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

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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

 


After nine years compulsory basic education (single structure education) 15 – 16 old school-leavers opt for general upper secondary education (Finnish: lukio, Swedish: gymnasium) or initial vocational education and training (vocational upper secondary education. Finnish: ammattikoulutus, Swedish: yrkesutbildningen). Lower secondary education is part of compulsory education and is discussed in chapter 5.


This chapter is divided into three parts:

  • A. General upper secondary education
  • B. Vocational upper secondary education
  • C. Post secondary non tertiary education.


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 per cent of basic education school-leavers opt for the general upper secondary school 42 per cent for vocational upper secondary education and 8 per cent do not immediately continue to secondary level. Some 2 percent continue basic education for a tenth year on voluntary basis. 


A. General upper secondary education


The purpose and objectives of general upper secondary education have been set out in the General Upper Secondary Schools Act from 1998. General upper secondary education is education, which provides students with the capabilities to continue to further studies.


According to the act, the objective of general upper secondary education is to promote the development of students into good, balanced and civilised individuals and members of society and to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary for further studies, working life, their personal interests and the diverse development of their personalities. In addition, the education must support students’ opportunities for lifelong learning and self-development during their lives.


The Government Decree on the General National Objectives of General Upper Secondary Education and the Distribution of Lesson Hours (further elaborates on the objetives of education, as follows:


The objective of general upper secondary education is to support a balanced psychological, physical and social growth as well as to promote respect for life, human rights, sustainable development and diversity of the environment and cultures. Education and all school activities support equity and equality. Education steers the student to take a democratic, responsible and active role as part of a local, national, European and global community.


The most important legislation concerning general upper secondary education is the following:

http://www.minedu.fi/export/sites/default/OPM/Koulutus/koulutuspolitiikka/vireilla_koulutus/lukio/asetus_1311.pdf 
General Upper Secondary Schools Act (629/1998)  
General Upper Secondary Schools Decree (810/1998) 


Table 6.1. Direct transition to upper secondary level after the completion of basic education, 2005-2013 (%)

Year
General upper secondary
Vocational upper secondary
No qualification-oriented studies
2005
53.3
39.4
7.4
2010
50.4
40.7
8.9
2013
50.8
40.3
8.9

Source: Statistics Finland, 2014


The number of students in general upper secondary education was 103 900 in 2014. As can be seen in table 6.2., the number of students has decreased continuously. Women comprised 57 per cent of the students in 2014.


Table 6.2. New entrants, number of students and matriculation examinations in general upper secondary education 2005–2014

Year  
New entrants
Number of students
Matriculation examinations
2005
39 544
118 111
34 058
2010
37 869
111 778
32 697
2013
34 888
103 900
31 600

Source: Statistics Finland 2015


For students studying the entire syllabus in general upper secondary education, the instruction is free of charge, but materials, such as books and notebooks, are not. Based on the decrees stipulated by the Ministry of Education and Culture, the candidates taking a matriculation examination are required to pay for a basic fee and a fee per each subject for which they take the examination.


Students in general upper secondary education are entitled to student financial aid. Student financial aid is available for full-time post-compulsory studies lasting at least two consecutive months at general upper secondary school.


Nearly all students who complete the upper secondary school syllabus will also take the national matriculation examination, (Finnish: ylioppilastutkinto, Swedish: studentexamen). The number of graduates was 31 600 in 2014 (Statistics Finland, 2015).


The purpose of the matriculation examination is to determine whether students have acquired the knowledge and skills required by the curriculum for the upper secondary school, and whether they have reached an adequate level of maturity in line with the goals of the upper secondary school. Passing the matriculation examination entitles students to continue studies in universities, polytechnics or vocational institutions.


Approximately 64 per cent of graduates do not advance to further studies in the year of graduation, as may be seen in table 6.3. However, many continue studies one year or a couple of years after graduation.


Table 6.3. Direct transition to further studies after the completion of matriculation examination, 2005-2013 (%)

Year of graduation
Vocational upper secondary studies
Polytecnic studies
University studies
No qualification- or degree-oriented further studies
2005
4.3
18.2
19.5
57.9
2010
4.2
17.4
18.1
60.3
2013
4.4
14.3
17.6
63.7

Source: Statistics Finland 2015


In 2010 the Ministry of Education and Culture's committee proposed a reform of student admission in higher education – a joint selection - with a view to expediting young people's transition from the secondary level to higher education and improving the position of those seeking admission for the first time. The purpose of the joint selection is to promote the efficient use of student places available. The joint national selections to universities and polytechnics was merged into one system in the 2014 admissions.


The committee stressed the importance of predictability and transparency in selection criteria – the higher education institutions should, in advance, publicise the grades required for admission without entrance examination. The committee further underlined the importance of goal-oriented guidance and counselling in schools; all school-leavers should have a plan for further studies.