2016 Education System

photo: Kreetta Järvenpää

Education system in Finland

Education is one of the cornerstones of the Finnish welfare society. We pride ourselves on an educational system that offers equal opportunities of education for all, irrespective of matters of residency, sex, economic situation or linguistic and cultural background.

The Finnish Education system consists of the following:

  • Early childhood education and care (ECEC) (voluntary)
  • Pre-primary education (1 year, compulsory)
  • Basic education (9 years, compulsory)
  • Upper secondary education, vocational and/or general education (3-4 years)
  • Higher education in universities and universities of applied sciences (UAS)

Detailed information on the education system in Finland can be found on the Ministry of Education and Culture website, or on the Finnish National Agency for Education pages - see links in the right-hand margin.

For a listing of the higher education institutions in Finland, see section 'Where to study' of this site.

Study in Finland provides advice for higher education applicants

On this Study in Finland site, you will find information on how to apply to higher education in Finland.

If you are interested in upper secondary education, or vocational education, please refer to the Studyinfo.fi site for information and guidance. Information on basic education and advice for children can be found on the www.infopankki.fi site, or on the website of the Finnish town/municipality your family will be living in.

As a bilingual country, the language of teaching is usually Finnish or Swedish. However, the higher education institutions also provide lots of programmes in English. To learn more, please get familiar with the different sections of this website.

Services for school education experts

If you’re an expert in the field of school education, you might also be interested in these services:

Educational authorities in Finland

  • Ministry of Education and Culture is responsible for developing educational, scientific, cultural, sporting and youth policies, with the addition of international cooperation in these fields.
  • Finnish National Agency for Education is an agency under the Ministry of Education tasked with the implementation, monitoring and overseeing of the development in the educational sector.
  • The Finnish Education Evaluation Centre (FINEEC) is an independent government agency responsible for the national evaluation of education. The evaluations of FINEEC cover the education system in its entirety, from early childhood education to higher education.
  • Finnish ENIC/NARIC (European Network of National Information Centres on Academic Recognition and mobility / Network of National Academic Recognition Information Centres).
  • The Academy of Finland is the primary funding agency for research done in Finland.