Foundation of Education and Learning Theories
Assignment 2 Semester 1, 2018
Ummeedhu Thaa GuraidhooIntroduction
In this assignment I have to high light a comparative study of the education systems of Maldives and Finland focusing on their educational philosophy or philosophies in practice. In addition I also have to highlight the differences and similarities of education system of two countries. Furthermore I have to recommend to bring some positive changes of our educational system.
Education is the only field to gain the skill of the individual to improve the living capacity of the person by getting a suitable job. It is said that job will not bend for man: but man has to do that. In addition to this, education will enlighten the person to act in according the traditional norms of the society and the culture of the people and atmosphere where he lives. The multiple behavior of the person will express himself as the educated one to his surroundings. Here both the teachers and the students will play the same role because the action teaches more than the words. It means that the teacher’s behavior will enlighten the person and teach lots of lessons to the students. Teacher is the representative of the whole society until the teachers behave and treat the children probably the act proves the students in the society.
In early days the children aged three and up in the Maldives were educated in the traditional school known as ” Aduruge”,is a large room or a shelter of a tree. The children learnt simple arithmetic, Dhivehi and Some Arabic, and practiced reciting the Holy Quran. These private schools no longer exist, as western style schools replaced them in the 1980-1990. The First western – style school in the Maldives is the Majeediyya School, a secondary established in 1927. It was only for boys. Later it was felt necessary to create a school for girls named Aminiyya School in 1944.
The government of the Maldives began implementation of the Educational Development project 6th October 1967. It is a comprehensive programme of educational System of Maldives. It introduced Primary Education, Teacher Training, Curriculum Development, Educational Radio, Community Education Programme for Adult Education and Textbook Development and Printing. The first School under this Project was opened in Baa Atoll Eydhafushi in March 1978 followed by another in HDh. Kulhudhuffushi in March 1979. School construction was continued in all atolls and was later complemented by Primary Schools construction project by Japan. Curriculum Development began in 1976, while Teacher Training began in 1977. Simultaneously other Programmes were introduced and continued through the 1970s and until the mid1980s from where on the First Ten Year Master Plan for Educational (1986-1995) began implementation. Second Master Plan was implemented 1996-2005. These were the bases of educational development in the Maldives begun by the government of President Nasir continued by President Gayoom. As of 2002, the President’s Office claimed that universal primary education has almost been achieved and the literacy rate had improved from 70 percent in 1978 to 98.82 percent. In 2005, there were 106,220 students in schools, or 40% of the total population.
Since the end of the Second World War, Nordic countries have enjoyed great success in their pursuit of high productivity and social equity. The five Nordic countries, including Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, share similar education systems as well as socio-economic and political systems (Carlgeren, Klette, Mýrdal, Schnack, & Simola, 2006; Matti, 2009). Since these countries have formed regional associations to jointly develop their policies, the so-called “Nordic model” has become widely known (Antikainen, 2006; Frímannsson, 2006; Hilson, 2008). Telhaug, Mediås and Aasen (2006) categorized the process through which the education systems of these countries developed into three phases: the golden years of social democracy (1945-1970); the emergence of the radical left (the 1970s) and the era of globalization and neo-liberalism (the late 1970s – present). The typical “Nordic model” of education often refers to the first phase, the heyday of social democracy. The Nordic countries developed in accordance with the social democratic principles toward the end of the 1970s and have since faced challenges from both radicalism and neoliberalism. Their commonalities are noteworthy: the relative homogeneity of the population, their emphasis on Puritanism based on the Evangelical-Lutheran state church, and the dominance of social democratic party forces.
Our new curriculum the goal of education is, each child who completes formal schooling shall possess the physical, intellectual and psychological competencies needed for his/her own well-being in the Muslim Maldivian society, and shall possess the competencies to function as a contributing member of his/her own family, community and country.
“The National Curriculum Framework (NCF) is the most important policy outlined to support and facilitate quality education for the Maldives. It reflects the contemporary thinking skills needed for the students to succeed in life, and how schools can effectively help the students achieving this desired goal while keeping the students as the core of the NCF.”
