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Finland Educational System
Finland Educational System
Finland Educational System
Finland Educational System
Finland Educational System
Finland Educational System
Finland Educational System
Finland Educational System
Finland Educational System
Finland Educational System
Finland Educational System
Finland Educational System
Finland Educational System
Finland Educational System
Finland Educational System
Finland Educational System
Finland Educational System
Finland Educational System
Finland Educational System
Finland Educational System
Finland Educational System
Finland Educational System
Finland Educational System
Finland Educational System
Finland Educational System
Finland Educational System
Finland Educational System
Finland Educational System
Finland Educational System
Finland Educational System
Finland Educational System
Finland Educational System
Finland Educational System
Finland Educational System
Finland Educational System
Finland Educational System
Finland Educational System
Finland Educational System
Finland Educational System
Finland Educational System
Finland Educational System
Finland Educational System
Finland Educational System
Finland Educational System
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Finland Educational System

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They used a good quality and best education system to make their country on top.

They used a good quality and best education system to make their country on top.

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  • 1. Educational System and Current Issues in Finland Group IV Allan C. Gulinao Lorena V. Mendoza Klasika Espiritu
  • 2. THE EDUC SYSTEM OF FINLAND Education Policy Objectives and programmes Legislation Financing Evaluation Educational foresights International cooperation Education system Degrees and studies How to apply? Recognition of diplomas and degrees Administration Education Statistics Pre-Primary Education Polytechnic education Administration and finance Polytechnics Studies and degrees Polytechnic R&D University education Administration Universities Studies and degrees Statistics Adult education Finance and administration Adult education system Studies and degrees Basic education Morning and afternoon activities Music and art education General upper secondary education Vocational education and training Administration and finance Qualifications and studies Student financial aid Student financial aid reform International student aid
  • 3. Education system The Finnish welfare society is built on education, culture and knowledge. We see education as a key factor in enhancing our competitiveness. The key aims in Finnish education policy are quality, efficiency, equity and internationalisation. Therefore the Finnish education system offers everybody equal opportunities for education, irrespective of domicile, sex, economic situation or linguistic and cultural background. Our education system consists of: one year of voluntary pre-primary education nine-years basic education (comprehensive school) upper secondary education, comprising vocational and general education higher education at higher education institutions. The language of tuition is either Finnish or Swedish as Finland is officially a bilingual country. Additionally the Finnih higher education institutions provide close to 500 degree and non-degree programmes in English. See the International study programmes database. Education One of the basic principles of Finnish education is that all people must have equal access to high-quality education and training. The key words in Finnish education policy are quality, efficiency, equity and internationalisation. In Finland everyone has the right to free basic education, including necessary equipment and text books, school transportation and meals. Post-compulsory education is also free: there are no tuition fees in general and vocational upper secondary education, in polytechnics or in universities. Education is primarily co-financed by the Government and local authorities. Education system based on trust and responsibility The Finnish education system has no dead-ends. Learners can always continue their studies on an upper level of education, whatever choices they make in between. The activities of education providers are guided by objectives laid down in legislation as well as the national core curricula and qualification requirements. The system relies on the proficiency of teachers and other personnel. The ideology is to steer through information, support and funding
  • 4. Education system Education policy in Finland Education policy priorities are outlined in the Government’s fiveyear Development Plan for Education and Research. It directs the implementation of the education and research policy goals stated in the Government Programme. The key objectives of the current Development Plan (20112016) include promoting equality in education, enhancing the quality of education at all levels and supporting lifelong learning. Education policy Educational autonomy is high at all levels The national education administration is organised at two levels. Education policy is the responsibility of the Ministry of Education and Culture. A national agency, the Finnish National Board of Education, is responsible for the implementation of the policy aims. Many matters are decided by the education providers themselves – the local authorities and their consortia. These make the decisions on allocation of funding, local curricula, recruitment of personnel. Polytechnics and universities enjoy extensive autonomy. They organise their own administration, decide on student admission and design the contents of degree programmes. Administration in education Internationalization is a central strategic goal for Finnish higher education institutions An international evaluation team set by the Finnish Higher Education Evaluation Council has published its report on international degree programmes (IDP) in Finland. The evaluation team finds that internationalisation has been taken as a serious objective in all strategies of the Finnish HEIs. The IDPs are seen as an important instrument for reaching the objectives of institutional internationalisation.
  • 5. I. Education policy in Finland One of the basic principles of Finnish education is that all people must have equal access to high-quality education and training. The same opportunities to education should be available to all citizens irrespective of their ethnic origin, age, wealth or where they live. Education policy is built on the lifelong learning principle. The basic right to education and culture is recorded in the Constitution. Public authorities must secure equal opportunities for every resident in Finland to get education also after compulsory schooling and develop themselves, irrespective of their financial standing. In Finland education is free at all levels from pre-primary to higher education. Adult education is the only form of education that may require payment. The key words in Finnish education policy are quality, efficiency, equity and internationalisation. Geared to promote the competitiveness of Finnish welfare society, education is also seen as an end in itself. The broad lines of Finnish education and science policy are in line with the Europe 2020 Strategy. Decisions on the contents of legislation on education and research are made by the Parliament based on government proposals. The Government and the Ministry of Education and Culture, as part of it, are responsible for preparing and implementing education and science policy. The Education and Research Development Plan promotes equality The Education and Research Development Plan is the key document of the Finnish education and research policy. The Development Plan is adopted by the government every four years, and it directs the implementation of the education and research policy goals stated in the Government Programme. The Development Plan covers all forms of education from early childhood to adult education as well as research conducted in universities and polytechnics. The focus in the period 2011–2016 is on alleviation of poverty, inequality and exclusion, stabilizing the public economy and fostering sustainable economic growth, employment and competitiveness.  Objectives and Programmes The Government Programme, an action plan agreed on by the parties represented in the Government, sets out the main functions of the Government. According to the Government Programme, the competitiveness of Finnish labour requires a well-functioning educational system. The best comprehensive school system in the world will be strengthened to guarantee equal opportunities for all. Education is
  • 6. an end in itself. On the international stage, Finland will aim for the top in professional expertise, higher education as well as research, development and innovation activities. The Programme of the current Government was submitted to Parliament in the form of a Government statement on 22 June 2011. a) Development plan is the key document of the Finnish education and research policy Education policy priorities are outlined in the Government’s five-year Development Plan for Education and Research. It directs the implementation of the education and research policy goals stated in the Government Programme. The current Development Plan for the period 2011–2016 was adopted at the end of 2011. The key objectives of the Development Plan include promoting equality in education, enhancing the quality of education at all levels and supporting lifelong learning. It also aims to reduce gender and regional differences in skills and education levels as well as the impact of socioeconomic background on participation in education. The plan also strives to combat unemployment and exclusion among young people through education. b) Policy lines and relevant programmes and projects The principle of lifelong learning entails that everyone has sufficient learning skills and opportunities to develop their knowledge and skills in different learning environments throughout their lifespan. This viewpoint is integrated into education policy and other policy sectors relating to education and training. The aim is a coherent policy geared to educational equity and a high level of education among the population as a whole. Promoting equality in education at comprehensive school level is a key part of the Development Plan. An effort will be made to reduce differences between schools, for example by developing the financing system. The cross-administrative youth guarantee took effect from the start of 2013. The educational guarantee as part of the youth guarantee will offer everyone who has just completed comprehensive school a place in further education or training. A temporary skills programme will be organized for young adults. The purpose is to make it possible for young people under 30 years with only basic education, or lacking even this, to complete a vocational qualification. The polytechnic reform recorded in the Government Programme started in 2011 with the aim of transferring their financing from local authorities to the government while altering the legal personality of the polytechnics. The purpose of this is to expedite the
