Education policy in Finland
One of the basic principles of Finnish education is that all people must have equal access to high-quality education and training. The same opportunities to education should be available to all citizens irrespective of their ethnic origin, age, wealth or where they live. Education policy is built on the lifelong learning principle.
The basic right to education and culture is recorded in the Constitution. Public authorities must secure equal opportunities for every resident in Finland to get education also after compulsory schooling and develop themselves, irrespective of their financial standing. In Finland education is free at all levels from pre-primary to higher education. Adult education is the only form of education that may require payment.
The key words in Finnish education policy are quality, efficiency, equity and internationalisation. Geared to promote the competitiveness of Finnish welfare society, education is also seen as an end in itself. The broad lines of Finnish education and science policy are in line with the Europe 2020 Strategy.
Decisions on the contents of legislation on education and research are made by the Parliament based on government proposals. The Government and the Ministry of Education and Culture, as part of it, are responsible for preparing and implementing education and science policy.
The Education and Research Development Plan promotes equality
The Education and Research Development Plan is the key document of the Finnish education and research policy. The Development Plan is adopted by the government every four years, and it directs the implementation of the education and research policy goals stated in the Government Programme.
The Development Plan covers all forms of education from early childhood to adult education as well as research conducted in universities and polytechnics. The focus in the period 2011–2016 is on alleviation of poverty, inequality and exclusion, stabilizing the public economy and fostering sustainable economic growth, employment and competitiveness.