "Public authorities must secure equal opportunities for every resident in Finland to get education, including "post-compulsory" education, and to develop themselves irrespective of their financial standing." Making sure every one gets an equal opportunity.
Attitude Toward Learning
Finland as a whole has a 100% literacy rate, and has low dropout rates. That might be to do with Finnish character. Helsinki's people are independent minded and have a willingness to learn and compromise to make a better lifestyle fro themselves. This attitude toward learning in Helsinki is extremely high - the teachers have to go through the same training a lawyer or a doctor might, making them well respected and a job to aim for. The teachers are fully trusted to their own devices in order to let each and every one of their students flourish and grow. The students are typically in small classes, allowing teachers to focus more on each student, and have more freedom to give them extra help.
Since teachers are held at such high regard, they are under complete control of what goes on in the classroom. If they decide to help a student that is struggling in class, to ensure that no one gets left behind, then that is completely up to them. The teachers are constantly going to workshops on education and work closely with the other teachers in Helsinki to ensure that they are doing the best they can for their students, for the future generation.
Helsinki's education system is what most educators dream of. No one is really sure of the secret of success, but one thing is for sure - that people in Helsinki recognise what is important, and that is the future generation. If you do not take care and educate your children, then the sustainability of your city is shot. Helsinki has done incredibly well for themselves, claiming top spots in international examinations, and working to create a better future for themselves. Helsinki's education is something that every city should strive for - to have trust and value the people that shape the next generation.