It explains the learning experiences of the students in the Maldives. It recognizes and reveals each stage of student’s development. It also delivers the organizational basis of formal education in Maldives. It enlightens the vision that set out to achieve, the principles and values. Moreover, it identifies the effective pedagogies and the assessment policies. It highlights the role and responsibilities of stakeholders that our curriculum includes.
Taking into account the views of a large number of stakeholder groups across the nation, over a period of time, and incorporating the recommendations of international research and educational theory on curriculum design and delivery, this framework offers a broad and balanced education that provides rich experiences in learning with equal emphasis on creating knowledge, developing skills and demonstrating values and positive attitudes which will enable to develop the students holistically. The key competencies outlined in the NCF will provide the students with the tools to deal.
The NCF carries a broad view of curriculum as the entire planned learning experiences offered in schools. As such, the framework details what we are trying to achieve, how learning would be organized and how its impact would be measured. It crafts confident, competent and responsible young people the country needs in her society, and the values that uphold and instil in them in the generations to come. It further specifies how learning would be structured and what measures schools and other stakeholders within the system would need to take in order to implement the NCF effectively.
‘The focus on eight key competencies that all children must achieve is a major shift in the design of the framework. These key competencies form the common core of achievement which emphasizes achieving the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes identified within each key competency whereas the previously curriculum strongly focused on subjects and time allocation has been diminished learning. The NCF shows the links between the key competencies and the key learning areas, encouraging learning at lower levels of schooling to be integrated and for strong links between disciplines to be developed at higher levels.”
The third distinct feature of this framework is that it maps out the learning that students will experience across the stages of schooling. This would ensure that there are smooth transitions between stages, and encourage a developmental and integrated approach to curriculum planning, teaching and learning. By providing a map of the total span of a student’s schooling, it provides continuity and consistency in a student’s education. Although schooling is divided into six main stages in the NCF, this approach ensures that the focus remains the same at each stage: a vision to develop young people who are motivated to learn and explore; individuals who are confident and competent, while being productive and responsible contributors in the society.
“The focus of learning and its pedagogy differ from phase to phase, and each one ensures creating positive learning experiences as to foster their holistic development and promote optimum learning. At each phase, the learning outcomes that students are expected to achieve are specified. At primary, lower secondary and higher secondary levels the learning outcomes are further divided into key stages. The key stages enable to categorize the students’ progress and to allow achievable future targets to be set. ”
We also have vocational education, the government considered educational program known as second chance .The aim of these programs is to give help to youth and adult who were unable to complete their formal schooling. Two or three years before the government introduced “Dhasvaaru”. It is also targeted the students who were unable to complete their schooling successfully.
The Maldives National University depicted here and grew out of the Maldives College of Higher Education and was inaugurated in February 2011. It is situated on the main island of Malé, and has departments of arts, education, engineering technology, health sciences, hospitality & tourism sciences, Islamic studies, management & computing, and Shari’ah & law, as well centers for maritime studies, and open learning. Now we have an Islamic University which is for scholars who want to study religious education.
The National Curriculum envisages the development of successful individuals who are motivated to explore and create knowledge, confident and competent individuals who have a firm belief in Islam, a strong sense of self and national identity, responsible and productive contributors to their own family, local community and the global society.
Students acquire values implicitly through what they hear, see, read and experience. They give importance to those beliefs inherent in the actions of their role models. For this reason, parents and educators including teachers and school leaders should reflect on their own values and how these are translated into the curricular content, the learning environment, and the mode of teaching.
The NCF promotes holistic approach to education, placing equal emphasis on the development of knowledge, understanding, skills, values and attitudes. The emphasis is laid on building solid foundations of knowledge and skills in the early years of schooling. In a rapidly changing world, it is difficult to assess what new knowledge will be needed for the future. Hence, it is crucial that schools focus on developing skills in children and young people; skills that would essentially allow them to gain, organise and use information appropriately. The NCF stresses the importance of the processes of learning; of developing the skills of investigation and problem solving; of applying reading skills that are appropriate to the expected task; of the use of reasoning in writing; and developing skills necessary for effective learning.
