Finns are proud of their education system. All education is free of charge for Finnish and EU citizens from preschool to vocational colleges and universities. The idea is to ensure equal opportunities for everyone, regardless of their background. Education plays a critical role in Finnish society. It promotes civic responsibility, sustainability and the acquisition of valuable, life-enhancing skills.
The current education system in Finland is the result of generations of work and investment. For over a century school attendance has been mandatory for everyone. Schools have a great deal of autonomy and teachers are highly educated and valued in society. The entire learning environment is important. For example, free school meals have been offered since the 1940s.
Today the world is evolving and so is education. The modern Finnish education system strives to provide people with skills and know-how for the new knowledge-based economy. It includes lifelong learning, adult education and new partnerships, such as international research collaboration between tertiary education and industry.
Informal education is also encouraged, particularly through libraries. Today every municipality is required by law to provide library services while major research libraries are open to everyone. The information provided by libraries is considered part of society’s intellectual capital, which is why basic services are free.
Finnish children begin school later, spend less time in the classroom and have less homework than kids in many countries, but still have excellent outcomes. The result is that Finland has one of the highest-quality education systems in the world, as shown by consistently high rankings in independent international studies.
Education plays a critical role in Finnish society.