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There Is No Homework In Finland [Infographic]

It’s likely that most students would agree that homework is one of the biggest downfalls to going to school. When coming home from school, the last thing school students want to do is get out their books and do more work and it seems that they’re not the only ones who have that exact thought. It seems that Finland have jumped on board the same wavelength as students around the world as there is actually no homework in Finland and it’s actually having a surprising knock-on effect to their students.

In Canada, the high school graduation rate is around 78 per cent and in America it comes in at around 75 per cent. Now, consider the fact that the graduation rate for students in Finland comes in at 93 per cent – showing a massive comparison between the countries. Finland also happens to have the highest rate in Europe for students going to college (two out of three). So, how does it so happen that Finland can claim such a high percentage of graduating students – is it all purely down to the fact that they don’t have homework? Not necessarily. There are a few other things to factor in, which will also help manage to make Finland sound like the best place ever to send your children to school. Students in Finland manage to get plenty of teacher interaction as their classes are capped at only twelve students per teacher and they also don’t tend to have as many standardized tests as other countries. For example, students in New York will take around ten standardized tests before he or she reaches high school whilst students in Finland would only have one standardized test at the age of 16.

Take a look at the infographic below to see just how impressive the Finnish school system actually is and how it can compare to the rest of the world.



So, does this manage to convince you that moving to Finland may be a really great idea? This infographic was made on behalf of OnlineStudents, the popular online resource of informative articles.


 Feature Image – Mikael Miettinen

Check out our portfolio for more infographics here.

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  • Annoj March 22, 2013   Reply →

    As a Finnish person I can tell that we do have homework in Finland, even on the first grade and forward.

    • Jani March 27, 2013   Reply →

      Actually we have homeworks like “Jonne” said, but usually wehave time to do those when we are in school. Maybe that is the reason why they are made. Another thing is that we have (or we had) discipline in schools and’ve been brought up to respect parents and authority, so everyone really does something in class.

    • dan September 22, 2015   Reply →

      lucky you don’t get homework

    • dan September 22, 2015   Reply →

      nice your so lucky that you don’t get any at all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Piret Reiljan August 15, 2016   Reply →

        Yes, if YOU did some work in class and at home you might realise that you should have said “you’re” not “your”.

        • Matthew December 1, 2016   Reply →


        • Annie May 21, 2017   Reply →


          • Hannah May 26, 2017  

            Realise works too. It depends on where you live, idiot.

          • Piret Reiljan September 12, 2017  

            We don’t use American spelling in Australia. Next you’ll be expecting me to write “license” instead of “licence” (a noun).

    • finnish February 1, 2016   Reply →


  • Ambyr Lostracco April 17, 2013   Reply →

    This is excellent information. The US has been going in the WRONG DIRECTION for so long. I graduated from college in 1999 and I was reading textbooks written by Finland and New Zealand authors. Why is it taking so long for our country to figure education out?????

    • likeimgonnatellyouthat March 29, 2017   Reply →

      Yes. It sure is an excellent myth.
      I’m finnish myself. I’m in middle school. I have homework

  • Jarmo Väisänen June 6, 2013   Reply →

    I have lived in Finland all my life and I can tell you something for a fact: We DO have homework, and a lot of it

  • Katarina September 1, 2013   Reply →

    I wonder why this has been published? Has the writer been in Finland? Or even talked to a finn? Of course we have homework! From first grade in elementary school on. The student teacher ratio is about 1 to 25. There are standard tests on all levels. Our teachers work long days and do not have a high salary.

    Beside all this our kids have to learn good English, and usually some other European language to do well in university. Please, get your facts right before you publish!

    • Olli October 9, 2014   Reply →

      Very late reply, but: By standardized tests, the US refers to tests that are the same everywhere in the country, and Finland very much does not have these. We have one, the matriculation exam at age 18 (not 16), and that’s it. Otherwise, teachers are given freedom to prepare their own tests, and nothing is standardized there.

  • Sosl September 12, 2013   Reply →

    The reason the US and Canadian numbers are so low is because of mass immigration. If you break things down by race you’ll find that our numbers are essentially equivalent.

    • Katia March 6, 2015   Reply →

      The numbers are in (PISA) and it is sadly not true. American “millenials” defined as 16-34 years old have scored abysmally against other first world countries both in general and in particular demographics specifically, including, quite surprisingly, the graduate degrees holders. Finland and Japan took the first in all categories.

    • Peggy Buckles August 7, 2016   Reply →

      I sat in on a workshop by a Finnish professor who teaches in the US. Her take was that Finland is much more homogenous and has fewer non- Finnish speakers and immigrants and that is why your schools do better. Apples to oranges.

