Finse prof. Jukka Sarjala over
grote problemen van de Finse comprehensieve lagere cyclus s.o.: te grote verschillen
tussen leerlingen; veel gedragsproblemen
bij leerlingen, minder interesse voor lerarenberoep
Vooraf: de voorbije jaren stelden de Vlaamse pleitbezorgers van een
gemeenschappelijke/comprehensieve eerste graad Finland voor als een modelland
inzake comprehensief onderwijs en brede eerste graad. De vele berichten over de problemen met die
comprehensieve lagere cyclus werden weggemoffeld. In voorliggende bijdrage
schetst de Finse onderwijskundige Kukka Sarjala eens te meer de problemen met
een gemeenschappelijke lagere cyclus. In andere bijdragen wordt gewezen op het
feit dat Finland voor b.v. PISA heel weinig toppers telt veel minder dan
Problems in the Comprehensive School
1. What Were Our Objectives
In Finland, we had a sweeping
school reform in the 1970s. The reform was not easy, for political parties,
researchers, and teachers disagreed on whether the new school was any better
than the existing one. Those opposed to the reform felt that with the existing education
system we could already reach the objectives which the ones in favour of the reform
were striving for.
For one hundred years, we had a
parallel school system in child and youth education. In that system, children
attended a uniform school for the first four years. After the fourth year (na
vierde leerjaar) they were then divided
between two different streams of schooling. The streams were quite different
from each other as far as their duration, subjects and opportunities for
further education were concerned. The popularity of the more extensive stream,
which offered theoretical subjects, began to grow in the 1950s because it afforded
a chance for the person to advance socially.
There were several shortcomings in the old system:
1. Schools which offered a better
chance for social advancement were not equally distributed in the country. The
school system was unjust because children did not have equal opportunities for
social advancement through education. (
De leerlingen werden al na het vierde leerjaar lager onderwijs opgesplitst cf.
Duitsland. Men vond dat terecht te
vroeg. In een land met een lage bevolkingsdichtheid is het echter moeilijk om te differentiëren in eerste graad
s.o.. Vlaanderen kan zich die luxe permitteren en kan dus in de eerste graad
ook technische opties aanbieden.)
2. The general education of the
populace showed great differences. People clamoured for raising the level of
education, but there was no agreement on having two types of streams in basic
education. There were no reasonable grounds for determining how big a portion
of the age group was to be sent to schools which offered either a more
extensive or more limited basic education. This formula varied randomly from
place to place.
2. How Was the Reform Carried Out
The government and parliament
decided that every school-age child had to be offered a chance to attend a
nine-year school ( van 7 tot 16 jaar). The curriculum of this new school was
more or less the same for everyone; among other things, everyone had to study
one foreign language and the second national language of the country.
The main problem of the new
school was: how to teach an entire age group in the same school, in the same
class. In the planning stages of the reform, people said that slow-learners would
dangerously lag behind; on the other hand, the school could be too easy for
In Finland, it is the
municipalities that are responsible for arranging basic education.
3. Problems of the Comprehensive School
3.1 Te grote niveauverschillen
en te weinig centen voor kleine niveauklassen
The original problem still
exists. Especially in the upper comprehensive school (=lagere cyclus s.o.)
teachers are faced with students with different learning abilities. Every student
should receive instruction at the level of his skills, but that requires small
teaching groups (in Finland probeerde men ook met niveauklassen te werken, maar
als er in de vele landelijke gebieden maar een 30 à 50 leerlingen zijn per jaar is dit moeilijk
In the past few years, the
economic situation of the municipalities has worsened. Some of the municipalities
have been forced to cut their education budgets. This has led to increasing the
nurses, school psychologists. There are too few officers who are supposed to
help the students along. There have been cuts in the funding for teaching
materials and supplies.
3.2 Minder discipline en leermotivatie bij de leerlingen
Many teachers say that in their
teaching career, students have become more and more negative. Children are more
restless and more self-centered; they are not so persistent in their work any
more. Students have become polarized: a great majority of the students are
doing better than ever before; on the other hand, there is a growing group of
students who do not fare so well.
Family problems have increased:
among other things, unemployment, mental disorders, alcoholism, broken
families. Competition in the labour market has increased and parents have less
and less time for their children. Children bring the family problems to school.
3.3 Lesgeven is minder aantrekkelijk geworden. Minder interesse voor
The relations between the home
and the school are not optimal in every case. A number of teachers are facing
difficulties because some parents behave aggressively. Some teachers have been
threatened with litigation on the grounds that they have given too poor grades
to the students.
Many of the problems in the
comprehensive school stem from the problems of society. Schools do not get
enough resources; the economic differences between municipalities have a
bearing on the school results.
Up to now, teaching has been an
attractive profession, and we have been able to select candidates for teacher
training from a large number of applicants. Just recently, we have heard,
though, that a number of teachers would like to change jobs. This is a rather disheartening
scenario for the Finnish education system.