Every 3 years OECD Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development plans an international exam named Pisa. Pisa is an acronym that stands for: “Programme for International Student Assessment”. 65 countries participate in Pisa with 1500 fifteen year olds from different backgrounds. Pisa is a nation based exam, rather than a person based; which also means that the results are analyzed in national levels. The comeback of Pisa shows countries how their students did in this international assessment scheme. These results are used by education departments and have valuable meanings for government officials. With this in mind, United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s statement based on America’s low scores in 2009 Pisa results shows the value given to Pisa as he states: “This is an absolute wake-up call for America”. Although America was expecting to be in the top 10; they were thirty first in math, twenty third in science and seventeenth in reading. America Also Australian Minister of Education Peter Garret declares: “This testing is vital because it helps us track Australia’s progress against other countries and target areas for improvements in our education system”. Pisa exam consists of two sections. The first section evaluates knowledge of Reading, Science, Math and their application to real life situations. On the second part, a questionnaire is given to students which entail school satisfaction and efficiency of their school systems. In order for a country to have high results, all students from different backgrounds should achieve high points. The country with the best result is known to have the most effective education system among all.
Education is offered differently to students all over the world. For example in India a government based education system is used. Mandatory education is 10+2 years starting from the age of 6, which consists of pre-primary, primary, middle, secondary and senior secondary education. Students change their schools when attending senior secondary school, where in Czech Republic students don’t change schools until compulsory education of 10 years, is finished. Czech students meet with exams at the age of eight, to go to schools where foreign language is taught. When they are eleven or thirteen, another selection is done for students to attend gymnasium or not. After mandatory education period, 3 choices are offered to students: whether to attend a technical school, a vocational school or continue with gymnasium (Strakova 591-592). Gymnasiums are advanced schools where high grades are essential. In the other hand vocational schools are where students learn the skills needed for a particular job. Many selections are done in Czech education system however in United States; a different education system is used. During the compulsory education period of 10-13 years, no selections or national examinations are done because every school offers the same knowledge. The subjects taught never differ, yet mandatory education models may alter from state to state.
Among many different education systems, Finnish system is known to be the best because of their success in Pisa exam. In Finland, compulsory education is 9 years, where students never change their schools for the purpose of embracing their school as a second home, their teachers as second mothers and fathers. Students work in library, help in the school kitchen, do gardening and clean the fish tank in school in the hope that they will see school as their second home. In addition, during the first six years of education, students are taught by the same teacher. Teachers choose their own teaching materials and teaching methods. Every class consists of two teachers, one to assist the other so that nobody is left behind. Students don’t take any national examinations until the end of compulsory education period. Additionally, pupils don’t face any school exams up to the end of first four school years. The time Finnish students spend in class is less than the OECD average and the homework given to students is personalized based on their learning style. One of the biggest reasons of Finnish success is the qualification of teachers. Primary and high school teachers are required to have master’s degrees, whereas kindergarten teachers have to have bachelor’s degrees. Teaching is known to be an elite job as Finland’s Minister of education Henna Virkkunen stated in her interview that in Finland teaching is an important career and teachers are selected among the most talented ones (Snider).
As per UNESCO norms, every child deserves education; but the quality, the quantity and the efficiency of the education differs in every nation. Pisa exam is a unanimous measuring object of success, competence and effectiveness of an education system. From India to Czech Republic, different education policies are used; but according to their sustained success in Pisa, the most effective education system is offered in Finland. Embracing the school, teacher capability are some of the reasons of Finnish success. All things considered, Finland’s education system should be an example to other countries, since a poor education system may cause a generation.