Finland is considered to have one of the best education
systems in the world. The teaching profession is very
popular and a master's degree is required to become a
teacher. Education is compulsory for children and
adolescents aged 7-16.
Organization of education in Finland
Health and Social Services has the overall responsibility
for the so-called dagvård (nursery mm). The
Ministry of Education and Culture is responsible for
preschool, elementary school, secondary school and most of
the higher education. However, the Ministry of the Interior
is responsible for the training of police, border guards, as
well as fire and rescue personnel, while the Ministry of
Defense is responsible for military education.
The primary and secondary schools are administered by the
municipalities. Since the beginning of the 1990s, great
emphasis has been placed on decentralization. In the Primary
Education Act of 1999, local authorities and institutions
themselves are given greater responsibility for local
facilitation and priorities. Schools must teach core
subjects and have the same objectives, but local authorities
can organize the education they want within the national
There are very few private schools in Finland. In 2009,
just under three per cent of pupils in primary school were
taught in private schools.
Children have a statutory right to kindergarten until
they reach school age. Kindergartens combine elements of
childcare, childcare and education. Quality is very
important and the staff's competence is strictly regulated.
Each municipality is obliged to provide a day care center in
the mother's mother tongue if this is Finnish, Swedish or
Parents can choose from three forms of state-sponsored
- Subsidized space in a municipal kindergarten or
- As an alternative to a municipal kindergarten,
families can apply for support to cover expenses for
space in a private kindergarten, family kindergarten or
at a daycare.
- Cash support is available for families with children
under the age of three who do not attend kindergarten.
Some cash support is also provided for older children
who have not started school if the family already
receives cash support for younger siblings under the age
Children can begin preschool the year before they start
school. The municipalities are obliged to offer a free
preschool offer, but can decide for themselves whether the
preschool is added to a school or kindergarten. The
children's participation is voluntary and is decided by the
parents, but about 96 per cent make use of the offer.
In 1999, Finland passed a new school law that eliminated
the division between children and adolescents and introduced
a 9-year continuous schooling. Children start school the
year they turn seven.
Students are entitled to tuition in their mother tongue
if this is Finnish, Swedish or Sami. Everyone who needs
special education should be offered it, either in regular
school or in special schools. Textbooks, stationery and
other teaching materials are free in primary school.
Students are also offered a free meal.
Religion, mathematics, environmental and natural
sciences, social sciences and history, physical education,
music and education are the core curriculum throughout the
primary school. Native languages (Finnish or Swedish) and
the second national language (Finnish or Swedish) are also
compulsory, in addition to one foreign language. Most people
choose English, but it is also possible to take German,
French or Russian. Throughout the school, the opportunities
for differentiated and individualized education increase.
Most schools start with grades in fourth or fifth grade, but
this depends on the local curriculum.
From 1st to 6th grade, students are mainly taught by a
class manager. In the 7th to 9th stages, they are largely
taught by specialist teachers. The national curriculum
includes guidelines for choosing educational methods, but
teachers can choose which methods they wish to use to
achieve the goals of the curriculum.
As in Denmark, pupils can choose to attend a voluntary,
tenth year in primary school, if the municipality offers
this. Only 2 percent of students choose to take advantage of
Most start in high school the year they turn 16. There is
a distinction between general and vocational training. It
usually takes three years to complete each of the
directions. Both enable higher education. Higher education
is free, but textbooks and other materials are not covered
by the public.
In 2011, 91 per cent of those who completed primary and
lower secondary education continued. About 50 per cent chose
a general vocational field, 41 per cent chose vocational
training, while 9 per cent chose not to continue
The high school system is very complex and gives students
great freedom of choice. The general study programs are
organized so that each student must complete a minimum of 75
courses. These usually consist of 38 lessons of 45 minutes.
Each study program has between 47 and 51 compulsory courses,
the rest are optional courses. The organization enables
students to take both general and vocational courses. In
addition, it allows students to spend less than standard
time on completing school as the courses are not
For those who choose vocational education, technology and
transport, economics and administration, as well as health
and social sciences, are the most popular directions. A
total of 119 different vocational study programs exist.
Since the late 1970s, adult education has become
increasingly important. The training aims to maintain and
further develop the vocational competence of the adult
population. In 2009, more than 1.7 million took advantage of
the scheme. About 80 percent of the students are older than
25 and many of them already have work. Most adult education
is run by adult education centers. These are largely funded
by the state and most programs are free for students.
Universities and technical colleges also offer adult
Finland has 14 universities and 25 technical colleges.
The state institutions do not require tuition fees. At the
end of 2011, 31 per cent of Finnish women and 25 per cent of
Finnish men had higher education.
The technical colleges were established in the 1990s to
meet the ever-increasing demand for highly educated labor.
The schools offer professional and vocational education in a
variety of disciplines and disciplines. The technical
vocational schools issue in excess of 20,000 bachelor's
degrees and 200 master's degrees annually.
About 170,000 students study at the country's
universities. The University of Helsinki (Helsingin
Yliopisto) is the country's largest and oldest
university.Check topschoolsintheusa for test centers of ACT, SAT, and GRE as well high schools in the country of Finland.
Compulsory primary school was first introduced in 1921
after Finland became an independent state, and it has been
reorganized several times. Prior to 1946, the primary school
included a 2-year primary school (small school) and a 4-year
upper secondary school. In 1946, a new primary school law
was passed, and after this the primary school was to be
7-years with a 1-year secondary school as a superstructure.
In 1958 a new law was again adopted, which in principle
introduced eight years of teaching duty. The elementary
school was divided into a 6-year school, the actual primary
school, and a two-year "civic school". In 1968, Finland
passed a new law on primary school. Primary and former civic
and middle schools were merged into a 9-year compulsory unit
school, with a 6-year primary school and a 3-year
old secondary school.