Finland is one of the few countries in the world that seems to have found the formula to excellence in education. Education has become an icon for Finland, perhaps even more powerful than Nokia.
Finland is one of the few countries in the world that seems to have found the formula to excellence in education. Education has become an icon for Finland, perhaps even more powerful than Nokia. Every week, foreigner educators visit the country with the hope of discovering why their students are top performers on the PISA tests, the Programme for International Student Assessment. Every three years, PISA evaluates the knowledge and skills of 15-year-old students around the world in science, mathematics and reading comprehension.
A "30 Minuts" team visited several schools and universities in Finland to find out the keys to their success, but Finland is the exception to the rule. Most countries are not satisfied with their results. Even a world power such as the United States is seriously concerned about its results on the last exams, which were similar to those achieved by students in Catalonia. Government officials in the U.S. are urgently seeking ways to boost their students' results.
"30 Minuts" also visited the United States, where debate on this issue is raging. Everyone openly admits that change is needed and despite disagreement over possible solutions, emphasis is being placed on the importance of good leadership, on improving the schools with the worst results and on adopting efficient assessment systems. One of the leading experts in this area is Roser Salavert, a Catalan woman who has been working in the New York City Department of Education for over ten years. We talked to her and visited one of the schools where drastic measures have been adopted.
The footage in this report filmed in both Finland and New York was viewed and commented on by people involved in the field of education in Catalonia: Catalonia's Minister of Education Irene Rigau; teachers from the Jacint Verdaguer High School in Sant Sadurní d'Anoia; a family from Girona; Comparative Education Professor Ferran Ferré; and pedagogue Gregorio Luri.
"Education: Making the Grade" discusses topics such as the role of school principals, teacher training and inequality among schools. The report probably poses as many questions as it answers, but it invites viewers to reflect upon one of the main pillars of the present and future of any society.