Finland pays its teachers
as well as lawyers and doctors but less than what Irish counterparts receive.
In 2010, OECD data shows that the maximum pay level for a primary teacher was €40k in Finland and €61k in Ireland. It was
€45k at upper secondary level and €61k in Ireland.
'The National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030' report which was
published in January 2011 stated: "Salaries account for three-quarters of total
current expenditure on higher education in Ireland - - compared with an
international average of two-thirds. This means that Irish higher education
operates with lower (nonpay) recurrent expenditure than is typical in other
In Finland in 2009, a Finnish GP’s (general medical
doctor) 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
Dr Pasi Sahlberg says on Finnish reform: "At the beginning of the 1990s, education in Finland
was nothing special in international terms. All young Finns attended school
regularly, the school network was wide and dense, secondary education was an
open option for all Finns, and higher education was an option for an increasing
number of upper secondary school graduates. However, the performance of Finnish
students on international assessments was close to overall averages, except in
reading, where Finnish students did better than most of their peers in other
unexpected and jarring recession of that time period brought Finland to the edge
of a financial breakdown. Bold and immediate measures were necessary to fix
national fiscal imbalances and revive the foreign trade that disappeared with
the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990.
Nokia, the main global industrial brand of Finland,
became a critical engine in boosting Finland from the country’s biggest economic
dip since the Second World War. Another Finnish brand, Peruskoulu, or the 9-year
comprehensive basic school, was the other key player in this turnaround of the
Finnish economy and society."
He adds that there are countries around the world
where education leaders find their own educational systems in a situation very
similar to that of Finland in 1990.
The global economic downturn is hitting many
schools, universities and entire education systems hard. "Take Ireland, Greece,
England or United States. Student achievement is not anywhere close to what it
should be in knowledge-based economies where productivity and innovation are
necessary conditions for competitiveness. Students seem to find teaching offered
in schools and universities increasingly boring and irrelevant to their needs in
a rapidly changing world."
by Sahlberg in the American Educator journal
OECD's tribute to the Finnish system
"Finnish schools seem to serve all students well, regardless of family
background, socio-economic status or ability. This chapter looks at the
possible factors behind this success, which include political consensus to
educate all children together in a common school system; an expectation that all
children can achieve at high levels, regardless of family background or regional
circumstance; single-minded pursuit of teaching excellence; collective school
responsibility for learners who are struggling; modest financial resources that
are tightly focused on the classroom and a climate of trust between educators
and the community.
"Finland is a relatively young country, having only established
its independence from the Soviet Union in 1917. Finland had to fight long and
hard to preserve that independence through the Second World War. For a nation
with a population of less than 4 million, the cost of the war was devastating:
90 000 dead; 60 000 permanently injured and 50 000 children orphaned.
Additionally, as part of the 1944 peace treaty with the Soviet Union, Finland
was forced to cede 12% of its land, requiring the relocation of 450 000 Finnish
citizens. A Soviet military base was established on a peninsula near Helsinki,
and the communist party was granted legal status.
"In 1991 only 5 Finnish workers out of 1 000 were in the research
and development (R&D) labour force. By 2003 this number had increased to 22,
almost three times the OECD average. By 2001 Finland’s ranking in the World
Economic Forum’s global competitiveness index had climbed from 15th to 1st, and
it has remained at or near the top in these rankings ever since."
Finland had a 3rd ranking in 2012/2013. Ireland was at 27th
compared with 11th in 2001.
Irish Economy: Innovation, a failed enterprise policy and inconvenient facts for