Vol 25, Issue 09 18 November 2022
Unlike Vietnamese education with many exams in a school year, Finnish education has very little. So how can Finnish education classify students?
In Vietnam, students at the primary level have two main exams, the end of semester 1 and the end of semester 2. When moving to secondary school, subjects with regular tests are conducted over a period of 15 minutes, and periodic tests are conducted over a period of 45 minutes. At the end of each semester, there is also an exam. The average score of each exam helps teachers assess students’ learning abilities. When switching from secondary to high school, students have an exam consisting of three maths, literature, and English to be able to apply for admission to high schools based on the total score of these three subjects. After completing grade 12, students take the National High School Examination to consider their university entrance results. Most parents in Vietnam want their children to be able to study in schools with good facilities, good teachers, and good students. That’s why they put pressure on their children to learn. Vietnamese children focus on subjects such as Maths, Literature, English, and natural sciences. Because the academic results of these subjects will determine the results of being selected for Universities. College or University is almost the only choice of students with the dream of getting good jobs after graduation.
In Finland, things are almost the opposite. They learn more skills at the primary level than knowledge. They are encouraged to be physically fit for the golden age for the development of their physical bodies. Parents in Finland do not need to choose a school for their children, because primary schools have almost the same investment in facilities, and the quality of education is not too different. Therefore, most of them attend schools close to home. And they can walk or bike to school on their own. Up to secondary school, it is still almost the same as elementary school. However, teachers observe students through classroom assessments. When they are in grade 9, teachers will give advice so that students can choose vocational education or further study in high school. When students choose vocational education, they can choose a subject that they enjoy and are gifted in. After this period, students can go to work or go to college if they see their passion and want to study further. Students with intensive academic ability, will continue to high school and prepare for university entrance exams. Finnish students’ university entrance exams are the Entrance Exam. When I observed an Entrance Exam held in Xamk last November I was very surprised. The exam is very normal, and the number of students participating is relatively little. This image is completely different from the university entrance exam in Vietnam.
Although, Finnish education does not have too many exams but still classifies students. Students have the opportunity to find out their strengths so that they can choose the right direction.