Tag Archives: Education

2nd – Finnish and Portuguese School Systems

13th of March at TAMK’s main campus.

The subject for this second meeting was the education system. Overall, we realized they are mostly the same, with a slight detail in division and nomenclature being different. What I found most useful, besides finally learning “ammattikorkea-koulu” in case I need to ask the bus driver if that bus goes to the main campus – I study in Mediapolis so I always forget which numbers take me to the main campus – was their explanation of the grading system. In Portugal higher education has usually 5 credits per course like Finland, but the grades are from 0 to 20, unlike the 0 to 5 system in place here. I do wonder how my home faculty will do the equivalence, but Kaisa and Tiuu’s explanation of it was really clear and simple. Afterwards, it was interesting to speak about vacations and holydays. One thing I noticed is how while we have at least one holyday or national day per month, sometimes two or more, where there is no school, they are a lot more scarcer here and they told me about Vappu which I now anticipate since it sounded really cool with the white hats and such.

About school at school

Our fourth meeting took place at TAMK since our subject for the meeting was school and education. We taught each other how the school systems in our countries work. We also talked about different student benefits and expenses as a student.

In the Netherlands the primary school starts at age 4 and if you’re born at the end of the year you might have to retake the first year since you’d be missing too much. That differs from the Finnish system where everyone starts school at the same time in mid-August in the year they turn 7. Before primary school the kids might go to a kindergarten but it’s not mandatory like it’s not in Finland either.

Primary school lasts for 8 years so when going to secondary education they are usually age 12. In secondary education there are three different choices for high schools that are VMBO, HAVO and VWO. The choice is made based on test results from primary school.

VMBO (”preparatory middle-level applied education” or pre-vocational education) lasts for four years and it has four different levels (TL, GL, KBL and BBL). The levels go from most theoretical path (TL) to the path that emphasizes vocational training the most (BBL). After VMBO the student might go to work or continue studying at MBO. MBO (”middle-level applied education” or secondary vocational education) lasts for 2 to 4 years depending on the level. Students in MBO can choose a more school-based path where training within a company takes 20-60 % of the time or an apprenticeship education where training is more than 60 % of the study time. After MBO the student can enter the job market or continue studying in HBO.

HAVO (”higher general continued education” or general secondary education) lasts for five years. The first three years all students study the same subjects and after that they enter the second phase where they have to choose a profile. The different profiles are Culture&Society, Economy&Society, Nature&Health and Nature&Technology. A HAVO diploma provides access to HBO. HBO (”higher professional education” or polytechnic / university of applied sciences) usually takes 4 years (bachelor) and after that you may apply for a master’s program or enter the job market.

VWO (”preparatory scientific education” or pre-university education) lasts for six years and it is the highest variant in the secondary education level. The studies in VWO go on similar way as in HAVO but the difficulty level is higher. In VWO students also have to choose between the four profiles. With a VWO diploma a student can continue in WO (”scientific education”) that is only taught in research universities. WO also has a bachelor’s (normally 3 years) and a master’s (1-3 years) programme. After a master’s degree it’s possible to apply for a PhD candidate position at a university.

Although the school systems have similarities there are also a lot of differences. In Dutch school system are three options for secondary education where there are only two options in Finland. Also, the compulsory education in Finland ends after comprehensive school (or when it has passed 10 years since the beginning of comprehensive school, at age 17) and in the Netherlands it ends when you’re 18 so for example after VMBO a student must go at least two years to MBO.

In the Dutch system there is a possibility to “level up” after for example finishing at HAVO you can take final year of VWO and apply for WO. And it is also possible to go from HAVO to MBO. Usually students just follow the path as it is planned. It seems a bit weird because secondary education starts as early as age 12 and I know that many Finnish people who finish high school at around age 18 still don’t know what to do in the future. In Finland both high school and vocational school are equal when applying to a university or polytechnic (depending on the degree of course).

In Finland the education is free at all levels. Of course there are some private schools too that have tuition fees but they are not very common. In the Netherlands the education costs after secondary education. In the Netherlands students don’t get a student benefit from the government but they can apply for a cheap loan. In Finland a student can get student benefit from the age 17 on (depending on parents income and other things). In higher education parents’ income can’t decrease the amount of the money anymore but there are many other factors that affect the amount of money that you can get. Finnish students can also apply for a loan.

I find different education systems interesting as you may have realised from the length of this post. It’s interesting that even though we’re all students in TAMK at the moment we come from different study backgrounds.

Let’s talk about education

Our fourth meeting was about the education systems. We met this time, how appropriate, at the university.

My expectations were that the Finnish and Dutch education system are pretty similar, but that was not the case. It’s totally different from each other.

The Finnish school system starts at age 6. Kids will start preschool. At age 7, kids will go to basic education. The basic educations has 9, sometimes 10 years. The 10th year is for those who need a little bit more time and for those who can’t decide what to do next. Most pupils are around 15 or 16 when they finish basic education.

