School, Finland and parental presumption

Everything has been read about the case of the Finnish mother who withdrew her children from school in Sicily considering our system inadequate. The debate often didn’t get past the barroom discussion level. It translated into a war between those who took sides against the Scandinavian mother arguing that ours is the best possible school system and that theirs cannot hold a candle to the comparison and those who, on the other hand, agreed with her. The issue is, as always, much more complex. There are strengths and weaknesses in both school systems.

Certainly the very high quality of the Scandinavian country’s system cannot be denied: second the latest Pisa data – the OECD index that examines the extent to which students have acquired some of the knowledge and skills essential for full participation in modern societies -, updated to 2018, Finland ranks second in Europe, after Estonia. Italy is dozens of places below.

After all, Finland’s public investment in education is very high and this also leads to tools that allow for greater innovation. One of their strengths is undoubtedly the enhancement of individual talents, an issue on which we still have a lot to work on.

But to the many detractors of the Italian school, I would like to remind you that, beyond a system that can certainly be improved, not all schools are the same. Each one, independently, can evaluate to apply different teaching methods. And there are state-of-the-art schools here too. Some institutions, among other things, boast highly appreciated experiments that lead them to be considered excellent (such as those that apply the Pizzigoni or Montessori method).

It must also be said that, despite the limited resources, in many cases, even in the more traditional institutes, one can count on the work of excellent professionals who are committed to bringing fresh air of novelty with the few means available and schools that bring forward futuristic projects by participating in European tenders to fill the gap in state investments. Like those technical institutes in the suburbs which, well before Covid and Dad, and without help from the ministry, managed to obtain funds from Brussels to wire up the institute and equip themselves with the latest generation digital devices. Or comprehensive schools (therefore elementary and middle schools) that have managed to equip robotics laboratories for the little ones.

Surely, the Finnish mom made a light-hearted choice in moving her family to another place in Europe and then enrolling her children in random schools, which don’t meet her expectations, within a school system she disapproves of. There is no shortage of tools to find out about the projects and what the characteristics of the schools are: social groups of mothers, open days, the institute’s website, etc. And at least an online search to understand how the Italian school is structured in general could perhaps have been done. I hope that at least in Spain, where you have announced that you will bring your family, you are prepared.

However, it can be said that it adapted quickly to a common custom in our country: to the presumption of certain parents of having to have their say on teaching methods (even going through the media and after only two months of experience), denigrating and undermining the authority of teachers and belittling their professionalism.

School, Finland and parental presumption – Blog: Penelope’s ship