All children living permanently in Finland are legally obligated to complete the compulsory education syllabus. The syllabus can be completed by either participating in basic education or by acquiring a corresponding education through some other Means.
Compulsory education starts during the year when the child turns seven years old, and ends when the basic education syllabus is completed or when ten years have elapsed from the start of compulsory education
The provision of education
Generally, local authorities are responsible for providing basic education. Local authorities assign pupils a place in a local school, but pupils are free to enroll in some other school if it has places available
In 2007, there were a total of about 3,300 comprehensive schools, and this network covers the whole country. The smallest schools have less than ten students, while the largest have over 900. In addition to public schools, there are also some private schools.
Characteristics of basic education:
teaching, text books and teaching materials, school transport and school meals are free
a nine-year comprehensive curriculum for the whole age group
teaching is provided by schools near the home
no degree; a final certificate will be given for completing the syllabus
provides the necessary prerequisites for all upper secondary education
almost all children in Finland complete comprehensive school
dropping out of school and repeating years are rare
learning outcomes are excellent when compared internationally
basic education includes a one-year long voluntary pre-primary education in a school or day-care centre
pupils who have completed basic education are eligible for voluntary additional education (grade 10) that lasts one year.
local authorities can also provide voluntary morning and afternoon activities for pupils in basic education
Administration system and the curriculum
Basic education is governed by the Basic Education Act (628/1998) and Basic Education Decree (852/1998) and the Government Decree on the General National Objectives and Distribution of Lesson Hours in Basic Education (1435/2001).
The core subjects taught to all pupils in the basic education syllabus are:
the mother tongue and literature (Finnish or Swedish),
the other official language
one foreign language
environmental studies, health education,
religion or ethics
Education in Finland Academic degrees Vocational degrees Age doctor employment licentiate master Polytechnic (new) 2-3 y bachelor Polytechnic 3-4 y upper secondary school vocational school 18-19 17 16 comprehensive school 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 pre-school 6
Pre-school education is intended for six-year-olds, who will start their compulsory education in the following year
Participation in pre-school education is voluntary, and it is provided in day care centres and in pre-school classes operating in connection with comprehensive schools
The objective of pre-school education is to create a playing and learning environment offering inspiring activities and providing children with opportunities to develop holistically together with their peers
Comprehensive school classes 1-9
Generally, compulsory education is provided in primary schools.
Primary school comprises years 1-9 and is intended for the whole age group (7-16 years old).
During the first six years the education is provided by the class teacher, who teaches all or most subjects.
During the last three years separate subjects are usually taught by different subject teachers .
Upper Secondary Education (high schools and vocational schools)
Upper secondary education consists of general upper secondary education and vocational upper secondary qualifications
General upper secondary education is general education that prepares students for the matriculation examination
The principal objective of vocational programmes is vocational competence.
Vocational Education and training
Vocational upper secondary education and training is provided in vocational schools
Education is given nearly all fields in working life
Humanities and Teaching
Social Sciences, Business and Administration
Technology and Transportation
Natural Resources and Environment
Social and Health Care Services and Physical Education
Tourism, Catering and Home Economics
The Finnish higher education system consists of two parallel sectors: polytechnics and universities.
Universities are characterized by scientific research and higher education based on it
Polytechnics are working life oriented and operate on the basis of higher expertise requirements set by working life.