That’s the question posed by yet another great BBC radio documentary, entitled Top of the Class. There’s a ton of fascinating insights, some of them pretty counter-intuitive, into the devising an educational system that maps to a country’s social structure and policy. A few unexpected facts from the program:
- Finnish students don’t start school until the age of seven.
- There’s only a 4% difference in achievement between the students at the country’s best and worst schools.
- Though it’s above-average, the Finns spend less on education than many other nations, including the US and South Korea.
I know I’ve mentioned a lot of these docs lately, but I’ve been really digging them. They’re exceptionally well done, and–at 22 minutes–an ideal length to listen to while, say, stretching, doing the dishes or sweeping the patio.