The Education System of Finland Pre-School Education Basic Education General Upper Secondary education 24.9.2014 Education System Chart Pre-School Education вЂў Pre-school education is intended for six-year-olds, who will start their compulsory education in the following year. вЂў 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. вЂў In Finland, pre-school education means the systematic education and instruction provided in a day care centre (kindergarten) or a comprehensive school in the year preceding the beginning of school. вЂў Subject fields are: language and interaction, mathematics, ethics and philosophy, environmental and natural studies, health, physical and motor development and art and culture. Basic Education вЂў Basic education is intended for children from seven to sixteen years of age, and its completion in comprehensive school takes nine years. вЂў All children permanently resident in Finland are subject to compulsory education for a period of ten years starting in the year of their seventh birthday. вЂў Basic education is general education provided free of charge for entire age groups. вЂў Basic education is governed by the Basic Education Act of 1998 вЂў The broad national objectives and the allocation of time to the instruction in different subjects and subject groups and to childrens counselling are decided by the Government. The National Board of Education decides on the objectives and core contents of instruction by confirming the core curriculum. Based on these, each provider of education prepares the local curriculum. вЂў The network of comprehensive schools covers the entire country. вЂў For school journeys exceeding five kilometres, transportation is provided free of charge. вЂў Teaching groups in basic education are formed according to year classes. вЂў During the first six years, instruction is usually given by the class teacher, who teaches all or most subjects. вЂў Instruction in the three highest forms is usually in the form of subject teaching, where different subjects are taught by subject teachers. вЂў Basic education also includes pupil counselling and, if necessary, special education. вЂў The basic education syllabus includes at least the following subjects: mother tongue and literature (Finnish or Swedish), the other national language (Swedish or Finnish), foreign languages, environmental studies, civics, religion or ethics, history, social studies, mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, geography, physical education, music, visual arts, craft and home economics. вЂў http://opspro.peda.net/valkeakoski/viewer.php3?DB=kuntaopsvl k&mode=2&document_id=88 Features of basic education вЂў вЂў вЂў вЂў вЂў вЂў вЂў вЂў вЂў вЂў no admission requirements no charges a nine-year comprehensive school may include voluntary one-year pre-school education and voluntary one-year additional education (10th form) instruction arranged in schools near the home no official qualification; final certificate granted for acceptable completion of the syllabus provides eligibility for all upper secondary education almost all Finnish children complete comprehensive school interruption and repeating a form is rare compulsory education is fulfilled by completing the basic education syllabus General Upper Secondary education вЂў Upper secondary school offers general education for students of about 16-19 years of age. вЂў It continues the educational task of comprehensive school and gives students eligibility for all studies at the tertiary level. вЂў Upper secondary school ends with the matriculation examination. вЂў Since 1982, instruction in upper secondary schools has been divided into courses, each consisting of about 38 lessons. вЂў The broad national objectives and the allocation of time to the instruction in different subjects and subject groups and to student counselling are decided by the Government. The National Board of Education decides on the objectives and core contents of instruction by confirming the core curriculum. Based on these, each provider of education prepares the local curriculum. The curriculum must provide students with individual choices concerning studies, also utilising the instruction offered by other education providers, if necessary. . вЂў The school year is usually divided into five or six periods. A separate timetable is drawn up for each period, concentrating on certain subjects. вЂў Students' progress and the composition of teaching groups thus depends on the students' choice of courses. вЂў Consequently, year classes have been abolished in all upper secondary schools, which now function without fixed forms Upper secondary school studies consist of compulsory, specialisation and applied courses. вЂў All students must complete the compulsory courses. Schools must provide specialisation courses for students to choose from. вЂў Each student is responsible for completing a sufficient number of courses. Applied courses may be either further studies in subjects already studied or other subjects. вЂў The provision of these courses can be decided independently by each school. They can also be offered in co-operation with other educational institutions, such as vocational or music institutions. вЂў The matriculation examination concluding upper secondary school studies is drawn up nationally, and there is a centralised body to check its individual tests according to uniform criteria. T вЂў here are four compulsory tests in the matriculation examination: mother tongue, the other national language, foreign language and either mathematics or general studies test. In addition, candidates may voluntarily take optional tests. вЂў Tests are arranged each spring and autumn, and candidates may complete the examination either entirely in one examination period or in parts within a maximum of three different examination periods. Features of upper secondary school вЂў the admission requirement for the upper secondary school is the completion of comprehensive school вЂў upper secondary schools select their students mainly on the basis of previous study record вЂў in practice application takes place through the national joint application procedure вЂў upper secondary school studies primarily aim at further studies at the tertiary level вЂў progress in studies is individual вЂў syllabus planned for three years вЂў possible to finish in two years, maximum four years вЂў students usually 16-19 years of age вЂў upper secondary school instruction also