Finland's 'egalitarian' example remains a foreign concept

12th February 2010 at 00:00

I think Edward Dutton has confused the terms "uniquely egalitarian" and "homogeneous" in his article on Finland.

He states that at the age of 15 people are "assigned" to an academic or vocational course of education and life, which would seem a limited choice. Furthermore, to be assigned to a vocational course of education means that one is the equivalent of a "chav" in popular Finnish parlance - doesn't that strike one as rather authoritarian and homogeneous, rather than egalitarian?

And doesn't the fact that 80 per cent of the country's population are members of one church say anything in this regard?

I think Professor Janhunen of Helsinki University is on to something similar in the final quote in the article, where he says, "Finnish schools are very good at making everybody averagely good but this neglects excellence and talent."

I would guess that Dr Dutton simply uses the word "egalitarian" because he associates this word intrinsically with Scandinavian countries, perhaps, as a meaningless, traditional description?

Anna Giscombe, Radlett, Hertfordshire.

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