An economic study that analyzes the contrasting educational systems in Finland and the United States, using the analysis to discuss how Bahrain might improve its own educational system.
A consensus exists regarding the pivotal role of education in economic development. However, there is disagreement on which policies should be implemented to achieve high quality education. Finland chose to have a public schooling with no competition from the private sector. The educational system in Finland is also highly decentralized, with schools and teachers setting their own personalized curricula and assessments; teachers are trusted, and there is little focus on accountability. In contrast, the US system focuses on fostering competition, allowing the private sector to play an important role in education, and there exist supplementary initiatives such as charter schools and school vouchers, all of which aim to increase competition. Additionally, in the US teaching and learning are standardized and there is a strong focus on assessment-based accountability. This paper aims to analyze the opposing educational systems of Finland and the US, and draws lessons for Bahrain based on this analysis.
Ghada Abdullah, Analyst