  • 7. structural reform of polytechnics and to improve the quality and impact of their operation. Together with higher education institutions, the Ministry of Education and Culture will agree upon a reform of student admissions and study structures by the end of 2015 to facilitate access to higher education.  Legislation a) Finnish acts and decrees concerning education Early Childhood Education and Care: Children's daycare act stipulates the entitlement of children to day care and the responsibility of municipalities to arrange day care. Children's Daycare Decree covers its practical arrangement. Basic Education: Basic Education Act (pdf) prescribes on the principles of basic education as well as preprimary education, education for immigrants and voluntary additional basic education. Basic Education Decree (pdf) prescribes on the working time, instruction, groups, evaluation and assessment, pupils’ rights etc. General Upper Secondary Education: General Upper Secondary Schools Act prescribes on the aims of general upper secondary education, its organisation, instruction, curricula, publicity of education, assessment, matriculation examination etc. General Upper Secondary Schools Decree prescribes on e.g. instruction, counselling, planning the education, assessment, legal rights of the student. Decree on the General National Objectives of Upper Secondary Education and the Distribution of Lesson Hours. Act on the provision of matriculation examination. Matriculation Examination Decree prescribes on the organisation, examinations, examiners, assessment and examinees. Vocational Education and Training: Vocational Education and Training Act prescribes on the vocational upper secondary education and vocational upper secondary degrees, e.g. provision of education and training, instruction, curricula, on-the-job learning, apprenticeship training, special needs education, evaluation and assessment Vocational Education and Training Decree prescribes on the following: studies and their scope, counselling, on-the-job learning, apprenticeship training, special needs education, assessment and evaluation. Vocational Adult Education Act prescribes e.g. on the contacts to the world of work, provision of education, further education and training, students’ rights and obligations,
  • 8. competence-based qualifications, evaluation and assessment and funding. Vocational Adult Education Decree prescribes on the requirements for competencebased qualifications. Decree on the labour policy of vocational adult education and training prescribes e.g. on acquiring education and students' financial aid. Higher Education: Decree on the higher education degree system Polytechnics Act (pdf) prescribes e.g. on the following: administration, steering and evaluation, language of instruction, degrees, student admission, teachers and other staff, funding. Polytechnics Decree prescribes e.g. the following: administration, the scope, structure and aim of studies, qualifications, training programmes. Universities Act (pdf). The new Universities Act will further extend the autonomy of universities by giving them an independent legal personality, either as public corporations or as foundations under private law. At the same time, the universities’ management and decision-making system will be reformed. The new law replaced the Universities Act of 1997. Universities Decree prescribes on the instruction, students and staff. Act on the implementation of the Universities Act (pdf). Government Decree on University Degrees (pdf) provides for lower and higher university degrees and scientific and artistic postgraduate degrees referred to in the Universities Act. Liberal Education: Act on Liberal Adult Education prescribes on liberal adult education institutions and aims at supporting lifelong learning and promoting equality and democracy in society. Decree on Liberal Adult Education prescribes on the administration, studies and financing of liberal adult education. Act on Basic Education in the Arts. The act defines basic education in arts, its aims, organisation, curriculum, evaluation, assessment etc. Decree on Basic Education in the Arts prescribes on the contents and scope as well as assessment in basic education in the arts. Students: Decree on the Joint Application System of General and Vocational Upper Secondary Education. Polytechnics' Joint Application System Decree.
  • 9. Act on Financial Aid for Students The act prescribes on the studies that entitle to students’ financial aid. Decree on Financial Aid for Students prescribes on the eligibility for students’ financial aid and procedures. Act on school transport subsidy of general and vocational upper secondary education students. Decree on the school transport subsidy for general and vocational upper secondary education students. Administration: Act on the administration of education and training provided by the state and private organisations. Act on European Schooling Helsinki (pdf) Government Decree on European Schooling Helsinki (pdf) Act on Central Government Transfers to Local Governments. The act prescribes on the statutory government transfers and their calculation. Decree on Central Government Transfers to Local Governments prescribes on certain calculatory principles. Act on the Financing of the Provision of Education and Culture. The act prescribes on the statutory government funding of education and cultureDecree on the Financing of the Provision of Education and Culture prescribes on the principles of the funding of education. Education Evaluation Decree. The decree on the tasks and composition of the Finnish Education Evaluation Council. Act on Eligibility Provided by Foreign Higher Education Studies for Public Posts in Finland. The act prescribes on the validity of higher education degrees taken abroad for Finnish state or municipal posts. Decree on Eligibility Provided by Foreign Higher Education Studies for Public Posts in Finland. The decree prescribes on the validation of higher education degrees taken abroad. Decree on the Implementation of the General System of Recognition of Professional Qualifications of EC Citizens. The decree prescribes on the procedure of applying for the recognition of qualifications.
  • 10. Act on National Certificates of Language Proficiency. The act prescribes on the administration, assessment, and fees. Decree on National Certificates of Language Proficiency. The decree prescribes on the composition and tasks of the Language Proficiency Test Committee. Teachers: Teaching Qualifications Decree prescribes on the qualification requirements of educational staff. Teachers' education act. Teachers' education decree lists the faculties providing for teacher education. It prescribes on e.g. qualifications of the teachers, their tasks, academic year etc. Act on Vocational Teacher Training prescribes on vocational teacher education, e.g. aims, administration and steering, instruction and studies, student admission, teachers. Decree on Vocational Teacher Training prescribes on the following: studies and aims, degree structure, requirements for staff at vocational teacher education colleges.  Financing a) Financing of education In Finland education is free at all levels from pre-primary to higher education. Adult education is the only form of education that may require payment. In pre-primary and basic education the textbooks, daily meal and transportation for students living further away from the school are free for the parents. At secondary level and in higher education the students themselves or their parents purchase their own books. At secondary level the students have the right to a free meal and in higher education meals are subsidised by the state. To ensure the opportunities to study for everyone there is a well-developed system of study grants and loans. Financial aid can be awarded for full-time study in an upper secondary school, vocational institution or institution of higher education. Most education is publically funded Most institutions providing basic and upper secondary level education are maintained by local authorities or joint municipal boards. Responsibility for educational funding is divided between the State and the local authorities. Most private institutions do not differ from those that are publicly maintained. They follow the national core curricula and qualification requirements. They also receive public funding. Pre-primary and basic education is part of the municipal basic services that receive statutory government transfers. The statutory government transfer is based on the number of 6-15 year olds living in the municipality and the special conditions of the municipality. This funding is not ear-marked and the municipality can decide for itself how it allocates this funding. The statutory government transfer for municipal basic services is approximately a third of the calculatory costs.
  • 11. The funding for upper secondary education and vocational education and training is based on the number of students reported by the school as well as on the unit prices set by the Ministry of Education and Culture. In the funding of polytechnics the Government allocates resources in the form of core funding, which is based on unit costs per student, project funding and performancebased funding. For example completed degrees are part of performance-based funding. Polytechnics also have external sources of funding. Both in vocational training and in the funding of polytechnics the education providers are encouraged to improve their results through performance-based funding. Finnish universities are independent corporations under public law or foundations under private law. Each university and the Ministry of Education and Culture set operational and qualitative targets for the university and determine the resources required every three years. The agreement also defines how these targets are monitored and evaluated. Universities receive funding from the state but they are also expected to raise external funding.  Evaluation a) Evaluation of education In Finland education is evaluated locally, regionally and nationally. Finland also takes part in international reviews. In Finland school inspections were abolished in the early 1990s. The ideology is to steer through information, support and funding. The activities of education providers are guided by objectives laid down in legislation as well as the national core curricula and qualification requirements. The system relies on the proficiency of teachers and other personnel. There is strong focus on both self-evaluation of schools and education providers and national evaluations of learning outcomes. National evaluations of learning outcomes are done regularly, so that there is a test every year either in mother tongue and literature or mathematics. Other subjects are evaluated according to the evaluation plan of the Ministry of Education and Culture. Not only academic subjects are evaluated but also subjects such as arts and crafts and cross-curricular themes. From the schools’ perspective, the evaluations are not regular as they are samplebased. The education providers receive their own results to be used for development purposes. The main aim of the national evaluations of learning outcomes is to follow at national level how well the objectives have been reached as set in the core curricula and qualification requirements. Consequently, the results are not used for ranking the schools.
