There’s no homework in Finland – so why are their schools so special?

Anyone who works in education for even a short length of time will get the Finnish education system paraded in front of them as a paragon of virtue and an exemplar of how education should be done.

Despite our best efforts to explain, people don’t always understand why. So here’s another go:

It’s could be the┬áteacher/pupil ratio; it could be the lack of standardised testing; it could be the more relaxed approach to homework – or it could be the higher status awarded to teachers. Whatever it is, this info graphic from ┬áhas some theories, and even some stats to back it up.


Written by Jimmy Leach

Jimmy Leach is a digital consultant, working with governments, organisations and people. He tweets at


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  1. I appreciate all of the great information here. I am a fan of Finland’s approach to education. But I have to take exception to one of your charts, which is very misleading because of the way you’ve truncated the scale. In PISA scores, Finland performed about 2% better than Hong Kong. Your chart makes it look like Finland’s scores were twice those of Hong Kong. This is a trick commonly used by conservative economists to mislead, it’s dishonest to present results this way.

  2. Teachers give homework from the 1st grade.
    Teacher has normally students in class 20 – 30 from the 1st grade to 9th. From 9th to 12th even up to 40.
    First stardardised test in whole country is in the sixt grade and other misleading claims…

    It’s true that here is kind of suitability test but in many subjects almost every student can join teaching programs.

    This infographic is typical collection from different sources without proper source critisim.

    Finland can’t anymore ride a splendid PISA success from the past.

    Realities are nowadays grim and finnish teachers use least ICT in whole Europe, same level than Romania and some other countries in eastern Europe.

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