One of the basic principles of Finnish education is that all people must have equal access to high-quality education and training. The key words in Finnish education policy are quality, efficiency, equity and internationalisation.
In Finland everyone has the right to free basic education, including necessary equipment and text books, school transportation and meals. Post-compulsory education is also free: there are no tuition fees in general and vocational upper secondary education, in polytechnics or in universities. Education is primarily co-financed by the Government and local authorities.
Education at a Glance: Long study periods in Finland
PISA 2012: Proficiency of Finnish youth declining
Despite the clear downturn, Finnish students remain one of the best performers among the OECD countries. Finland remains the best in literacy and science among the European OECD countries. Press release
The Survey of Adult Skills PIAAC - Basic skills of Finnish adults one of the best in the OECD countries
But there were many whose skills were weak too. The good average scores are largely thanks to the good skills of 20 to 39-year-olds, skills among older age groups are at the OECD average level. PIAAC and Finland
Education system based on trust and responsibility
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 activities of education providers are guided by objectives laid down in legislation as well as the national core curricula and qualification requirements. The system relies on the proficiency of teachers and other personnel. The ideology is to steer through information, support and fundingEducation system
Education policy in Finland
Education policy priorities are outlined in the Government’s five-year Development Plan for Education and Research. It directs the implementation of the education and research policy goals stated in the Government Programme.
The key objectives of the current Development Plan (2011-2016) include promoting equality in education, enhancing the quality of education at all levels and supporting lifelong learning.Education policy
Educational autonomy is high at all levels
The national education administration is organised at two levels. Education policy is the responsibility of the Ministry of Education and Culture. A national agency, the Finnish National Board of Education, is responsible for the implementation of the policy aims.
Many matters are decided by the education providers themselves – the local authorities and their consortia. These make the decisions on allocation of funding, local curricula, recruitment of personnel.
Polytechnics and universities enjoy extensive autonomy. They organise their own administration,
decide on student admission and design the contents of degree programmes.
Internationalisation is a central strategic goal for Finnish higher education institutions
The evaluation team finds that internationalisation has been taken as a serious objective in all strategies of the Finnish HEIs. The IDPs are seen as an important instrument for reaching the objectives of institutional internationalisation.