  • 12. In higher education the polytechnics and universities are responsible for the evaluation of their own operations and outcomes. In this they also receive support from the Higher Education Evaluation Council. b) Evaluation plan and evaluation bodies The Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture is preparing an evaluation plan for thirdparty evaluations and evaluations carried out to monitor learning outcomes. The plan is being drawn up in cooperation with the Finnish Education Evaluation Council, the Finnish Higher Education Evaluation Council and the National Board of Education or with the other evaluation organisations (eg. around universities) that are currently active in Finland. From 2014 evaluation activity concerning education will be concentrated into a single Education Evaluation Centre.  Educational foresights In Finland one important ongoing development is the change in the age structure of the population and work force. At present the annual exit from the labour force exceeds the entry. Quantitative and content development in education entails estimates of future educational and labour needs. These education foresights form part of education policy steering and decision-making, which influence matters far into the future. Foresight looks far into the future because, owing to the duration of qualification and degree education. The graduates enter the labour market five to eight years after the decisions on education provision have been made. In addition, they will remain in the labour force for decades, so that basic and initial education, especially provision catering for young people, must be examined over a time span of 10 to 15 years. The policy outlined in the development plan for education and research influences the quality, quantity and structure of education, notably target numbers, for the following four years and beyond. The details of higher education provision is agreed in the three-year performance agreements. Polytechnics agree with the Ministry of Education and Culture on the intakes in each field of education, and universities on the target number of degrees and target intakes. The authorisations to provide VET specify the maximum number of students, which the training providers divide among and within their fields of education.  International cooperation in education Matters relating to the education system and its development are decided nationally. However, national arrangements and decisions are informed and influenced by policies
  • 13. and objectives jointly formulated in the European Union (EU), the Council of Europe, the OECD and the UN and in Nordic cooperation. In Finland the Ministry of Education and Culture is the main national body responsible for European and international dimensions in education. Mobility: Programmes, projects and initiatives International mobility of students and teachers is an essential part of international development of education. Finnish educational institutions have many opportunities for international cooperation. The importance of international mobility and projects are also emphasised in national strategies. The Centre for International Mobility CIMO works under the auspices of the Ministry of Education and Culture to support internationalisation and mobility across all levels from pre-primary to higher education and even exchange programmes of civil service. It is responsible for a large spectrum of national, bilateral and multilateral programmes and initiatives ranging from Nordic cooperation to international training programmes and scholarship schemes. The Finnish National Board of Education is the agency in charge of the design of national core curricula and the development of education. The FNBE also funds the internationalisation of basic and upper secondary education. Recognition of diplomas In Finland the National Board of Education provides information and guidance relating to recognition and equivalence of degrees. At the national level, the Ministry of Education and Culture is responsible for preparing Community law on recognition of diplomas. European cooperation At present EU cooperation focuses on the European dimension in education, student and teacher mobility and cooperation between educational institutions. The European Union has put in place structures for cooperation relating to education in the Member States, while the decisions concerning educational content and the structure of the education systems are made by the Member States. The broad lines of Finnish education and science policy are in line with the Europe 2020 Strategy. Copenhagen Process, Bologna Process and other activities EU launched the Copenhagen Process in order to enhance the quality and attraction of vocational education and to promote mobility among vocational students and graduates. In higher education the main EU forum is the Bologna Process, in which the aim is to improve the competitiveness and attraction of European higher education vis-à-vis other continents.
  • 14. The EU has also created various tools for removing obstacles to mobility, for instance by promoting the transportability of degrees and qualifications for study or work purposes. Nordic cooperation The Nordic countries cooperate in matters relating to research, education and culture. The main areas of educational cooperation are education from pre-primary to upper secondary education and training higher education adult and liberal education languages information and communications technology. The Nordic Council of Ministers is an intergovernmental body within which education ministers meet twice a year. The Council has supportive schemes which promote mobility. International organisations UNESCO is one of the most important international organisations for the Ministry of Education and Culture. UNESCO has a number of conventions and recommendations which are binding to the member states. The work forms include research programmes, expert meetings and ministerial conferences. Current key issues in UNESCO are the Education-for-All process, the role of UNESCO's scientific programmes and national coordination, the safeguarding and promotion of cultural diversity, human rights, tolerance, and the promotion of peace. OECD Education and education policy are the cornerstones of OECD activities. Finland participates actively in educational reviews organised by the OECD, which is one of the leading organisations in global educational cooperation. II. Education System  Education System in Finland The welfare of Finnish society is built on education, culture and knowledge. The flexible education system and basic educational security make for equity and consistency in results. The Finnish education system is composed of:
  • 15. nine-year basic education (comprehensive school) for the whole age group, preceded by one year of voluntary pre-primary education upper secondary education, comprising general education and vocational education and training (vocational qualifications and further and specialist qualifications) higher education, provided by universities and polytechnics Learning pathway In Finland, pre-primary education, basic education and upper secondary education and training, complemented by early childhood education and before- and after-school activities, form a coherent learning pathway that supports children's growth, development and well-being. The Finnish education system has no dead-ends. Learners can always continue their studies on an upper level of education, whatever choices they make in between. The practice of recognition of prior learning has been developed in order to avoid unnecessary overlapping of studies. Students' opportunities to progress from one level of education to the next is safeguarded by legislation. Both general and vocational upper secondary certificates provide eligibility for further studies. Higher education is offered by universities and polytechnics. Both sectors have their own profiles. Universities emphasise scientific research and instruction. Polytechnics, also known as universities of applied sciences, adopt a more practical approach. Adult education is provided at all levels of education. Adults can study for a general education certificate or for a vocational qualification, or modules included in them, take other courses developing citizenship and work skills, or pursue recreational studies.  Degrees and Studies a) Degrees and studies in Finnish education system The principle underpinning the education system is to ensure a supply large enough to enable the whole age group to continue in upper secondary vocational training, polytechnics or universities after general education. Concerted efforts are also made to keep adults' education and qualifications up-to-date. b) Most students continue their studies after basic education Students who have successfully completed compulsory education are eligible for general and vocational upper secondary education and training. More than 90 per cent of the relevant age group starts general or vocational upper secondary studies immediately after basic education.
  • 16. Student selection to upper secondary schools is mainly based on the students’ grades in their basic education certificate. The selection criteria used by vocational institutions can include work experience and other comparable factors, also entrance and aptitude tests. c) Upper secondary school and matriculation examination The syllabus of general upper secondary education is designed to last three years, but students may complete it in 2 to 4 years. Instruction is organised in modular form not tied to year classes and students can decide on their individual study schedules rather freely. Each course is assessed on completion and when a student has completed the required number of courses, which include compulsory and elective studies, he or she receives a general upper secondary school certificate. General upper secondary education ends with a national matriculation examination. Having completed the matriculation examination and the entire upper secondary school syllabus, students are awarded a separate certificate that shows details of the examinations passed and the levels and grades achieved. Completion of upper secondary education, both general and vocational, gives students eligibility to continue to higher education. d) Vocational qualifications Vocational institutions offer training for vocational qualifications and further and specialist qualifications, which are especially intended for mature students. The scope of vocational qualifications is three years of study and each qualification includes at least half a year of on-the-job learning in workplaces. Vocational education and training can be completed in the form of school-based training or apprenticeship training. Competence-based qualifications provide adults a flexible way to enhance and maintain their vocational skills. A specific benefit of this system is that it makes it possible to recognise an individual’s vocational competences regardless of whether they have been acquired through work experience, studies or other activities. e) Higher education degrees At universities students can study for Bachelor's and Master's degrees and scientific or artistic postgraduate degrees, which are the licentiate and the doctorate degrees. In the two-cycle degree system students first complete the Bachelor's degree, after which they may go for the Master's degree. As a rule, students are admitted to study for the Master’s degree.
