An excellent schooling system builds not only a remarkably talented human resource pool for the job market but also a society that uses facts and reason to find solutions to problems. It is especially fascinating that countries with highly successful school systems have adopted diametrically opposite approaches to educating children and teenagers. In the rest of the article, we will look at the four different countries with top ranking education systems to illustrate this contrast in education strategies.
The education system in this city-state, which has consistently ranked among the top ten countries in international tests conducted to evaluate the performance of 15 year-olds, consists of six years of primary school and four years of secondary school. After the completion of secondary school, students take the Singapore-Cambridge General Certificate of Education Ordinary Level (O-level) to enter junior college for two years. After these two years of education, students take the Singapore-Cambridge General Certificate of Education Advanced Level (A-level) to enter university. An alternative programme is offered to students who are very strong in academics at the end of the primary school called the Integrated Programme (Ip), where the student can skip the O-level examination and attempt the A-levels after six years of integrated secondary and post-secondary education. The purpose of the Ip programme is to allow academically gifted children to spend more time developing their intelligence in unconventional ways. Owing to the need for self-initiative while learning in this programme, there are a number of institutions offering ip science tuition in Singapore to help students who are enrolled in this programme.
The Japanese school system consists of six years of primary school followed by three years of junior high school and three years of high school. The focus of the Japanese system is the application of theoretical concepts learned in the classroom. Around 96% of the students join high school and almost half the students go to university.
The school systems in Japan and Singapore are highly competitive and place a lot of pressure on the students who spend long hours at school and doing homework.
In complete contrast to the two school systems discussed above, Finland and Netherlands have developed highly successful school systems where children have little or no homework while young and spend very few hours at school.
The Dutch education philosophy is about reducing competition between students and encouraging students to take initiative to improve their academic abilities. The teachers in the Finnish system are highly qualified and the teacher training programme is of the highest standards. Owing to the exceptional standards of teaching, a great degree of autonomy is given to teachers in selecting the curriculum, the text books and teaching strategies.