After basic education, pupils can choose between Upper secondary school and Vocational school.

Upper secondary school

This is kind of similar to high school. This will take 3 years, and this is particularly theoretical education. Pupils will get different kinds of subjects and after Upper secondary school, Pupils can to vocational school, university of applied sciences or university.

Vocational school

Vocational school is a school for pupils who already kind of know what they want to become. This is particularly practical education, you can study for cook for example. This will take 3 years and after vocational school, pupils can look for a job and gain work experience, do another vocational qualification, go to university of applied sciences or go to university.

University of applied sciences

Most pupils are around 18 or 19 years old when they finish upper secondary school or vocational school. One of their options is going to the university of applied sciences. This will take 4 years and after finishing the university of applied sciences, you will get a Bachelor’s degree.  With a Bachelor degree and work experience, it’s possible to go for a Master’s degree.

University

The other option is going to the university. This will take 5 years. After the 3rd year, students will have their Bachelor degree. After the 5th year the students will get their Master’s degree. After getting a Master’s degree it’s possible to get a licentiate and a doctor’s degree.

 

A fun fact about the school system in Finland are the graduation caps. After graduating Upper secondary school, Finnish students will get a graduation cap.

Differences

Like I already said before, the Finnish education system differs a lot from the Dutch system. In the Netherlands, children will start school when they are 4 years old. They will start high school when they are about 12 years old.

Another really big difference between the systems is the fact that in the Netherlands, after elementary school, pupils will get classified on level. The level decides to what school they will go after high school.

It was really interesting to see the 2 education systems next to each other and it was also interesting that the systems differ a lot from each other. After seeing them next to each other I can’t say which system I think it’s better, because they both got their pro’s and con’s.

 

9th meeting at the Moomin Museum

Today we went to the Moomin Museum. I did not know anything about Moomins until I came here, but it was already my second time in the museum. I love them and they seem a very important part of the Finnish culture.

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Lynn did not know them either before coming to Finland, but it’s because she did not have a TV when growing up, not because the show wasn’t aired in Germany. In fact, she told me some of her German friends know the Moomins from television. My Spanish friends, on the other hand, do not know them.

We also visited the part of the museum with paintings and we talked about art and how they approach art in education in both of our countries. She told me Germany does not encourage much creative paths in education but they have the opportunity to follow this careers if they want to. In my case, I should have gone to another town to study art in high school, even though my town is one of the biggest in the region.

Sad Moomin is sad
Sad Moomin is sad

We also discussed that Germany does not have many famous painters, whereas France, Spain and The Netherlands for example have plenty of them. But we agreed that there are many German music composers, a field where Spain does not excell.

But we did not just talk about art, we also created some at the museum. I painted a sad Moomin.

#5 – Talk to someone different! at Tallipiha

During our 5th meeting, I invited my friend Anna-Maria from Germany, who came to visit me in Finland, to our EOTO meeting. The goal of this was to let Maija and Kaisa talk to someone else than me. They could try to get to know a complete stranger by asking her questions in German and trying to understand her replies.

Maija’s idea was to show us around in the small district with shops and cafés called “Tallipiha”. I have been in Tampere for a while already but didn’t know that place. The café was really cute, I liked the interior style a lot.

I decided to try out Finnish lemonade and a kind of candy, omg, it was so strange but good. Both of them 😀

My lemonade tasted like forest haha
I had no idea what I was eating but I think it was a chocolate covered marshmallow with candy cane sprinkles (strange combo, right? XD)

Because we were all students it was easy for them to get along with my friend, we could talk a lot about the education system in Germany and about our hometown, Osnabrück.

~*~*~*
Some words to remember about the education system that sound very similar to the English words:

Schule = school; pupil means: Schüler and has the same word-stem

Universität = university

Schulsystem = literally: school system; or rather: education system

~*~*~*

Basically we practiced a lot of free talk on that day 🙂 After our meeting I had to leave to finish an assignment but my friend and Maija went for some shopping in Tampere and probably more talking together 😀 It’s great to see them getting along and I bet it was fun! 😉

 

Polish breakfast with Mexican discussion.

Even though there was a Polish breakfast, the main reason for a meeting was still Spanish language. The main idea of a meeting was a discussion about Mexican system of education. After the meeting I am able to describe the levels and the periods of education in Mexico. I got to know how long the school lasts. We also compared Polish and Mexican schools and courses. What is more, I can enumerate some basic vocabulary and expressions associated with the system of education. That was very nice lesson. It was easier to understand when Sheli explained how the education is perceived in Mexico. The lesson was conducted at my apartment. It was not the most unusual way of lesson we have ever had, but every occasion to absorb more information about Mexican culture is appreciated by me.