provided for adults, adjusted to their circumstances вЂў more than half of each age group complete upper secondary school Vocational Education вЂў вЂў вЂў вЂў вЂў Initial vocational education builds on the basic education syllabus and provides 2-3-year instruction in almost all fields of working life. However, there is a decision to extend the duration of all initial vocational education to three years by the year 2001. Initial vocational education is also open to upper secondary school leavers. The duration of studies is 0.5-1 year shorter for them, due to the credits transferred from upper secondary school studies. There are 75 initial vocational study programmes. These yield extensive basic vocational skills for various assignments in their field and, in addition, more specialised expertise in one sector of the study programme. A three-year vocational qualification provides general eligibility for higher education. вЂў The Government decides on the general objectives of vocational education and training, the general structure of the study programmes and on the common studies. вЂў The Ministry of Education decides on the details and scope of the study programmes. вЂў The National Board of Education issues the national core curricula determining the objectives and core contents of the studies. вЂў Based on these, each provider of education prepares its curriculum. вЂў The Ministry of Education grants licences to organise vocational education, determining the education providers' fields of study and total number of students, etc. вЂў Within the framework of the licence and the confirmed structure of the study programmes, the education providers may focus their education as they see fit, allowing for the local and regional economic and working life needs. Features of initial vocational education вЂў вЂў вЂў вЂў вЂў вЂў вЂў вЂў the admission requirement is the completion of the basic education syllabus education providers mainly select their students on the basis of previous study record, but they may also arrange entrance or aptitude tests and take the applicant's previous work experience into account application for studies takes place through the national joint application procedure the studies primarily aim at the acquisition of the vocational skills necessary in working life; in addition, the three-year programmes give general eligibility for further studies at universities and other institutions of higher education opportunities for individual progress in the studies have been increased initial vocational qualifications can be taken in institutional education, as apprenticeship training or through competence-based examinations development objectives: the proportion of training at workplaces will be increased in institutional education (on-the-job training periods to be attached to the programmes); apprenticeship training will be expanded; initial vocational programmes will include a practical demonstration to ensure that the objectives of vocational studies have been achieved instruction is also offered to adults, adjusted to their circumstances (competencebased examinations: initial vocational qualifications, further and specialist vocational qualifications) Polytechnic Education вЂў The Finnish polytechnic system was built during the 1990's to create a non-university sector in higher education. It is founded on the institutions which previously provided post-secondary vocational education and which have been developed to form a nationwide network of regional institutions of higher education, i.e. polytechnics. In the autumn of 2001, there were a total of 29 polytechnics. вЂў Polytechnics provide instruction for expert functions in the sectors of natural resources, technology and communications, business and administration, tourism, catering and institutional management, health care and social services, culture, and the humanities and education. вЂў Studies leading to a polytechnic degree take 3.5-4.5 years. вЂў The Ministry of Education confirms the degree programmes, but the curricula are independently decided by the polytechnics. Features of polytechnics вЂў the admission requirement is the completion of a vocational qualification or the matriculation examination вЂў polytechnics select their students independently; application takes place through the national joint application procedure вЂў polytechnic studies lead to higher education degrees вЂў the scope of education is 3.5-4.5 years; students have the right to exceed this by one year вЂў all degree programmes include an on-the-job training period of at least 20 credits (half the academic year) вЂў instruction is free of charge вЂў education providers are municipal or private; the State does not maintain polytechnics вЂў close research and development co-operation with the regional working life University Education вЂў There are twenty universities in Finland: ten multidisciplinary universities, three universities of technology, three schools of economics and business administration and four art academies. The network of universities covers the different parts of the country and provides a student place for almost one third of the age group. All universities are owned by the State. Academic degrees in the military field can be taken at the National Defence College falling under the administrative field of the Ministry of Defence. вЂў The decision-making system of the universities is highly independent. Their operation is prescribed by the Universities Act and Decree. Moreover, their activities are regulated by field-specific decrees on degree systems, governing the field-specific educational duties as well as the definitions, structures, scope, objective and contents of degrees. Universities and their faculties decide on the degree regulations and curricula. вЂў Universities select their own students independently. вЂў Various types of entrance examinations form a central part of the selection process. вЂў The total intake of the universities guarantees a student place for about a third of the relevant age group. вЂў The number of university students has increased by some 40 % during the last ten years. In total, there are about 152,000 students. вЂў The number of postgraduate students is about 20,000. вЂў The annual number of degrees taken amounts to about 17,000, of which Master's degrees account for almost 12,000 and doctorates for more than 1,000. вЂў The average duration for completing a Master's degree is about 6.5 years.