  • Tufteman September 12, 2013   Reply →

    This is an excellent case study in “how to lie with charts”. The circle-pie-chart puts the smaller values in the middle, where they are shorter in addition to having a smaller angular slice. The bar graph axis goes from 520 to 570, and uses cute pencil graphics that are hard to read.

    2 of the 6 references are broken links. One of them (businessinsider.com) is simply a list of factoids taken out of context (like this infographic itself), and cites a Smithsonian.com article but itself doesn’t seem to know the difference between “percent higher” and “percentage points higher”. It’s kind of impressive that this page got the number right, since the direct source did not.

    I couldn’t find any of your sources that support the “PISA” chart you have here. I did look up the PISA 2006 results on their own webpage (oecd.org) and found that not only is your chart misleading, it’s using incorrect numbers. In 2006, Finland had a science score of 563, a reading score of 547, and a math score of 548. These average to 552.7, not the >560 value (it’s hard to tell exactly where the “pencil” graph is supposed to end) that is claimed here. Even the Wikipedia article on PISA has the 2006 numbers correct, so it’s easy to verify, if you don’t want to dig through the OECD’s spreadsheets.

    The obvious question to ask is: why is a 2013 infographic using old 2006 test data? The answer seems to be: because that is the year in which Finland did the best, with the #1 score in 2 of the 3 categories. Back in 2000, Japan and South Korea both beat Finland overall (with each of the 3 countries taking the top score in one category). In 2009, several non-OECD countries were included in PISA for the first time, and China tested far ahead of everyone, 39 points ahead of Finland in math, 21 points ahead in science, and 20 points ahead in reading.

    The rest of the world could learn a lot from you, China. Hopefully, that includes how to make an accurate infographic!

    • Anna B. March 24, 2015   Reply →

      Right ON! Tufteman!!! I see people lie with charts everyday!”‘

  • Jap September 12, 2013   Reply →

    The article should emphasis that Finland have plenty of good teachers that are highly qualified (Masters degree) and very well paid (last point is my assumption based on the doctor/lawyer comparison).

    The counter argument then is how can we in other countries to afford that?

    • anonymous April 20, 2015   Reply →

      with people having better education the countries make more money

  • Savvas September 13, 2013   Reply →

    One major point is that in Finland the education is free. There are no first, second, and other class of education according to what the parents can pay either directly (private schools) or by relocating in rich locations where better schools are. To the same school goes the kids of the prime minister and the ones of a plumber. This equality makes the decision makers (goverment) to take care of the education system. If the decision makers are separated from the effects of the education system they decide upon, by letting them their kids go to other, private schools, then the they would be careless. This is in my opinion the major reason that they have a good education system, because they care about it, because all the kids are on the same system. And because they care, the care to have the best for teachers (and pay them accordingly), show respect to those that breed the next generation, invest to better education, and it shows.

  • Eero Nevalainen September 13, 2013   Reply →

    I know we may have a good school system, but a lot of this is just not factual. There certainly is homework, the 1:12 ratio sounds like a wild pie in the sky dream when class sizes are probably around 25… during elementary school the only standardized test is at 16, but this is to get statistical data to ensure that the non-standardized tests are in line with what is generally expected. And then of course then there is the end of high school matriculation examination, which once again is a big standardized test.

  • Jay September 13, 2013   Reply →

    Greetings from Finland! There IS indeed homework, starting first grade. Better info on the Finnish education system is for example here http://www.smithsonianmag.com/people-places/Why-Are-Finlands-Schools-Successful.html (it says “minimal” homework, but I do not think that is quite true either)

  • Just wondering September 18, 2013   Reply →

    Sources please? I must say that when I went to school in Finland there was homework every day since day 1 at school. I have no clue what is this standardized test at 16, never heard of it. There is the high school final exams but those are taken at 18. Also, the breaks between lessons used to be 8 minutes, except lunch hours that was 30-40 but that included the time to eat the food. Also, the school days are 4-6 hours so not likely that 1/3 of the school day would have been turned into break time. High school graduation rate is high, but where is the mention that not everyone gets to go to high school – so only the best kids will qualify and I think at least 50% have to choose a different educational route, such as vocational training. And then this 2/3 goes to college – the definition must be quite vague. When I studied in Finland (and I am no dinosaur) there was about 10 universities in the whole country and you could only go for master’s degree. There are now other schools that offer bachelors, but those would normally have the criteria of passing the high school, so if everyone got in, it could still only be 50%… Also the larger class sizes has always been a problem: mine had 32 except the first year when I lived in a tiny village and the whole place only had 15 other kids of my age… check your sources?? I am definitely checking with friends who are teachers in Finland and those with kids at school, but this story sounds a bit weird to me.

