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Basic education 2020 - the national general objectives and distribution of lesson hours

tiivistelmä / sammandrag / summary
  • Title
  • Basic education 2020 - the national general objectives and distribution of lesson hours 
  • Authors
  • Committee
  • Series of publications
  • Reports of the Ministry of Education and Culture, Finland 2010:01 
  • Published
  • 01-06-2010 
  • Number of pages
  • 242 
  • ISBN
  • 978-952-485-912-7 (pbk.), 978-952-485-913-4 (PDF) 
  • ISSN
  • ISSN-L 1799-0327, 1799-0327 (Print), 1799-0335 (Online) 
  • URN
  • Language
  • Finnish 
  • Subscriptions
  • Helsinki University Print 
  • Publisher
  • Ministry of Education and Culture, Finland  
in finnish (3618 kb)


The expert group has formulated a proposal for the distribution of lesson hours and the general national objectives for the new Basic Education Act. It has also made a proposal for the foci to renew basic education itself. The aim of the proposal is to develop basic education and its objectives in a consistent way by taking into consideration the present strengths of basic education and the development needs for the future. It examines major changes in the national and international operational environments. The renewal of basic education should be comprehensive, with the objectives, contents and implementation in balance, and promoting learning according to the objectives.

The expert group has set the future objectives for the renewal of basic education: to clarify and enhance the mission and integrity of basic education, to ensure the high level of knowledge and skills, the provision of individual support and guidance as well as to clarify the principles of basic education. The general national objectives have been def ned on the basis of the goals in the Basic Education Act and on the basis of the objectives for renewing basic education for the future. They ref ect the view of the task and quintessence of basic education in the future Finnish society. In order to guide teaching, explicit objectives for skills in basic education should be set. It has been proposed that the knowledge-based contents of subjects as well as teaching hours should be checked.

The objectives for the skills an individual needs in the society have been classif ed into f ve groups: Thinking skills, Ways of working and interaction, Crafts and expressive skills, Participation and initiative, and Self-awareness and personal responsibility. Citizen skills will be def ned as part of the general national objectives by the new basic education decree and they will be included in the objectives of multi-disciplinary subject groups and of separate subjects. The basic education curriculum consists of compulsory and optional subjects, which will be def ned as multi-disciplinary subject groups, and different subjects as their components. Each multi-disciplinary subject group will be def ned its own specif c objectives that will combine the general objectives and core contents as well as methods appropriate for each f eld of knowledge. According to the proposal, there will be six different multi-disciplinary subject groups: Language and interaction, Mathematics, Environment, science and technology, Individual, enterprise and society, Arts and crafts and Health and personal functionality.

The number of pupils’ minimum amount of annual weekly lesson hours in basic education is proposed to be increased by four (4) in order to strengthen national equality. The minimum number of lesson hours and the number of elective lesson hours are proposed to be increased in arts, crafts and physical education in particular. Pupils’ opportunities to choose optional lesson hours in these subjects will be strengthened. The proposal aims to enhance pupils’ freedom to choose optional lesson hours in an equal and equitable manner. The number of elective lesson hours will be increased signif cantly in grades 3-9. This aims to give pupils and education providers more opportunities to different options and f exible solutions as well as to increase the motivation to study. Elective lesson hours will be part of the pupils’ minimum number of compulsory lesson hours. It is proposed that there are 13 weekly lesson hours per year in grades 3-6 and 21 weekly lesson hours per year in grades 7-9 (of which a minimum of 6 lesson hours for arts and crafts). The optional lesson hours will be placed in different multi-disciplinary subject groups. The expert group proposes two new school subjects: ethics and drama. Within the multi-disciplinary subject group Individual, enterprise and society, ethics is to reinforce the basic values of the Finnish society and to enhance a dialogue amongst pupils representing different world-views. The objective for drama is to strengthen a comprehensive approach to art education in the multi-disciplinary subject group of Arts and crafts.

Foreign language education and second national language studies will be diversif ed and introduced earlier than now. The A1-language commences in the second grade at the latest and the B1-language commences in the sixth grade at the latest. An education provider’s duty to offer diversif ed language programmes will be specif ed. The education provider must offer at least three alternative A1-languages, of which one is the second national language. It must start teaching if there are at least ten pupils who have chosen the language.

The expert group has prepared proposals for the objectives and distribution of lesson hours for those pupils who are not within regular basic education. It has also formulated other specif ed regulations pertaining to the decree. The expert group will make the necessary proposals for changes in the decree to implement the renewal. The expert group proposes that the Basic Education Decree (852/1998) and the general national objectives and distribution of lesson hours (Government Decree 1435/2001) are combined in order to form a new government decree of basic education.
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