Foundation phase caters to the children between 4-6 years of age. The aim of the foundation phase is to ensure that young children have access to holistic, play-based learning experiences that support their development of coordination skills, psychomotor skills as well as their aptitudes. At this phase learning should be fun for children and should motivate them to engage in learning. The early years of learning should, especially, protect and promote children’s wellbeing, and should provide a strong foundation for lifelong learning.
The focus of learning at this phase is on experience and play, and does not offer separate subjects. Instead, an integrated approach to learning and development is adopted. Most of the learning in this phase relates to skills rather than knowledge, and learning activities should be planned in a way that children are engaged in experiencing all the key learning areas.
The primary phase of school education begins at key stage 1 (grades 1 – 3), and ends at key stage 2 (grades 4 – 6). The six years of primary education are compulsory. The purpose of primary education is to create a love for learning and to provide a foundation of skills for lifelong learning.
In primary school, opportunities will be provided for students to enjoy learning, explore and discover new knowledge, demonstrate different methods of presenting information and creating knowledge. Learning will be focused on students taking risks, learning from mistakes, and achievement. Students will be encouraged to become independent learners. Students will be exposed to a wide range of experiences and activities that develop essential knowledge, skills and values.
Lower secondary education is a four year phase, divided into two key stages (key stage 3 and 4). During this phase, students continue to develop a range of knowledge, skills, values and attitudes that enable them to become enterprising, productive, creative and law abiding members of the society who have a firm grounding in moral and Islamic values. This phase of schooling allows students to explore possible career pathways, and prepares students for higher education, for employment and for life.
Key stage 3 acts as a bridging stage between the primary and secondary phases, with students being offered a balance of subjects from all key learning areas. When they progress to key stage 4, students have a range of electives to choose from, and it is expected that the foundation laid for the different key learning areas in previous key stages, will assist students to make the right choices and allow them to understand where their skills and interests lie. The higher secondary phase is the two year period students spend at key stage 5. These last two years of school education provide a platform for exploring an in-depth understanding of specialized areas that would prepare students for higher education and employment.
Comparing and contrasting between two countries
Education has been held in high regard by both countries. Education has been highly recognized in Finland and Maldives. Finland and Maldives’ attitudes towards the education have traditionally been positive and people have generally considered it to be important national resources. Maldives and Finland creating equal opportunities in education, society has aimed to level out the effects of social background on individual life cycles and to make use of the entire population’s talent reserves.
Finland has traditionally had high regard for education, and has seen a period of enormous growth based on greater access to education (KEDI, 2007a). However, noteworthy is that this generally positive attitude toward education differs in terms of their perception of school quality. As a survey shows that education is strongly appreciated by the Finnish youth. Ninety-three percent responded positively on education (“It’s worthwhile to study in order to succeed in life.”) and it is reported that even the unemployed youth have a high confidence in the educational system (Rinne, Aro, Kivirauma & Simola, 2003, pp. 41-42).We also have equal opportunity for all the students below the age of 18. A survey in Finland has shown that the parents of comprehensive schools are highly satisfied with the teaching (86%), cooperation (74%) and assessment (71%), and parents “did not support the tenets of market-oriented schooling……on the contrary, they were worried about the inequality of educational opportunities” (Simola, 2005, pp. 458-459). In Maldives we do not take any survey to find out the satisfaction of parents.
Aho (former director of Finland’s National Board of Education from 1972 until 1991) and his colleagues (2006) have suggested that the continuous adjustment of schools to meet the changing needs of Finnish society is possible although “the basic values and the main vision of education as a public service have remained unchanged since the 1960s” (Aho, Pitkänen ; Sahlberg, 2006, p. 11). Finland’s sustainable political leadership, which has ensured quality schooling for producing competent citizens, has played a crucial role in the development of its education system. The “success” of the Finnish system can be explained by at least six characteristics: the same nine-year basic school for all; good teachers; sustainable leadership; the recognition and appreciation of existing innovations which have expanded since the 1990s; flexible accountability focusing on deep learning, not testing; and a culture of trust (Aho, Pitkänen & Sahlberg, 2006, pp. 11-12).
