The Finnish education system is based on generations of work and investment. Our country places great value on education.
All education is free of charge for Finnish and EU citizens from preschool to vocational colleges and universities. The goal is to offer equal opportunities and a good learning environment for all citizens, regardless of their domicile, gender, socio-economic status, or linguistic and cultural background. Free school meals have been provided to pupils since the 1940s.
In Finland, we understand that a good teacher is the very core of successful learning. Finnish teachers are trusted professionals and innovators, encouraged and empowered to explore new approaches. Starting from basic education, Finnish teachers must hold a master’s degree in education, or in their specific field.
Finnish schools and educators get a significant amount of autonomy and responsibility to make decisions at the local level. Teachers themselves are responsible for the assessment of their respective subjects, and there are no mandatory national standardized tests for pupils in basic education.
Finland’s education system is flexible, and children are not expected to make binding decisions at an early age. The children begin school later, spend less time in the classroom, and have less homework than many other countries, but still have excellent results. It can be seen in consistent, high rankings in independent international studies.
Almost 90 percent of Finnish people between the ages of 25 and 64 hold at least an upper secondary education certificate, while more than 40 percent hold higher education degrees. More than 90 percent of the age group begin general or vocational upper secondary studies immediately after basic education. Vocational education and training have been steadily growing in popularity.
Learning does not end with graduation. Lifelong learning, adult education is an important part of the Finnish education system and a natural part of working life. Informal education is also encouraged, particularly through libraries that are free for all.
Education plays a critical role in Finnish society.
- All education is free of charge for Finnish and EU citizens from preschool to vocational colleges and universities.
- Finnish teachers must hold a master’s degree in education, or in their specific field.
- There are no mandatory national standardized tests for pupils in basic education.
- Lifelong learning, adult education is an important part of the Finnish education system.