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Monday's papers: Is Finland really the world's education superstar?

New research questions whether Finland's school system really is the best in the world.

oppilaita ja liitutaulu
The latest Pisa results (an OECD survey comparing 15-year-olds in different countries in reading, math, and science) show Finnish pupils' performance declining in math, science and reading. Image: Silja Viitala / Yle

Is Finland still an education powerhouse? Helsingin Sanomat’s leader pokes holes in the PISA-fuelled mythology surrounding the nation’s daycares and schools.

Education expert Aino Saarinen's research indicates that Finnish early childhood education doesn’t necessarily improve children’s social skills--as officials claim--but may in fact have the opposite effect if group sizes are too large.

While Finnish early childhood education teachers are highly educated, they aren’t always able to work to the best of their ability due to factors such as oversized groups and staff burnout, which in turn leads to a revolving door of underqualified substitutes.

When it comes to primary school pupils, Saarinen also argues that technology in the classroom has "gone too far."

Love for Biden

Finnish politicians have nothing but praise for US president-elect Joe Biden, who visited Finland in 2011, according to Ilta-Sanomat.

Biden was "nice and sympathetic", said former premier Mari Kiviniemi, while veteran Centre party politician Mauri Pekkarinen called him "friendly and considerate".

Ex-PM Jyrki Katainen said Biden came across as an "experienced politician with a sense of humor" when meeting him in Washington in 2012.

Lidl hits back at copycat claims

Finnish dairy firm Valio and oat milk producer Oatly have filed complaints against discount grocer Lidl with the Finnish Patent and Registration Office, according to business daily Kauppalehti.

The complainants argue that Lidl’s branding of a processed cheese product and oat milk drink are too similar to their versions.

"We have Finland’s largest brand portfolio...we put a lot of resources into developing our brands," Elli Siltala of Valio told KL.

The German grocer has denied the allegations.

Mass exposures

And finally, in coronavirus news, Iltalehti says Tampere saw three mass exposure incidents last week. The contagion sites included a spa, theatre and restaurant.

Health authorities in the Pirkanmaa region confirmed 89 new infections last week, bringing the area’s total to 804 cases.

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