|Society at a Glance 2011: OECD Social Indicators
Finland is acclaimed as one of the rare countries
that has managed to build a school system where all children learn well and most
schools succeed. It has no private schools; study time is low compared with
other countries and a master's degree is the minimum qualification for a
teacher. In South Korea students also get impressive results in a culture where
parents regard failure to gain entry to university a huge shame.
The high cost of private education in Korea
including cramming schools known as hagwons is cutting the birth rate while the
factory-style study system has put the country at the top of the league for teen
suicides. In the US, many middle-class families now struggle to get by on two
paychecks, whereas most got by on just one back in the 1950s and ’60s. It is
claimed that part of the reason is that many second paychecks today go toward
financing a largely fruitless bidding war for homes in good school districts.
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This article can
be accessed here.
Today the Irish Times has a number of
articles on fee-paying schools.
Some additional information on Finland is
provided in a blog post: Irish have little interest in reform despite economic crash
Finland pays its teachers well as they are
comparable with earnings of medics and lawyers - - but still lower than levels
In 2009, the rate for a primary teacher after 15 years was €50k in Finland and
€68k in Ireland according to the OECD. It was €61k at upper secondary level and
€68k in Ireland.
In Finland in 2009, a Finnish GP’s pay was 1.8 times the average wage and 3.5
times in Ireland; a salaried specialist earned 2.6 times the average wage in
Finland and 4.5 times in Ireland.
According to the OECD’s Education at a Glance 2011, Finland spent 5.8% of GDP on
education in 2008; Ireland spent 5.6% (Ireland’s GDP is inflated by the profits
of foreign multinationals and GNP is about 20% lower. So effectively Ireland
spends more on education than Finland). The United States spent 7.2%; South
Korea 7.6% and Norway 7.3%.