  • 17. The target time for taking a master’s degree is generally 5 years. The average time for taking a master’s degree in Finland is, however, six years. The policy-makers have introduced several measures to shorten graduation times and increase completion of studies, including for example by personal study plans and financial incentives. Degree studies at polytechnics give a higher education qualification and practical professional skills. They comprise core and professional studies, elective studies and a final project. All degree studies include practical on-the-job learning. The extent of polytechnic degree studies is generally 210-240 ECTS points, which means 3.5-4 years of full-time study. It is further possible to take a polytechnic Master’s degree after acquiring a minimum of three years’ work experience. The polytechnic Master's takes 1.5-2 years, and is equivalent to a university Master's degree. There is restricted entry to all fields of study. As applicant volumes outweigh the number of places available, universities and polytechnics use different kinds of student selection criteria. Most commonly these include success in matriculation examination and entrance tests.  How to apply? Information about post-comprehensive education and online-applying: polytechnic Bachelor's degree programmes conducted in English www.admissions.fi university degree programmes conducted in English www.yliopistohaku.fi andwww.universityadmissions.fi general upper secondary and vocational upper secondary education www.haenyt.fi Detailed information is available on the websites of the relevant institutions. Study in Finland-website contains general information about Finland as a study destination, our higher education institutions, practicalities, admissions systems and living in Finland.  Recognition of foreign diplomas and degrees in Finland The recognition of a foreign degree means a decision by Finnish authorities regarding the qualification it provides in the labour market or the eligibility it provides for further education in Finland. It is a general international principle that the receiving country determines the level of a foreign degree and the professional qualifications it provides. In Finland, the recognition
  • 18. decision is made by the Finnish National Board of Education on a case-by-case basis. A fee is charged for the decision. The National Board of Education also provides information about the system and procedures involved in recognition. Decisions on recognition of qualifications Recognition of qualifications refers to a decision on the types of eligibility that a foreign educational qualification provides for a job or a place of study. In Finland, decisions on recognition of qualifications are made by the following parties: Professional recognition The Finnish National Board of Education decides on the eligibility conferred by foreign qualifications for civil service posts in Finland. Field-specific authorities decide on granting professional practice rights. Private sector employers generally assess the competence conferred by a foreign qualification themselves when deciding on employee recruitment. Academic recognition Higher education institutions and other educational institutions decide on eligibility conferred by foreign qualifications for further studies recognition of studies completed abroad towards a qualification to be taken in Finland.  Administration in education In Finland educational legislation is passed and the general principles governing education are determined by Parliament. The Government and the Ministry of Education and Culture, as part of it, formulate and implement education policy. The lines of education and science policy are determined in a development plan for education and research, which is adopted by the government. The national education administration is organised at two levels. Education policy is the responsibility of the Ministry of Education and Culture. A national agency, the Finnish National Board of Education, is responsible for the implementation of the policy aims. It works with the Ministry to develop educational objectives, content and methods for early childhood, pre-primary, basic, upper secondary and adult education. Local administration is the responsibility of local authorities, most commonly municipalities or joint municipal authorities. These make the decisions on allocation of funding, local curricula, recruitment of personnel. The municipalities have also the
  • 19. autonomy to delegate the decision-making power to the schools. Typically the principals recruit the staff of their schools. a) Educational autonomy is high at all levels Education providers are responsible for practical teaching arrangements as well as the effectiveness and quality of its education. There are, for example, no regulations governing class size and the education providers and schools are free to determine how to group pupils and students. Local authorities determine how much autonomy is passed on to schools. The schools have the right to provide educational services according to their own administrative arrangements and visions, as long as the basic functions, determined by law, are carried out. In many cases for example budget management, acquisitions and recruitment is the responsibility of the schools. The teachers have pedagogical autonomy. They can decide themselves the methods of teaching as well as textbooks and materials. Polytechnics and universities enjoy extensive autonomy. The operations of both polytechnics and universities are built on the freedom of education and research. They organise their own administration, decide on student admission and design the contents of degree programmes. b) Advisory bodies The Matriculation Examination Board administers the matriculation examination and sets and assesses the tests. The expert bodies in vocational education are field-specific education and training committees and a National Coordination Group for Education and Training. The expert body in evaluation is the National Education Evaluation Council.Attached to the Ministry of Education and Culture is a Higher Education Evaluation Council, which handles matters relating to the evaluation of tertiary education.  Education Statistics a) Education statistics / Statistics Finland Statistics Finland produces the vast majority of Finnish official statistics. The statistics produced within the scope of this topic describe the entire education system from preprimary to adult education. b) Findicator Findicator service contains nearly 100 indicators describing social development. The service gives access to up-to-date statistics e.g. on the economy, education and labour market.
  • 20. III. Pre-primary education in Finland Compulsory education starts in the year when a child becomes seven years of age. During the year before compulsory education begins, the child can participate in preprimary education. Its aim is to develop children's learning skills as part of early childhood education and care. Local authorities have a statutory duty to arrange pre-primary education, but for children participation is voluntary and decided by parents. About 96% of the six-year-olds go to pre-primary school. It is up to local authorities to decide if pre-primary education takes place in a school or in a day-care center, a family day care place or other appropriate place. Pre-primary education may also be offered by private basic education providers. Pre-primary instructors have either a kindergarten teacher or class teacher qualification. Pre-primary education is available free of charge. Pre-primary pupils who live over five kilometres from school or or the route is otherwise dangerous are entitled to free school transportation. Children are entitled also to a day-care place. In day care, there is an income-based fee. a) Curriculum for pre-primary education Pre-primary education lays emphasis on the preparation for school. The national core curriculum for pre-primary education is determined by the Finnish National Board of Education. The minimum requirements for the organisation of time in pre-primary education are provided by the Basic Education Decree. The minimum scope of pre-primary education is 700 hours per year. Each pre-primary education provider decides on the timetables of pre-primary education and other practical arrangements. Local authorities and other providers of pre-primary education receive statutory Government transfers. IV. Basic education in Finland Basic education is a free nine-year education provided for the whole age group (currently c. 60,000 children) in comprehensive schools. Compulsory schooling starts in the year when a child turns seven and ends after the basic education syllabus has been completed or after ten years. The local or school curriculum is based on a national core curriculum. Completing the basic education syllabus does not lead to any qualification, but the school-leaving certificate gives access to all upper secondary education and training. Nearly all children complete their compulsory schooling.
  • 21. Young people who have completed their compulsory schooling can opt for one extra year. This voluntary education is intended to help and encourage young people to continue their studies at the upper secondary level.  Basic education is free of charge for pupils Textbooks and other materials, tools etc. are free of charge in basic education and pupils are offered a free daily meal. In addition, school health care and other welfare services are free to the pupils. All pupils of compulsory school age have the right to guidance and support in learning and other schoolwork as soon as need arises. The school year, which has 190 working days, starts in mid-August and ends in the beginning of June. The summer holidays are over 60 days. The network of comprehensive schools covers the whole country. Education is provided in neighbourhood schools or other suitable places which make school travel as short and safe as possible. Local authorities have a statutory duty to provide education for children of compulsory school age living in their areas.The language of instruction is mostly Finnish or Swedish. In primary and lower secondary education there are around 25 000 pupils (4,6 %) with immigrant background, whose integration is supported in many ways.  Highly qualified teachers Basic education is divided into grades. Year-classes 1–6 are mainly taught by class teachers and year-classes 7–9 by specialised subject teachers. As a rule, all teachers have a Master's-level university degree. Teachers themselves can choose the teaching methods they use in order to achieve the objectives stated in the curriculum. The national core curriculum includes the guidelines for choosing the methods. Learning materials are mostly produced by commercial publishers. The schools and teachers themselves decide on the material and textbooks used. The same applies to the use of ICT.  Laws and regulations 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 Government decides on the overall time allocation by defining the minimum number of lessons for core subjects during basic education. The national core curriculum is determined by the Finnish National Board of Education. It includes the objectives and core contents of different subjects, as well as the principles of pupil assessment, special-needs education, pupil welfare and educational guidance.
  • 22. The education providers, usually the local education authorities and the schools themselves draw up their own curricula for pre-primary and basic education within the framework of the national core curriculum.  Administration and finance Most institutions providing basic education are maintained by local authorities, which are obligated to organise basic education free of charge for school-aged children living within their respective areas. Private education providers are licensed by the Government. Private provision is often run by associations and societies with a religious basis or based on a certain language (English, Russian, and German) or Steiner pedagogy. The private schools follow the same legislation and national core curricula as public schools. Responsibility for educational funding is divided between the State and the local authorities. Funding for basic education forms part of statutory government transfers to local authority basic services, which are managed by the Ministry of Finance.The education provider makes the decisions on the use of central Government transfers. The funding is not earmarked. The Ministry of Education and Culture manages part of the funding for basic education and funds areas such as voluntary additional basic education and instruction preparing immigrant children for basic education. The Ministry also manages start-up funding for private education providers and funding for basic education organised abroad. a) Morning and afternoon activities for the youngest pupils Morning and afternoon activities are guided recreational activities intended for first and second year pupils in comprehensive schools. The local authorities can decide on the provision at their discretion, and participation is voluntary for children. The aim is to support school and home education, to promote children's emotional and ethical growth and well-being and to offer opportunities for guided, recreational and safe activities outside school hours. Morning and afternoon activities may be sports or relate to practical skills, oral or pictorial expression, music, everyday chores or knowledge in different areas. The time can also be used for doing home work. It is also possible to arrange school clubs and basic education in arts within this system. Laws and regulations Before- and after-school activities refer to supervised activities provided for pupils in basic education according to the Basic Education Act. The Finnish National Board of Education determines the objectives and core contents of before- and after-school activities by issuing a framework for these activities. Beforeand after-school activities must be provided in compliance with this framework.