Despite we don’t have strong leaders like Finland. “The main aim of educational policy has been and is to create equal educational opportunities for all citizens. Education is a basic right and one that serves the public. In general, policymakers, administrators and teachers are very committed to promote equality in education” (Jakku- Sihvonen ; Niemi, 2006, p.7.
“One of the notable phenomena in Finland is its high regard for teachers. Finland’s teacher education and the “considerable independence” of teachers in the classroom (Aho et al., 2006, p. 11; Westbury, Hansen, Kansanen & Björkvist, 2005) have often been cited as the reasons behind its “success.” Teacher education in Finland has been provided through a five-year master’s program since 1979:”
So in order to make our education better we need to have excellent teachers for our schools. “According to the PISA researchers, Finnish basic teaching can be characterized as efficient. The time the students spend on studying was one of the lowest in the countries surveyed. At the same time, resources allocated to education are only OECD average, so work by students and teachers have been very efficient” (Jakku-Sihvonen ; Niemi, 2006, p. 13; emphasis added.).
Finland has placed high “trust” in their schools, education system, teachers, and students’ academic achievement, but I don’t think our citizens trust our system although we have achieved good results. Students in both countries have excelled in international examination. Exploring this issue, the underlying values of education warrant closer attention in light of the structure of the welfare regimes, whereas the Finnish education system is built upon a strong notion of solidarity or cooperation. Finland has a strong welfare state system with a tuition-free public education system from preschool to post-graduate studies, but in Maldives we don’t have such system. Out students’ tuition fee is very expensive. In Finland they have lots of welfare system of co-sharing between the public and private sectors and limited financial support from the state for public education beyond compulsory education in a welfare state system focusing on productivity and “individual” achievement, although egalitarianism was the original motivation for providing schooling to more people.
Principals, managers, academic leaders, department chairs, and teachers can contribute as leaders to the goal of learning-centred schooling. The precise distribution of these leadership contributions can vary. Such factors as governance and management structure, amount of autonomy afforded at the school level, accountability prescriptions, school size and complexity, and levels of student performance can shape the kinds and patterns of school leadership. Thus, principals can act not only as managers but also as leaders of the school as a learning organization. Additionally, teachers may work as curriculum advisors or department chairs and collaborate with other teachers, administrators and even students and communities in pursuing the overall goals of the school.
The success of Finland’s distinctive and innovative social and educational system is substantial and rightly deserves its international acclaim. But Finland is facing changes that threaten the sustainability of this system. In line with the literature on organizational learning (Senge, 1990) it is therefore, perhaps, at the very moment of its stellar success that Finland and its educational system might most need to engage with an agenda of change.
One of the main features of educational leadership in Finland, (similar to other Nordic countries following decentralisation) is the strong role played by local municipalities. More than four hundred municipalities (or, in the case of upper secondary vocational education, their consortia) are the owners of the majority of schools, they finance their schools (to a significant degree from their own revenues) and they are the employers of teachers (including school leaders). Furthermore, as we have seen, they also play a key role in curriculum planning and development. In Maldives, opportunities are not available for planning the curriculum.
The municipal reform redistributes school leadership at several levels and in several directions. The overall strategy is to share acting principals at the municipal level: five school principals were working as district principals, with a third of their time devoted to the district and the rest to their individual schools. This redistribution implies the following:
? First, leadership is redistributed between the municipal authority and the schools. Those principals who have been invited by the municipality to share their leadership activities and energies across their own schools in their areas are now taking on roles and functions that were previously dispatched directly by the municipal authority. Beyond leading their own schools, they now coordinate various district level functions such as planning, development or evaluation. In this way, the municipality shares some leadership functions with them that are typically territorial and that now move beyond the boundaries of their own school unit. ? Second, the new district heads are part of a municipal leadership team. Instead of managing alone, the head of the municipal education department now works in a group, sharing problems and elaborating solutions cooperatively. ? Third, district heads now distribute their leadership energies, experiences and knowledge between their own schools and others. While coordinating activities like curriculum planning, professional development or special needs provision in their area, they exercise leadership at both the institutional and local district levels.