    • Anna B. March 24, 2015   Reply →

      Agreed. I have been around there and there was homework everyday. This post needs to be updated or re editited. This article doesn’t seem very reliable.

  • Another Finland October 15, 2013   Reply →

    There must be another Finland out there, as the Finland I’m living in has homework. When the parents ask from their kids “Did you get any homework today?”, answer is always no.

    Please fix your blog post.

  • Finland October 23, 2013   Reply →

    Let’s get to the point: I give homework.
    Now get back to work Jarmo, Annoj and Jani.

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  • Anne O'Neamus May 6, 2015   Reply →

    People are saying that this IS homework and it’s a lot. Do you get 8 hours a night? Don’t think so.

  • Terry Elliott January 27, 2016   Reply →

    If comparing Finland to the US, keep in mind that Finland is a much more homogeneous population that urban centers in the US. Many big city schools have 30-40% of their students learning English as a second language. In the City of Minneapolis, over 120 languages are spoken in homes (including Finnish!). But clearly we can learn a lot from Finnish educational systems.

  • Torch March 8, 2016   Reply →

    Having spent quite a bit of time there maybe Finland should do their ‘homework’ and ban alcohol……….it’s out of control !

  • Tim April 5, 2016   Reply →

    You guys are so lucky.

  • zachary April 12, 2016   Reply →

    i want to move to Finland and you guys are lieing about having homework

  • candy May 11, 2016   Reply →

    I will move there so i have no homework to

  • MCW May 16, 2016   Reply →

    Maybe they have homework but never Finnish it?

  • Mike August 3, 2016   Reply →

    I am in favor of homework. Not just any busywork, but homework. Much of this is skewed by perception. That is, if you view hw as a negative it is a negative. If you view it as a positive it is a positive. Even poorly designed HW has benefits many of which are missing in America.

    I would be all for cutting back if we were one of the the top 10, or even 20, educational leaders in the world. But the fact is we are not. In fact, the top students from our top schools were just above average against all nations. If our best are average then what are our average schools like? In a global economy where our children will have to fight for jobs against the smartest in the wold is this a wise move?

    Don’t get me wrong. Play, with a purpose, can be homework. Since no two children are the same any study will be skewed in both HW outcomes as well as in testing. Just look at reading speed. A student who reads 100 wpm verse one who reads 50 wpp. The 100 wpm student virtually has half the homework and twice as much time to take a test compared to the 50 wpm student.

    Children to third grade have the greatest ability to grow synapses (those connections that make life long learning the easiest and build the foundation for all other learning) at the fastest rate throughout their lifetime. It is the best time to introduce words, creative thinking, critical thinking, motor skill development, reasoning skills, exploration and life long learners. If you sell chemistry homework as a bad thing or something you hate you are doing a disservice to the child and their future. Give them homework with a purpose, challenge them to figure things out, don’t give them the answers but rather guide them to the answer with questions and urge them to explore their own Hypotheses and develop both a love of learning and for finding the fun in what seems boring.

  • Esther August 25, 2016   Reply →

    Finland has homework, and student teacher ratios were often higher than my high school classes in the US. There were also tests in every course and report cards as well as the very real possibility of failing courses (although it is true that the leaving exams at 18 were vital to placement at university and other training courses).

    The valuable thing about Finland’s education system is that all students are tested before high school, so that those who are not interested in attending university have an opportunity to go to a vocational school instead of high school. Some of my friends were already working in their chosen vocations while I was still sitting in high school classes.

    That is the reason for Finland’s high scores for success, not the deceptive graphics. Only someone who has attended Finnish schools or been familiar with the country and culture would know this, although there have been many more recent articles about testing and Finland that the author should have taken into consideration.

  • Grant Fiedler December 13, 2016   Reply →

    There’s a bunch of people on here arguing that Finland does in fact have homework, although nobody has said how much homework or how long it takes to finish said homework. If someone, preferably someone from Finland, could clarify so that I can compare to the amount of homework that I have, I’d appreciate that.

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  • James Porter April 4, 2017   Reply →

    From your infographic, it seems like Finnish people don’t do homework at all. Glad that teachers from Finland are well paid, cuz it is a very hard job.

  • youris April 6, 2017   Reply →

    Greetings! There is indeed homework, starting first grade. Better info on the math. and it is for example here https://blogs.ubc.ca/mathhomeworkhelp/ (it says “minimal” homework, Check for yourself)

  • Samara June 2, 2017   Reply →

    I think you don’t even know what homework is!!!! Finland

  • professional memer here October 24, 2017   Reply →

    y’all are lucky
    Our teachers give extra homework if we talk more than other classes. Our education is too cruel.

    Also, yes, I have seen the Finnish people comment ‘we do have homework.’ Im just here to complain about my education. Now keep scrolling. Thank you.

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