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26 Amazing Facts About Finland's Unorthodox Education System

The new education system in Finland is amazingly efficient: in an international standardized measurement in 2001, Finnish children came top or very close to the top for science, reading and mathematics and easily beat countries with a similar demographic. All that at a cost per student of around 30% less than in the US.

Experienced educators are essential in a school system and in Finland all teachers must have a masters degree, which is fully subsidized, and they are selected from the top 10% of graduates. Being a teacher in Finland isn't about making good money, as you start with an average salary of $29,000, in 2008, and there is no merit pay. However, high school teachers with 15 years of experience make 102% of what other college graduates make. More importantly, teachers are given the same status as doctors and lawyers. Social respect is a big "pro". Finally, Finland has the same number of teachers as New York City, but far fewer students.