But Finland’s success needs sustainability. Even the Finns continue searching for ways to constantly improve their education system. They are themselves sometimes surprised about their PISA results and the interest it has generated around Finland and also want to understand what the key features to their success are and what they can do to improve. The OECD visit to Finland to analyze their systemic approaches to school leadership helped to surface some of the key challenges facing Finland in the coming year.
Enhance school level evidence creation through initiating diagnostic testing so that the development and performance of an increasingly diverse student body may not be managed only by intuition and interaction, but also monitored to detect early on those moments when intuition within the context of cultural difference may fall short. Articulate and share hitherto tacit knowledge about Finland’s educational and economic success so that others can learn from it and it is organizationally more transferable.
Increase their opportunities for improvement when they open themselves to engage with and learn from others’ successes, struggles and setbacks. Teachers do not get better merely by copying the ones who taught them – especially when their own schools, subjects and students may be completely different. Acknowledging the successes of others, engaging with them, then intelligently adapting and continuously adjusting them with one’s own situation – these are the ways in which we improve through learning.
Finland’s success and its continuing struggles provide the opportunity for others’ improvement. We have articulated our understanding of the Finnish experience to be treated as a source of open and intelligent engagement that might lead to adaptive improvements in a range of other national and statewide settings.
Education is the only field to gain the skill of the individual to improve the living capacity of the person by getting a suitable job. It is said that job will not bent for man: but man has to do that. In addition to this education will enlighten the person to act in according the traditional norms of the society and the culture of the people and atmosphere in which he lives.
The multiple behavior of the person will express himself as the educated one to his surroundings. Here both teachers and the students will play the same role because the action teaches more than the words. It means that the teacher’s behavior will enlighten the person and teach lots of lesson to the students. Teacher is the representative of the whole society, until the teachers behave and treat the children probably the act prove the students in the society.
Education is most important sector of human life. It shows us the right way of life which gains us knowledge .It is also the most important aspects of human life that shapes our lives as we lead our life in societies. The parents are the one that have to take the major responsibilities to give education and make their children socialize. Patents should be role models for the children. The first school of every child is the home. The first things the children learn in the home are foundation of the life of every child. So the parents try to create their children good citizens for their nation, society and their own family. The children’s education and socialization greatly depend on their family’s background. If the parents are well-educated and socialize, that means the children also would be same as their parents.
Since the Finnish education system is fruitful and successful in Finland, the educational system also should have some changes as per the system of Finland. First and foremost, the government should introduce free education facilities at least up to the completion of the degree in addition to the free schooling. Moreover, the government should create a strong hope that the graduates will have the opportunities of better employment which will encourage the youngsters to continue the education and complete their degree.
As Finnish government creates opportunities for the discussion of their educational curriculum, in Maldives too, the educational department should create occasions to seek the opinions and suggestions of the educational institutions, employers, employees and even the common people while making the curriculum for the Maldivian education so that everyone may feel that their curriculum was prepared by them according to their interest and need.
Finally, the educators should be paid well since their work is vital and plays core part in the society on moulding the future citizens of the country.
Primary curriculum framework. (2006). Retrieved from
http://www.ibe.unesco.org/curricula/mauritius/mf_prfw_2007_eng.pdf. Accessed on 12/8/14 – 15: 00
National curriculum handbook for primary teachers in England. (n.d.). Retrieved from
http://www.educationengland.org.uk/documents/pdfs/1999-nc-primary-handbook.pdf. Accessed on 8/8/14 – 10:30
Kathleen Cushma, Essential Schools,1996. Retrieved from http://www.essentialschools.org/resources/82 (13/8/14—7;45am)
Fred C. Lunenburg, 2001.Key Components of a Curriculum Plan: Objectives, Content, and Learning Experiences, Sam Houston State University. Volume 2 ,No 1 . Retrieved from http://www.nationalforum.com/Electronic%20Journal%20Volumes/Lunenburg,%20Fred%20C.%20Components%20of%20a%20Curriculum%20Plan%20Schooling%20V2%20N1%202011.pdf