Pupils’ primary school achievements in Northern Finland

2018 IJRSE – Volume 7 Issue 2


Keskitalo, Pigga*
Sámi Allaskuvla and University of Lapland, Finland (pigga.keskitalo@samiskhs.no)

Paksuniemi, Merja
University of Lapland, Finland (merja.paksuniemi@ulapland.fi)


The purpose of this article is to analyze how pupils in Sámi- and Finnish-speaking classes in Northern Finland succeeded in school from 1979 to 1996 by collecting data on the school grades of 66 pupils from elementary school to junior high school. The data was supplemented later by interviews in order to clarify school success. The aim of this study is to clarify how school success was actualized through school grades in relation to gender and language-based school class. School success in this research is constructed through school grades. According to the statistical results, the girls were more successful in school than the boys. Overall, the Sámi boys did not achieve statistically good results in school; although there are individual exceptions. One explanation, according to interviews, is that the boys with low school grades did not find school to be generally important; they felt that their education was not interesting and that school did not consider their desires and choices. The interviewed boys stated that their goal was to work in the future in the traditional source of livelihood, not to continue their studies after elementary school in the academic fields. Compared to the boys, the girls earned higher scores in every subject. This result shows that the girls were more career-orientated and saw futures in occupations that required more study. Compared to Finnish-speaking pupils, Sámi pupils received lower grades overall. Generally, these results suggest that girls achieved greater school success than boys in Finland. Furthermore, Sámi boys received in research period lower grades than any other group. Study raises critical points related to the school success of indigenous pupils. Through these findings, this article seeks to highlight how schools should be changed to give all pupils support to their motivation, self-esteem and future good quality of life.

Keywords: Sámi people; indigenous people; equality; school grades, school achievement; school success; history of education


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5861/ijrse.2017.1654

*Corresponding Author