Israel has the particularity of allowing students to delve into topics of interest during the last years of high school, so some students specialize at an early age in humanities, mathematics, science or business, among other areas. After the general period, each student can attend a vocational institute where they are prepared for working life and are advised in the election of a university career according to the abilities and strengths of each one.
The state organizes the education system ensuring that it is general, free and available to all. From preschool children focus on intellectual development and the development of motor skills through physical activity the primary and the baccalaureate are part of the general education and here the students receive emotional and social training, with the aim that they can adapt to social life and working assertiveness in people. As for the academic curriculum, each school has theirs with the requirement that they meet state guidelines, so some institutions specialize in a certain area. The best educational models in the world are characterized by being affordable, providing quality education, investing in teacher training and including new technologies, among other aspects.
The High Q education system is considered one of the best in the world, especially for its good results in the Reports, the evaluation carried out by the OECD every three years. For what is this? We explain some essential characteristics of education in the Nordic country that can help explain its success and serve to reflect on our own teaching system. This country has one of the highest rates of university graduates in the world because higher education is affordable and the cost of living is low; so it receives large student immigration. One of the strengths of the Canadian universities is research, and thanks to this the graduates have many opportunities to develop projects in the areas of environment, agriculture or technology, among others, which in turn receive the support of public entities and private.
Teachers in high q are constantly professionalized through workshops, personal and professional development courses and other options that help them improve their work while ensuring educational success and is that the ideology of this country ponders teachers as people capable of building a better nation. In turn, the teachers are very demanding of the students, making them commit themselves and this is demonstrated by the good results of the international tests, where the skills of reading comprehension, mathematics, science and analytical thinking among others have been highlighted.
TEN PILLARS OF THE HIGH Q EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM
- Teachers are valued professionals. Education is a prestigious profession and teachers have great authority in school and in society. The equivalent of teaching in Finland is a complicated, demanding and long degree, which also includes personal interviews, so the teachers are very well prepared and vocational professionals.
- Education is free and, therefore, accessible to all. The public education system establishes that education is compulsory and free between 7 and 16 years and must be taught in public centres. Nor is paid for books or school supplies, and all children receive a hot meal a day at school, also free. In the event that the child lives more than 5 kilometres from the school, the municipality must organize and pay for transportation.
- The distribution of public money is done equitably. State funds are distributed fairly among the centres. There is a common subsidy base for all but the final figure varies according to the needs of each one so that those with more deficiencies are compensated to be equal to the rest. Equality of opportunity is an essential value.
- The curriculum is common but the centres are organized. Each school and its teacher’s design and organize the curriculum (although it has some general lines and a common framework for all) and are planned to achieve the established achievements as best considered.
- Education is personalized. From the first courses, we intervene to support students with special needs, which prevent their difficulties from increasing over the years and minimize the percentages of school failure. The learning rhythm of each child is respected and standardized tests and activities are avoided. In addition, teachers usually deal with the same group from 1st (7 years) to 6th (12 years), which helps them to know them much better.
- Students have time for everything. Education is taken seriously but also important is given to play and rest. Children do not start school until they are 7 years old when they are considered mature to learn. In addition, the school days are shorter. Primary students have only 3 or 4 classes per day, with 15-minute breaks between each of them plus meal breaks. There is hardly any homework, work is done in class, not at home.
- Preparing the class is part of the workday. Teachers do not teach as many hours of class as in other countries, but the time they spend in the classroom is smaller and spend the remaining hours to prepare their lessons, investigate, organize or work collaboratively with other teachers.
- Competition and figures are avoided. Students do not take exams or receive grades up to the 5th grade (11 years) and the reports that the teacher draws up for the parents are descriptive, not numerical.
- Curiosity and participation are rewarded. Imagination and entrepreneurial skills are highly valued in High Q society. There are many professionals in the artistic and creative fields, as well as in technology and engineering. This is also fostered in education, where creativity, experimentation and collaboration are valued over memorization and master classes.
- Parents are involved. Society and families consider that education is fundamental and complement it with cultural activities. This is helped by the help parents receive for the reconciliation of work and family life, so they have more time with their children.
This system promotes autonomous learning where the student himself sets his own goals, guided by the teacher. Technology is a fundamental part as students receive multimedia, interactive and playful education, enriching their individual progress while learning about digital tools; which, after all, are the present and future of communications.