Education system in Finland

  • source National board of education in Finland

Please find more information on Finnish National Board of Education web-pages

Pre-School Education

Pre-school education is intended for six-year-olds, who will start their compulsory education in the following year. Participation in pre-school education is voluntary, and it is provided in day care centres and in pre-school classes operating in connection with comprehensive schools.

Basic Education

Basic Education means the general education provided for each age group in its entirety. It is intended for children from seven to sixteen years of age, and its completion in comprehensive school takes nine years. After completing comprehensive school, pupils have fulfilled their compulsory education.

Upper Secondary Education

Lower secondary education in Finland is a part of compulsory basic education discussed above. Upper secondary education comprises general upper secondary education and initial vocational study programmes. General upper secondary education is general education preparing for the matriculation examination. The principal objective of the vocational programmes is vocational competence.

Educational legislation has been amended to the effect that providers of education now have the freedom of organisation and obligation to co-operate. At the same time, students have been granted more opportunities to choose study modules from another form of education, within the framework of the study programme or syllabus, and the right to get credit for previous studies and for those completed elsewhere.

General Upper Secondary

Upper secondary school offers general education for students of about 16-19 years of age. It continues the educational task of comprehensive school and gives students eligibility for all studies at the tertiary level. Upper secondary school ends with the matriculation examination.

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 in further studies, working life, personal interests and the versatile development of their personality. Moreover, the education shall support the students` opportunities for lifelong learning and self-development during their lives.

Vocational Education and Initial vocational education

is provided in vocational institutions and in the form of apprenticeship training in virtually all fields. The completion of an initial vocational qualification takes 2-3 years, and instruction is given in multi-field or specialised vocational institutions. A three-year vocational qualification yields eligibility for all forms of higher education.

The objective of initial vocational education is to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary for acquiring vocational expertise and with capabilities for self-employment. The further objectives of the education are to promote the students` development into good and balanced individuals and members of society, to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary in further studies, personal interests and the versatile development of personality, and to promote lifelong learning.

Higher Education

The Finnish education system comprises two parallel sectors: universities and polytechnics. Universities are characterised by scientific research and the highest education based thereon. Polytechnics are oriented towards working life and base their operations on the high vocational skill requirements set by it.