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Education System in Finland

The welfare of Finnish society is built on education, culture and knowledge. The flexible education system and basic educational security make for equity and consistency in results.

The Finnish education system is composed of:

  • nine-year basic education (comprehensive school) for the whole age group, preceded by one year of voluntary pre-primary education
  • upper secondary education, comprising general education and vocational education and training (vocational qualifications and further and specialist qualifications)
  • higher education, provided by universities and polytechnics

Learning pathway

In Finland, pre-primary education, basic education and upper secondary education and training, complemented by early childhood education and before- and after-school activities, form a coherent learning pathway that supports children's growth, development and well-being.

The Finnish education system has no dead-ends. Learners can always continue their studies on an upper level of education, whatever choices they make in between. The practice of recognition of prior learning has been developed in order to avoid unnecessary overlapping of studies.

Students' opportunities to progress from one level of education to the next is safeguarded by legislation. Both general and vocational upper secondary certificates provide eligibility for further studies.

Higher education is offered by universities and polytechnics. Both sectors have their own profiles. Universities emphasise scientific research and instruction. Polytechnics, also known as universities of applied sciences, adopt a more practical approach.

Adult education is provided at all levels of education. Adults can study for a general education certificate or for a vocational qualification, or modules included in them, take other courses developing citizenship and work skills, or pursue recreational studies.

Mainpage Education Education system