News

Education is learning to make choices

Pete Pakarinen
18.12.2013 - 12:30
Pasi Linnus

We want to help people become successful and to help people when they struggle. We believe in providing a safety net for those who need it and in giving everyone an equal chance to succeed.

Education creates opportunities for employment and for life. This is the firm belief of the EPP Group and it is the message of Finnish teacher Pasi Linnus, who feels that schools must give students the ability to make big choices in life.

Finland: an education success story

Pasi Linnus teaches philosophy, history and some Finnish in the European School in Brussels since 2000. He has a Masters degree, as is required of all teachers in Finland. And after his graduation from the University of Helsinki, Linnus continued with postgraduate studies in ULB, the Free University of Brussels.

It's not about the best students, but about schools that help the ones in danger of falling behind Pasi Linnus, Teacher from Finland

Ever since Finland topped the International Student Assessment (Pisa) league tables, it has been asked the secret of its success.

It's not about the best students, but about schools that help the ones in danger of falling behind, explains Linnus. But it is also about teachers who are respected and well-educated, say those who follow Finnish teachers.

Bringing lower-achieving students to the front instead of sending them to the back

 

The good results of Finnish pupils are based especially on integrated support measures for lower-achieving students.

In fact, Finland has a long tradition of supporting its weakest pupils, which means that the propability of a student repeating a class level even once during the whole school period is 3.8%. In France the equivalent figure is 28.4%, significantly higher than the average rate of 12% for all OECD countries.

It is much cheaper both moneywise and by social consequences to support the weakest fifth to significantly raise their numbers than it is to raise the top five per cent into perfection Pasi Linnus

"In some European countries there is a long tradition of sending the weakest pupils to the back of the classroom or letting them repeat the class-level," explains Linnus. This has also led to a league table attitude towards schools that are classed as those with 'good reputations' and those that do not always help the less-achieving students.

“It is much cheaper, both economically and in terms of the social consequences, to support the weakest fifth in significantly raising their marks than it is to raise the top five percent of students to perfection,” says Linnus.

Learning for life

“Teachers like to emphasise knowledge, but, for me, even more important are social skills and the ability to make choices. It is an invaluable skill to be able to make realistic choices for ourselves throughout life.”

Teachers like to emphasise knowledge, but for me even more important are social skills and the ability to make choices

One of these choices may be starting an own business. Those entrepreneurial skills should be taught at school as well, says Linnus.

“On the subjects taught at school, I have always wondered why subjects related to entrepreneurship have so little space in the curriculum. Marketing, accounting, taxation and the basics of law all take second place at school. Yet starting an own business is becoming a more and more important and secure way to employment in our society.”

In her report on Tackling youth unemployment, adopted this September by the European Parliament, MEP Joanna Skrzydlewska proposes to modernise education systems to make sure that young people's skills better match the requirements of the labour market. She also underlines that Member States should focus more on a dual education system to give young people the opportunity to combine apprenticeship in a company with vocational education in a school.

I have always wondered why subjects related to entrepreneurship have so little space in the curriculum

As Pasi Linnus sums up: "As a teacher, I always get the most comfort when I see that one of my ex-students has succeeded in life. From that I can be sure that the passing on of knowledge and education are still big issues. Perhaps even bigger than ever before!”

We believe in people. #believeinpeople

Latest

Enlargement
26.06.2017 - 18:22

EPP parties in national parliaments: reach out to citizens to shape future of Europe

During the 25th summit of Chairs of EPP-affiliated groups in national parliaments, speakers called on Europe to reach out to all citizens to shape a...
EPP MPs and MEPs tackle globalisation
26.06.2017 - 17:15

EPP MPs and MEPs tackle globalisation

The EU needs to step up efforts to adapt to globalisation to address voter concerns and create sustainable employment, say EPP MPs and MEPs meeting...
Hand with remote control on the conditioner
22.06.2017 - 15:18

EPP Group further commits to fighting climate change

European Parliament to ratify an amendment which will extend the Montreal Protocol and ultimately reduce 70 billion CO2-equivalents by 2050...
Free WiFi for all in Europe
22.06.2017 - 15:00

Free WiFi for all in Europe

An EU programme to install WiFi in thousands of communities across Europe will help people build skills and businesses to benefit from the digital...

Highlights of the week

26.06.2017 - 30.06.2017
Helmut Kohl

European Ceremony of Honour for Helmut Kohl

On Saturday 1 July, Manfred Weber MEP, Chairman of the EPP Group, will participate in the European Ceremony of Honour for Helmut Kohl which will be...
Suspected Asylum Seekers

European Union Agency for Asylum

On Thursday the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs is expected to vote on the outcome of negotiations on the European Union...
Flag of Belarus

Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich will be keynote speaker at hearing on 'Belarusian society: towards a modern political and national identity?'

On Tuesday, the EPP Group will hold a hearing on 'Belarusian society: towards a modern political and national identity?'. 25 years after the...

Events

Jun
27
27.06.2017 - 16:30

Churches and religious organisations’ accessibility to EU funding for cooperation projects

Churches and religious organisations carry out valuable work in several critical areas such as health, education,...