  • 23. Local authorities receive government transfers for morning and afternoon activities. b) Music and art education in Finland Extracurricular art education for children and young people is provided by music, art, dance, arts and crafts and other institutes. The network of art education institutes in Finland comprises 89 music institutes and 41 schools in the other arts. Basic education in the arts is goal-oriented, progressing from one level to other. It teaches children skills in self-expression and capabilities needed for vocational, polytechnic and university education in their chosen art form. Participation is voluntary, and the education providers may charge moderate fees. Curricula for Basic Education in the Arts The objectives and core contents are determined in national core syllabi devised by the Finnish National Board of Education for following forms of art: music literary arts dance performing arts (circus and theatre) visual arts (architecture, audiovisual art, pictorial art, and arts and crafts) A local authority providing basic education in the arts receives Government transfers based on the number of inhabitants. Further, public and private education providers receive Government grants based on the confirmed number of lesson hours given. V. General upper secondary education in Finland The post-compulsory upper secondary level comprises general and vocational education. Both forms usually take three years and give eligibility for higher education. About 50 % of the comprehensive school-leavers continue on to general upper secondary education.  General upper secondary education develops all-round general knowledge Upper secondary school offers general education for students of about 16-19 years of age. It continues the educational task of comprehensive shcool and provides students with the capabilities to continue to further studies. The admission requirement for general upper secondary education is a school-leaving certificate from basic education. Students apply to general and vocational education through a joint application system. If the number of applicants exceeds the intake, the selection is based on students' school reports. The drop-out rate is low.
  • 24. The general upper secondary school is based on courses with no specified yearclasses. The scope of the syllabus is three years but the studies may be accomplished in two, three or four years. The students may proceed in their studies either as a group or individually. General upper secondary education is primarily free of charge for students, but students have to pay for the materials.  Matriculation examination The upper secondary school ends in a matriculation examination, which does not qualify for any occupation. Passing the matriculation examination andentitles students to continue studies in universities, polytechnics or vocational institutions. Matriculation examination is drawn up nationally, and there is a centralised body to check its individual tests against uniform criteria.  Specialised upper secondary schools Some upper secondary schools specialise in a certain subject, such as sports, art or music. Other schools may offer special sport and art lines. Some upper secondary schools prepare for and end in an international examination. Education for the International Baccalaureate is given in 15 Finnish schools and education for the German Reifeprüfung in one school.  Administration and finance General upper secondary education is provided by local authorities, municipal consortia or organisations authorised by the Ministry of Education and Culture. The majority of the upper secondary schools in Finland are run by local authorities. The Government co-finances education with statutory government grants based on student numbers and unit costs per student.  Laws and regulations The purpose and objectives of general upper secondary education have been set out in theGeneral Upper Secondary Schools Act (629/1998) and the General Upper Secondary Schools Decree (810/1998). The Government Decree on the General National Objectives of General Upper Secondary Education and the Distribution of Lesson Hours (955/2002) further elaborates on the objectives of education and the allocation of the time to be used for instruction in different subjects and subject groups and for student counselling. The Finnish National Board of Education decides on the objectives and core contents of the different subjects, subject groups, thematic subject modules and student counselling (National Core Curriculum).
  • 25. The Matriculation Examination is regulated by the Upper Secondary Schools Act, the Act on the Organisation of the Matriculation Examination (672/2005) and the Government Decree on the Matriculation Examination (915/2005). VI. Vocational education and training in Finland The post-compulsory level is divided into general education and initial and further vocational education and training. After basic education, 95.5% of school-leavers continue in additional voluntary basic education (2.5%), in upper secondary schools (54.5%) or in initial vocational education and training (38.5%). The aim of vocational education and training (VET) is to improve the skills of the work force, to respond to skills needs in the world of work and to support lifelong learning. VET comprises initial vocational training and further and continuing training. A total of 146 000 students attend initial vocational training every year. Of them, 4 500 attend access courses preparing for initial vocational training. The largest fields are Technology and Transport (c. 36%), Business and Administration (19%) and Health and Social Services (17%). The other fields are Tourism, Catering and Home Economics (13%), Culture (7%), Natural Resources (6%) and Leisure and Physical Education (2%). In further training provided in the Ministry of Education and Culture sector, the annual number of students is about 40,000. There are 119 study programmes leading to 53 different vocational qualifications confirmed by the Ministry of Education and Culture. The number of further and specialist qualifications, which are taken as competence-based qualifications, is 305. VET is intended both for young people and for adults already active in working life. They can study for vocational qualifications and further and specialist qualifications, or study in further and continuing education without aiming at a qualification. Initial VET The vocational qualification has been designed to respond to labour market needs. The qualification is 120 credits, which takes three years of full-time study, unless prior learning can be counted towards the qualification. The qualification is based on working life occupations and the competencies required. The qualification includes at least 20 credits of on-the-job learning. The training is built on the basic education syllabus. Prior learning acquired in training, working life or other learning environments can be counted towards the qualification.
  • 26. Matriculated students can also study in initial VET. Their prior studies are equivalent to some 30 credits, which are counted towards the vocational qualification. A vocational qualification gives general eligibility for polytechnic and university studies. At the Ministry of Education and Culture, matters relating to VET are administered by the Vocational Education Division.  Administration and finance The Ministry of Education and Culture is responsible for the strategic and normative steering of VET and leads national development. The national objectives of VET, the structure of the qualifications and the core subjects included in them are determined by the government. The details of the qualification and the extent of training are determined by the Ministry of Education and Culture. The authorisations to provide VET are granted by the Ministry. The National Board of Education designs the core curricula and sets the requirements of competence-based qualifications, which describe the aims and key content of the qualifications. VET providers have large latitude in provision Vocational education and training providers are responsible for organising training in their areas, for matching provision with local labour market needs, and for devising curricula based on the core curricula and requirements. They also decide independently what kind of institutions or units they run. A VET provider may be a local authority, a municipal training consortium, a foundation or other registered association, or a state company. Five specialised institutes and a training centre in the Saami home area are government-run. Swedish-language training is provided in Swedish-language and bilingual institutions. There are around 210 VET providers in Finland. The aim is to develop them to meet according to skills needs. To this end, smaller units will be combined to form local, regional or otherwise strong entities.  Qualifications and studies Training for initial vocational qualifications is available in vocational institutions and in the form of apprenticeship training. It is also possible to take a competence-based qualification. By attending further training it is possible to take competence-based qualifications leading to both further and spesialist vocational qualifications. Students in upper secondary schools have the option of studying for both a vocational qualification and the matriculation examination at the same time. VET is available in the following fields:
  • 27. Humanities and Education Culture Social Sciences, Business and Administration Natural Sciences Technology, Communication and Transport Natural Resources and the Environment Social Services, Health and Sport Tourism, Catering and Domestic Services There are no tuition fees in initial VET. Students pay part of the costs, e.g. textbooks and personal tools, equipment and materials, which they keep after training. Meals are free. Modest fees may be charged for further vocational training. The entry requirement is a leaving certificate from the comprehensive school (basic education) or an equivalent amount of studies. Students usually apply to VET through a national joint application system. The vocational qualification provides extensive basic skills for different occupations in the field and more specialised skills in at least one sector. The aim is that a qualification holder has the necessary vocational competence, knowledge and skills for independent practice of the trade and for entrepreneurship in the field. The training includes vocational studies in the field concerned, general studies supplementing vocational competence (mother tongue, second national language, a foreign language, mathematics and science, humanities and social studies, health education, and art and craft subjects), elective studies and guidance counselling. Most studies in VET relate to the vocation. The vocational qualification is 120 credits, including 90 credits of vocational subjects, 20 credits of general core subjects and 10 credits of elective studies. On-the-job learning and skills demonstrations On-the-job learning is guided and goal-oriented study at the workplace. In this workbased module, which is 20 credits or more, the student learns some of the practical skills included in the qualification. At different points during their training in initial VET, students demonstrate the skills they have learned in tests arranged as either practical work situations or as practical assignments. These skills demonstrations assess how well the student has achieved the competencies needed in the labour market. The aims and assessment criteria of the skills demonstrations are determined in the core curricula issued by the National Board of Education. The tests are devised and implemented in cooperation with business and industry and other employers. VET providers appoint special bodies to plan and set the tests and also appoint the examiners.
  • 28. Competence-based qualifications Finland has been developing competence-based qualifications since 1994. This system is intended to enable working-age adults to gain qualifications without necessarily attending formal training. It is possible to take competence-based vocational qualifications, further vocational qualifications and special vocational qualifications or only parts of them. The competence-based qualifications are set and supervised by field-specific education and training committees. The committees agree on the organisation of the tests with providers of education and other communities. About 95% of candidates attend some training before taking a competence-based test. Some 36,000 vocational qualifications are awarded annually, including 6,670 are competence-based qualifications. The annual number of further and specialist qualifications is 12,450. Apprenticeship training Apprenticeship training is hands-on learning at a workplace complemented by theoretical studies. A contract of temporary employment (apprenticeship contract) is signed by the parties of the apprenticeship training. In apprenticeship training it is possible to study for initial vocational qualifications and for further and specialist qualifications. It is a training track chosen by some 9% of vocational students each year. Apprenticeship training is based on a fixed-term agreement which a prospective trainee, aged 15 or more, concludes with the employer. Each student is given a personal study plan based on a core curriculum issued by the National Board of Education or on the requirements of the competence-based qualification in the field. About 70 to 80% of the training takes place at the workplace under the guidance and supervision of an on-the-job instructor. The supplementary theoretical instruction is given by vocational institutions. The employer pays wages according to the collective agreement for the duration of the training. During theoretical training, the trainee is entitled to a daily allowance and subsidised travel and accommodation. The employer is reimbursed for the cost of the training. VII. Polytechnic education in Finland The Finnish higher education system consists of two complementary sectors: polytechnics and universities. The mission of universities is to conduct scientific research and provide instruction and postgraduate education based on it. Polytechnics train professionals in response to labour market needs and conduct R&D which supports instruction and promotes regional development in particular.
  • 29. The system of polytechnics is still fairly new. The first polytechnics started to operate on a trial basis in 1991−1992 and the first were made permanent in 1996. By 2000 all polytechnics were working on a permanent basis. Polytechnics are multi-field regional institutions focusing on contacts with working life and on regional development. The total number of young and mature polytechnic students is 130,000. Polytechnics award over 20,000 polytechnic degrees and 200 polytechnic Master's degrees annually. The system of higher degrees was put in place after a trial period in 2005 and the number of polytechnic Master's programmes is expected to grow in the coming years.  Administration and finance Polytechnics are municipal or private institutions, which are authorised by the government. The authorisation determines their educational mission, fields of education, student numbers and location. Polytechnics have autonomy in their internal affairs. The government and local authorities share the cost of polytechnics. Government allocates resources in the form of core funding, which is based on unit costs per student, project funding and performance-based funding. Polytechnics also have external sources of funding. The project funding provided by Ministry of Education and Culture is intended for important development targets, such as R&D, virtual polytechnic provision and networking, in which polytechnics jointly develop their activities, and for regional development projects The development plan for education and research, adopted by the government every four years, outlines education and research policy for the years to come. In addition to legislation, the Government Programme and the development plan, polytechnic provision is governed by performance agreements. The Ministry of Education and Culture, the polytechnics and their maintaining organisations conclude three-year agreements, in which they agree on targets results and their monitoring and on major national development projects.  Polytechnics (Universities of Applied Sciences) There are 25 polytechnics in the Ministry of Education and Culture sector: three are run by local authorities, seven by municipal education consortia and 15 by private organisations. In addition there is Åland University of Applied Sciences in the self-
  • 30. governing Province of Åland and a Police College subordinate to the Ministry of the Interior. Some polytechnics use the English name University of Applied Sciences. Arcada Polytechnic Centria Polytechnic Diaconia Polytechnic HAAGA-HELIA Polytechnic Humanities Polytechnic Häme Polytechnic (HAMK) Jyväskylä Polytechnic Kajaani Polytechnic Kemi-Tornio Polytechnic Kymenlaakso Polytechnic Lahti Polytechnic Laurea Polytechnic Metropolia Polytechnic Mikkeli Polytechnic North Karelia Polytechnic Novia Polytechnic Oulu Polytechnic Rovaniemi Polytechnic Saimaa Polytechnic Satakunta Polytechnic Savonia Polytechnic Seinäjoki Polytechnic Tampere Polytechnic Turku Polytechnic Vaasa Polytechnic  Studies and degrees Polytechnics offer education for polytechnic degrees education for polytechnic master's degrees professional specialisation and other adult education open polytechnic education vocational teacher training Degree studies give a higher education qualification and practical professional skills. They comprise core and professional studies, elective studies and a final project. All degree studies include practical on-the-job learning. There are no tuition fees in degree education, and the students can apply for financial aid. Polytechnic education is provided in the following fields: Humanities and Education Culture Social sciences, business and administration Natural sciences Technology, communication and transport Natural resources and the environment Social services, health and sport Tourism, catering and domestic services
  • 31. The extent of polytechnic degree studies is generally 210 - 240 study points (ECTS), which means 3.5 - 4 years of full-time study. This education is arranged as degree programmes. The entry requirement is a certificate from an upper secondary school or the matriculation certificate, a vocational qualification or corresponding foreign studies. The requirement for Master's studies in polytechnics is a Bachelors' level polytechnic degree and at least three years of work experience. The polytechnic Master's, which is 60 - 90 study points and takes 1.5 - 2 years, is equivalent to a university Master's in the labour market. Each student has a personal study plan, which facilitates student guidance and the monitoring of progress in studies. Students apply for polytechnic studies in a national application system. The polytechnics determine the admission criteria and arrange student selection and entrance examination at their discretion. Nearly 90% of applications are submitted electronically. Polytechnics also arrange adult education and open education geared to maintain and upgrade competencies. The teaching arrangements in adult education are flexible and enable mature students to work alongside their studies. Some 20% of polytechnic students are mature students.  Polytechnic R& D Polytechnics mostly conduct R&D geared to the needs of business and industry and usually linked to the structure and development of the regional economy. Current development targets are interaction between education and R&D, staff development and networking between polytechnics, universities and research institutes. Polytechnic R&D has expanded in recent years. The most important source of funding is the EU Structural Funds. The links with the labour market means that polytechnics develop new or improved products, services and production machinery, devices and methods for the needs of their regions.
  • 32. VIII. University Education in Finland The Finnish higher education system consists of two complementary sectors: polytechnics and universities. The mission of universities is to conduct scientific research and provide undergraduate and postgraduate education based on it. Universities must promote free research and scientific and artistic education, provide higher education based on research, and educate students to serve their country and humanity. In carrying out this mission, universities must interact with the surrounding society and strengthen the impact of research findings and artistic activities on society. Under the new Universities Act, which was passed by Parliament in June 2009, Finnish universities are independent corporations under public law or foundations under private law (Foundations Act). The universities operate in their new form from 1 January 2010 onwards. Their operations are built on the freedom of education and research and university autonomy. Universities confer Bachelor's and Master's degrees, and postgraduate licentiate and doctoral degrees. Universities work in cooperation with the suspending society and promote the social impact of research findings. The higher education system, which comprises universities and polytechnics, is being developed as an internationally competitive entity capable of responding flexibly to national and regional needs. At the Ministry of Education and Culture university education comes under the Department for Higher Education and Science Policy.  Administration and finance The Finnish universities are very independent in their decision-making because they enjoy large autonomy and freedom of research. They organise their own internal administration independently, guided by the Universities Act. In Finland all universities are either independent corporations under public law or foundations under the Foundations Act. The Ministry of Education and Culture prepares university matters within the government remit and ensures appropriate administration and steering of university administration. a) Performance agreements The Government adopts a development plan for education and for academic research and R&D every four years. The development plan outlines education and research policy for the next few years. Apart form the government programme, the development
  • 33. plan and legislation, universities are governed by performance agreements concluded with the government. Each university and the Ministry conduct negotiations at the beginning of every threeyear agreement term, in which they set operational and qualitative targets for the university and determine the resources required. The agreement also provides for the monitoring and evaluation of target attainment and the development of operations. The KOTA data base, which is a system for the exchange of information between the universities and the Ministry, is a key tool in university steering. In the interim years when there are no negotiations, the Ministry gives universities written feedback. b) University core funding and the funding model According to the Government Programme the funding of higher education will be reformed to better support the objectives of education, including higher completion of studies rates, quicker transfer to work, enhanced administration, improvement in the quality of education and research, internationalisation, and the profiling of higher education institutions in their own areas of strength. The overall university funding comprises appropriations allocated to universities in the state budget and supplementary funding (paid services, donations, sponsoring). The direct government funding covers about 64% of university budgets. The core funding is divided among the universities based on a formula, which comprises strategic funding as well as the financing of education and research. Competed research funding is an important source of additional financing and plays an especially important part in enhancing quality and impact. Basic research in universities is financed and evaluated by the Academy of Finland, which is an agency in the Ministry's sector.  Universities Universities and University Networks There are 14 universities in the Ministry of Education and Culture sector; two of them are foundation universities (*) and the rest are public corporations. Aalto University * Hanken School of Economics
  • 34. Lappeenranta University of Technology Tampere University of Technology * University of Helsinki University of Eastern Finland University of the Arts Helsinki University of Jyväskylä University of Lapland University of Oulu University of Tampere University of Turku University of Vaasa Åbo Akademi University Higher education in the military field is provided by the National Defence College operating within the Ministry of Defence sector. University Centres and University Networks The university field is supplemented by university centres in areas with no university of their own. The centres gather university activity in the region. Their cooperation partners often include regional polytechnics, municipalities and the regional council. University networks are mostly cooperation bodies for research and education units working in the same field. There are such networks for instance in the fields of communication, health sciences and women studies.  Studies and degrees At universities students can study for lower (Bachelor's) and higher (Master's) degrees and scientific or artistic postgraduate degrees, which are the licentiate and the doctorate. It is also possible to study specialist postgraduate degrees in the medical fields. In the two-cycle degree system students first complete the Bachelor's degree, after which they may go for the higher, Master's degree. As a rule, students are admitted to study for the higher degree. Universities also arrange separate Master's programmes with separate student selection, to which the entry requirement is a Bachelor's level degree or corresponding studies. Studies are quantified as credits (ECTS). One year of full-time study corresponds to 60 credits. The extent of the Bachelor's level degree is 180 credits and takes three years. The Master's degree is 120 credits, which means two years of full-time study on top of the lower degree. In some fields, such as Medicine, the degrees are more extensive and take longer to complete. The system of personal study plans will facilitate the planning of studies and the monitoring of progress in studies and support student guidance and counselling.
  • 35. University postgraduate education aims at a doctoral degree. In addition to the required studies, doctoral students prepare a dissertation, which they defend in public. The requirement for postgraduate studies is a Master's or corresponding degree. Universities select their students independently and entrance examinations are an important part of the selection process. Universities also offer fee-charging continuing education and open university instruction, which do not lead to qualifications but can be included in a undergraduate or postgraduate degree.  Statistics On-line statistical data on universities and fields of education has been available in the KOTA system maintained by the Ministry of Education since 1981. The Ministry publishes an annual Universities publication containing data on university activities. KOTA Online: Open-access data bank on universities IX. Adult Education Adult education is designed to provide study opportunities for adults. It encompasses self-motivated education, staff training and labour market training. The Ministry of Education and Culture is responsible for self-motivated education, the Ministry of Employment and the Economy for labour market training and employers for staff training. Some 800 educational institutions provide further and continuing education of varying duration, non-degree studies, as well as education leading to a qualification. Learning mostly takes place in working life and through informal studies using networks, libraries and other learning environments. More than 1.7 million citizens participate in different types of adult education each year. More than half of this number is made up of the working age population, and this figure is high also in international terms. The aim is for the annual share of the working age population participating in education to reach 60 per cent by 2012. To achieve this figure, the participation base needs to be expanded and the study opportunities of the population groups who participate the least must be improved. The goal is to increase
  • 36. the study opportunities of people with no vocational education and training or whose education is outdated, entrepreneurs, the staff of small and medium-sized enterprises, immigrants and people aged over 55. An average of 12 per cent of the Ministry of Education and Culture’s main title of expenditure is allocated to adult education. Of this total, about 40 per cent is allocated to vocational adult education and training and apprenticeship training, one fourth goes to adult education provided by higher education institutions, a fifth to liberal adult education, and about 5 per cent to developing adult education and continuing education for teaching staff. a) The tasks and key reforms of adult education policy The tasks of adult education policy are to ensure the availability and competence of the labour force, provide educational opportunities for the entire adult population, and strengthen social cohesion and equality. Adult education policy supports efforts to extend working life, raise the employment rate, improve productivity, enhance multiculturalism and implement the conditions for lifelong learning. In addition, adult education alleviates the effects of the recession. The reform of adult education encompasses vocational adult education and training, apprenticeship training, adult education provided by higher education institutions, labour market training for adults, and staff training. A steering group was appointed for the preparatory work and it includes representatives from the ministries responsible for the reforms (the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and the Ministry of Employment and the Economy) as well as from national labour market organisations. The main proposals were completed in the summer of 2009 (Ministry of Education 2009:11), and their implementation has begun. Some of the key issues include strengthening learning in working life, recognising skills that have been acquired in different ways, facilitating opportunities to combine studies in a flexible way, enhancing adult education offered by higher education institutions, making information, guidance and counselling services more effective in order to improve the relevance of adult education, increasing study opportunities for the population groups that are least represented in adult education, clarifying the benefit systems available for adult education, and expanding the funding base. The implementation of the reforms to adult education requires extensive cooperation between the different ministries, labour market organisations as well as educational institutions and universities.
  • 37. Liberal adult education has the task of responding to changing educational needs and, through its activities, of strengthening social cohesion, active citizenship and the conditions for lifelong learning. The development programme for liberal adult education is scheduled for 2009-2012. The proposals of the preparatory committee (Ministry of Education 2009:12) are serving as the basis for amending the legislation, funding system and the maintaining organisation and institutional structure of liberal adult education. Responding to the educational needs of immigrants, those who need educational rehabilitation, the unemployed and senior citizens, as well as ensuring the regional availability of education are emphasised. Apprenticeship training constitutes the main form of learning in working life. An increasing share of vocational upper secondary education and training and vocational further education and training is arranged through apprenticeships. Apprenticeship training will be developed and expanded in accordance with the proposals of the rapporteur (Ministry of Education 2009:1) and the policies connected to the reforms to adult education. In 2009, apprenticeship-type training was integrated into continuing education for people with higher education degrees. In addition, labour market training is provided in the form of apprenticeship training. The opportunities of teaching staff to constantly develop their professional competence will be improved by the launch of the Osaava programme and the recommendations of the working group (Ministry of Education 2009:16). Continuing education for teaching staff with an immigrant background will be a priority over the next few years. The study opportunities of immigrants will be enhanced at all educational levels. The focus areas with respect to the adult population will be to improve language teaching and enhance study opportunities that support employment and integration. b) Adult education and the Ministry of Education and Culture At the Ministry of Education and Culture, adult education comes under the Division for Adult Education and Training of the Department for Education and Science Policy. The Division handles issues relating to adult education, liberal adult education and the promotion of educational policy based on the principle of lifelong learning. The following issues come under the scope of the Division for Adult Education and Training:
  • 38. • Developing the conditions for national adult education policy and lifelong learning • Vocational adult education and training, apprenticeship training and competencebased qualifications • Adult education offered by higher education institutions and open learning • General adult education and national certificates of language proficiency • Liberal adult education and educational and guidance organisations • Guidance on adult education, counselling and the recognition of competence acquired in different ways • Assessing the need for and provision of adult education as well as guidance (permission to provide education and performance steering) • Coordinating training for teaching staff and immigrants • Legislation, funding and economic planning for the sector • The quality of the activities, evaluations and international cooperation The Council for Lifelong Learning is an expert body within the Ministry of Education and Culture, which considers issues relating to cooperation between education and working life as well as the conditions for lifelong learning and developing adult education.  Finance and administration Parliament passes legislation concerning adult education and training and decides on the resources allocated to it in the state budget. The Ministry of Education and Culture prepares legislation and government resolutions concerning education and culture and steers activities in its sector. The Ministry has the overall responsibility for education policy and for self-motivated adult education. In Finland adult education is seen to comprise self-motivated studies, labour market training and in-service training. The Ministry of Education and Culture is responsible for self-motivated education and the labour administration for labour market training geared to enhance the operation of the labour market and to reduce unemployment. The aims of in-service training, which is mainly purchased by companies and public sector organisations, relate to business economics and productivity. Adult education organisations are run by the government, local authorities, municipal consortia, private associations, foundations and companies. Education and training leading to qualifications is financed by the public administration, except university degree education, which is totally government-financed. Training leading to further and specialist qualifications is mostly publicly funded but may charge moderate fees.
