by Alyssa Chen

Finland’s phenomenal rise to the top of the education game has become a role model for many countries including America. Singapore’s education system has long been the talk of talk for its consistent ranking on global tests on many levels including the PISA (Programme for International Assessment for Students). With a population around five million for both countries, they manage to rise to become top performers in numerous metrics of national performances. When both countries are so similar in demographics, adaptation of similar education models seem plausible.

While Singaporeans are generally proud of its ranking in PISA, it is not uncommon to hear them to question why we are not able to follow Finland’s education model with seemingly  with lesser time and effort to achieve the same results. Majority of the parents lament that the price to pay for it is too high. Talks of how Singapore should adopt Finland’s model are everywhere – from parents to educators to business providers. Unsurprsingly, the loudest voices usually come from Singaporean parents whose child has to take the dreaded PSLE sooner or later.  The price to pay to keep up with these rankings is too high, many say.

Yet, is it easy to do so? Here are some factors to think of:

  1. State of Affairs
  2. Education Models
  3. Teachers
  4. Parents

For the next few weeks, we will be looking at the breakdown of the discussion as stated above.

Will Singapore eventually follow Finland’s education model? Or will Finland break and follow Singapore’s instead? Is it ever possible to have a compromise of both in our local education system?

Next week, we will be discussing the section part – State of Affairs.


Global and School Related Happiness in Finnish Children. (2012, Augus 1) Retrieved May 26, 2015, from

Learning from Mistakes. (n.d.) Retrieved May 26, 2015, from

Singapore should not be Finland (.n.d.) Retreieved May 26 2015 from

Asia Pacific Journal of Education, 32(3), 285-303, as published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Education, 2012, © Taylor & Francis, available online at: