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Finland:Overview

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Overview Finland

Contents

Finland:Political, Social and Economic Background and Trends

Finland:Historical Development

Finland:Main Executive and Legislative Bodies

Finland:Population: Demographic Situation, Languages and Religions

Finland:Political and Economic Situation

Finland:Organisation and Governance

Finland:Fundamental Principles and National Policies

Finland:Lifelong Learning Strategy

Finland:Organisation of the Education System and of its Structure

Finland:Organisation of Private Education

Finland:National Qualifications Framework

Finland:Administration and Governance at Central and/or Regional Level

Finland:Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level

Finland:Statistics on Organisation and Governance

Finland:Funding in Education

Finland:Early Childhood and School Education Funding

Finland:Higher Education Funding

Finland:Adult Education and Training Funding

Finland:Early Childhood Education and Care

Finland:Organisation of early childhood education and care other than pre-primary education

Finland:Teaching and Learning in early childhood education and care other than pre-primary education

Finland:Assessment in early childhood education and care other than pre-primary education

Finland:Organisation of pre-primary education

Finland:Teaching and Learning in pre-primary education

Finland:Assessment in pre-primary education

Finland:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Early Childhood Education and Care

Finland:Single Structure Education (Integrated Primary and Lower Secondary Education)

Finland:Organisation of Single Structure Education

Finland:Teaching and Learning in Single Structure Education

Finland:Assessment in Single Structure Education

Finland:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Single Structure Education

Finland:Upper Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Finland:Organisation of General Upper Secondary Education

Finland:Teaching and Learning in General Upper Secondary Education

Finland:Assessment in General Upper Secondary Education

Finland:Organisation of Vocational and Technical Upper Secondary Education

Finland:Teaching and Learning in Vocational and Technical Upper Secondary Education

Finland:Assessment in Vocational and Technical Upper Secondary Education

Finland:Organisation of Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Finland:Teaching and Learning in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Finland:Assessment in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Finland:Higher Education

Finland:Types of Higher Education Institutions

Finland:First Cycle Programmes

Finland:Bachelor

Finland:Short-Cycle Higher Education

Finland:Second Cycle Programmes

Finland:Programmes outside the Bachelor and Master Structure

Finland:Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

Finland:Adult Education and Training

Finland:Distribution of Responsibilities

Finland:Developments and Current Policy Priorities

Finland:Main Providers

Finland:Main Types of Provision

Finland:Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning

Finland:Teachers and Education Staff

Finland:Initial Education for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Finland:Conditions of Service for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Finland:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Finland:Initial Education for Academic Staff in Higher Education

Finland:Conditions of Service for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Finland:Continuing Professional Development for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Finland:Initial Education for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Finland:Conditions of Service for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Finland:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Finland:Management and Other Education Staff

Finland:Management Staff for Early Childhood and School Education

Finland:Staff Involved in Monitoring Educational Quality for Early Childhood and School Education

Finland:Education Staff Responsible for Guidance in Early Childhood and School Education

Finland:Other Education Staff or Staff Working with Schools

Finland:Management Staff for Higher Education

Finland:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Higher Education

Finland:Management Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Finland:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Finland:Quality Assurance

Finland:Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education

Finland:Quality Assurance in Higher Education

Finland:Quality Assurance in Adult Education and Training

Finland:Educational Support and Guidance

Finland:Special Education Needs Provision within Mainstream Education

Finland:Separate Special Education Needs Provision in Early Childhood and School Education

Finland:Support Measures for Learners in Early Childhood and School Education

Finland:Guidance and Counselling in Early Childhood and School Education

Finland:Support Measures for Learners in Higher Education

Finland:Guidance and Counselling in Higher Education

Finland:Support Measures for Learners in Adult Education and Training

Finland:Guidance and Counselling in a Lifelong Learning Approach

Finland:Mobility and Internationalisation

Finland:Mobility in Early Childhood and School Education

Finland:Mobility in Higher Education

Finland:Mobility in Adult Education and Training

Finland:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Early Childhood and School Education

Finland:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Higher Education

Finland:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Adult Education and Training

Finland:Bilateral Agreements and Worldwide Cooperation

Finland:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

Finland:National Reforms in Early Childhood Education and Care

Finland:National Reforms in School Education

Finland:National Reforms in Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning

Finland:National Reforms in Higher Education

Finland:National Reforms related to Transversal Skills and Employability

Finland:European Perspective

Finland:Legislation

Finland:Glossary

 

Main features of the Finnish education system

  • Education system is based on trust and responsibility; educational autonomy is high at all levels
  • local administration and educational institutions play a key role
  • national core curriculum leaves room for local variations
  • no inspections; quality assurance mainly the responsibility of education providers

 

  • Equity in education
  • education is free at all levels from pre-primary to higher education
  • most education is publically funded
  • every pupil and student has the right to educational support
  • small differences between schools.

 

  • Competence-based qualifications in vocational education and training offer a way to demonstrate prior learning.

 

  • Life-long learning in focus; around half of the adult population participates in adult education.

 

  • Good learning outcomes are achieved at average expenditure.


In Finland local autonomy in education is extensive. Local authorities (municipalities) provide most of pre-primary, primary and upper secondary education in Finland.  Individual schools and teachers have a lot of freedom in designing their own curricula and instruction. Finnish higher education institutions also enjoy extensive autonomy. All education in Finland, from pre-primary to tertiary level, is free of charge.

At national level education is the responsibility of the Ministry of Education and Culture. The Finnish National Board of Education works with the Ministry to develop educational aims, content and methods for primary, upper secondary and adult education. The national education administration steers the provision and development of education and training mainly through funding and information.

Early childhood education and care is available to all children. It is mainly organised in day-care institutions and so called family day-care. Compulsory pre-primary education stats at the age of six.

Compulsory schooling begins at the age of 7 and lasts for 9 years. It is provided in a single structure system called basic education.

Upper secondary education is provided by general and vocational upper secondary schools. The general age to take upper secondary studies is from 16 to 19 years. However, many students are older, especially in vocational upper secondary education.


Tertiary education is provided by universities and universities of applied sciences. The latter are professionally-oriented her education institutions.

Adult education is arranged at all levels of the education system. It may lead to qualifications or be related to general self-development. Liberal adult education, provided for example by adult education centres and folk high schools, is quite popular in Finland. 


Structure of the national education system

2016 diagram FI.pngsource: Eurydice 2016

Useful Links

For more information on Finnish education system

Ministry of Education and Culture

Finnish National Board of Education

Finnish Education in a Nutshell  

Statistics Finland - Education

The Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities - Education, Culture and Well-being

Trade Union of Education in Finland  

Teacher education e.g.  University of Helsinki - Department of Teacher Education

Common European Reference Tools Provided by the Eurydice Network