  • 39. About half of liberal adult education costs are covered by the government and the rest mostly comes from student fees and from the maintaining organisations. The purpose of state funding is to guarantee the largest possible provision without burdening the students with high fees. Adult education and training receives 12-13% of the appropriations allocated through the Ministry of Education and Culture main class in the state budget. Almost half of this funding is channelled to vocational training and one fifth to liberal education. Employers purchase staff-development training from adult education institutions and firms. The labour administration also purchases a great deal of different training for unemployed people and for those at risk of unemployment.  Adult education system Adult education and training is provided by some 800 institutions in Finland; some of them are specialised adult education providers. Adult education is available within the official education system in: adult upper secondary schools vocational institutions and vocational adult training centres national and private vocational institutions polytechnics and universities and in liberal adult education in: adult education centres folk high schools summer universities study centres sports institutes Adult education also includes staff-development and other training provided or purchased by employers. Labour market training is financed by the labour administration and mainly intended for unemployed persons and those aged 20 or over who are threatened by unemployment. Main providers of adult education and training in Finland, number of institutions Number of institutions Liberal adult education
  • 40. Adult education centres Folk high schools Study centres Summer universities Physical education centres General adult education Upper secondary schools for adults Vocational training (upper secondary level) Initial vocational education providers Specialised vocational institutions Vocational adult education centres Tertiary education Polytechnics Universities 258 91 11 20 14 54 220 54 45 29 20 A great variety of aims Adults can study for qualifications or parts of qualifications in open instruction (such as open university and open polytechnic) and attend training preparing for competencebased qualifications. An important part of adult education consists of further and continuing training designed to upgrade and update competencies. General adult education responds to adults' self-development needs, offers learning opportunities catering for mature learners' own interests and preferences, and develops citizenship skills. The purpose of vocational adult training is to maintain and enhance competencies and promote employment. In language tests, adults can demonstrate their proficiency in nine languages. Liberal education institutions offer courses in subjects relating to citizenship skills and society and in different crafts and subjects on a recreational basis. There are advisory organisations which arrange courses relating to various hobbies.  Studies and degrees in adult education Educational establishments arrange education and training intended for adults at all levels of the education system. It may lead to qualifications or relate to general selfdevelopment. Efforts have been made to make the provision as flexible as possible in order to enable adults to study alongside work.
  • 41. Adults can study for general education certificates and take the matriculation examination. In vocational training, there are competence-based qualifications specifically intended for adults. In higher education, adults can study in separate adult education programmes offered by polytechnics. In universities there are no specific programmes for mature students, who study in the same groups with young people. Some institutions specialise in adult education. The following options are open for adults: Aiming for a certificate Self-development Basic education Basic education certificate Studies in basic education General upper secondary education Certificate from an adult upper secondary school Studies in an adult upper secondary school Vocational education and training Training preparing for a competence-based qualification, incl. apprenticeship training Training preparing for a further or specialist qualification, incl. apprenticeship training Continuing vocational training Training arranged by private vocational institutes Staff-development training arranged by private institutes Polytechnics Adult education leading to a polytechnic degree Open polytechnic Polytechnic Master's Specialisation studies in a polytechnic Continuing professional education Universities Separate Master's programmes Open university Specialisation studies in a university Continuing professional education Liberal adult education
  • 42. Adult education centres Folk high schools Study centres Sport institutes Summer universities X. Student financial aid in Finland Financial aid is provided in the form of the following benefits: study grant housing supplement government guarantee for student loans. Student financial aid is granted for full-time studies aiming at an upper secondary school certificate, a vocational qualification, a polytechnic or university degree, and for additional studies qualifying for a profession or a post. Aid is also granted for studies abroad if these are equivalent to studies entitling to aid in Finland. a) Study grant, housing supplement and government guarantee for student loan Student financial aid is granted for a predetermined period, depending on the level of education. The amount of aid depends on the student's age, the form of housing, the level of education and means-testing. In higher education, the means-testing usually concerns the student's own income, at other levels the parents' income also influences the amount of aid. The aid is granted by the Social Insurance Institution (KELA) in cooperation with the education institution concerned. Study grant is available as soon as you are no longer eligible for child benefit. Its
  • 43. amount depends on your age, housing circumstances, marital status, school and income. Housing supplement can be paid to students living in rented or right-of-occupancy accommodation. No age limits apply. Students who do not qualify for the housing supplement can apply for a general housing allowance. With the government guarantee for study loan student can apply for a bank loan. No other security is needed for these loans. The loan is repayable but guaranteed by the Government. The maximum amount of state-guaranteed loan is determined annually. The student loan is granted by a bank at its discretion. The interest and other terms are agreed by the bank and the student. The payback time is usually twice the duration of studies. b) Tax concession for loan A tax concession on a student loan will be granted to students beginning their studies in the academic year 2005–2006 and later. The condition for the tax relief is that the student graduates in the normative time and has taken a given amount of loan. Interest assistance is available to all those who have low income and who have not anymore received financial aid for a specified period. The other benefits for students Interest assistance, which is available to those who have a low income. Assistance for school travel, which is available for full-time student of an upper secondary school or basic vocational education. Meal subsidy , which is paid to student cafés and higher education students can buy meals for a subsidised price. In upper secondary schools, in initial vocational education and in some folk high schools students get free meals.  Student financial aid reform Student financial aid will be tied to the cost-of-living index on 1 September 2014. The student financial aid system will be reformed to support full-time study and the accelerated completion of studies. The shortcomings associated with student financial aid for secondary level students will be remedied, and the position of students with a family will be investigated as part of the reform.
  • 44. The costs of student financial aid reform will not surpass the positive impact of the reform on the national economy.  International student aid The availability of financial aid for studies abroad promotes international student mobility. Different countries' student aid schemes are based on national legislation and therefore vary from country to country. In Finland financial aid is available for studies abroad which correspond to studies eligible for government aid in Finland or which form part of a Finnish degree. Applications for degree studies abroad are processed by the international section of the Centre for Student Financial Aid. Foreign students who come to Finland to study are usually covered by the aid schemes of their own countries. A foreigner who has come to Finland for a purpose other than studies and is a permanent resident is eligible for student financial aid. The purpose is assessed in accordance with the provisions of the Aliens Act. Social and Economic Conditions of Student Life in Europe The main aim of the Eurostudent project is to collate comparable data on the social dimension of European higher education. It focuses on the socio-economic background and on the living conditions of students, but it also investigates temporary international mobility. The project strives to provide reliable and insightful cross-country comparisons. The reporting structure of Eurostudent consists of a comparative report and a more detailed, searchable database, which enables users to download data and a full National Profile for each country. The fourth round of Eurostudent was completed in 2011.

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