Finland and Singapore, two different top countries of PISA and the challenge of providing equal opportunities to immigrant students

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International student achievement comparisons have aroused interest widely across the world. Finland dominated the comparisons for a long time but now Asian countries have fared better. Both countries studied have faced abundant immigration, which has changed the student groups. In this article, we compare two quite different top countries: Finland and Singapore. How do immigrant children succeed at school? How do the Finnish and Singaporean educational systems support their academic success? Our purpose is to discuss these countries’ educational systems in the light of immigrant students’ study success. The review showed that the Finnish system can provide profound support for learning among immigrant children and that the strength of the Singaporean system is in the adoption of high aspiration and motivation to strive for success. Both systems provide opportunities to succeed at school, but opportunities to participate and willingness to integrate may also be the keys to academic success.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7
Pages (from-to)207-237
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018
MoEC publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed