Finland Education System

Finland Education System

Revered as the best education system in the world, Finland has meticulously curated an apparatus for academia and learning that is at par with almost all countries around the globe. Bordering Sweden, Norway, and Russia by land and Estonia by sea, the country is home to a unique mix of modern and natural with its clean and sophisticated towns blossoming with coniferous forests in the countryside. Emerging as an intellectual in the domain of education, the Finnish education system is meant to have cracked the code of imparting quality education and following the motto of eternal learning. Have you ever thought about why Finland has the best education system in the world? Through this blog, let’s explore what makes Finland education system unique as well as how it is designed. 

Country  Finland 
Primary languages Finnish, Swedish, and Eglish 
Minister of Education Jussi Saramo
Minister of Science and Culture Annika Saarikko
National education budget (2018) € 11.9 billion
Population (2018) 5.53 million
Literacy rate (2018) 99%
Top Ranking University in Finland  University of Helsinki 

Click here to download Finland Education System PDF!

Finland Education Ranking

Finland is, no doubt, one of the best countries to study. So, let’s check out some of the rankings that the country has received:

  • Finland is the 8th most educated country in the world
  • In Education ranking by Countries in 2021, Finland has a total score of 1.631K ranking at 3rd position
  • Finland has the highest ranking in High School Completion Rate
  • World Economic Forum’s Global Competitive study ranks Finland as having the most well-developed education in the world
Courtesy: After School TV

Now being admired as the best of them all, the Finnish education system wasn’t always like this. If we go back in time, it happened almost 50 years ago when the Finnish government examined the education system and added better, progressive though untested reforms that would prove to be imperative in the future years. That’s when the whole structure was redeveloped going from the basic early education stage to higher education level, it got recreated with the motto to equip students with incremental life skills.

Finland Education System

Top 10 Reasons Why Finland Has Best Education System

Here are the top 10 reasons why Finland has the best education system in the world:

  1. Free Education Access (from Pre-Primary to Higher) to Finnish Citizens as well as to those coming from EU/EEA countries because education is considered as an equal right for everyone.
  2. Implementation of a holistic teaching and learning environment that aims to emphasise equity over excellence.
  3. No standardized testing system as students are graded individually with a grading system created by their teacher. Also, overall progress is mapped by the Ministry of Education by sampling groups of varied ranges of schools.
  4. Finnish children begin their academic journey at an older age, i.e. only when they turn seven years old they commence their schooling and before that learning is made free-flowing.
  5. The “bar is higher for teachers”, i.e. only master’s degree holders (from specialised teaching schools) can opt for teaching positions and even then an individual principal is allotted to every teacher to keep a tab on their progress.
  6. Exemption from the Artificial Parameters of Academic Progress by removing any kind of competition between academic institutions but rather cooperation is made the norm.
  7. Better Alternatives to the Same-Old Degree as those planning for a college education can choose from professional options, be it vocational schools, university education or training classes.
  8. Focuses on fostering cooperation over competition in schools by inculcating the skills of teamwork, collaboration and team spirit in students.
  9. Emphasis on foundational basics is an important reason why Finland has the best education system in the world because students are provided with the time and scope to build the best foundation and basics at their own pace.
  10. Only 9 years of compulsory education is there in Finland education system and after that students are encouraged to find out what’s best for them academically and career-wise.

Explore New Zealand Education System!

Finland Education System

Finland Education System Facts

Want to know why Finland has the best education system in the world? Well, here are the top characteristics of Finland Education System:

  1. The minimum age of starting elementary education in Finland is 7 years thus Finnish kids get to enjoy their childhood and kickstart their learning with their families rather than spending excessive time in schools.
  2. Finnish teachers formulate their own grading systems for the students rather than relying on class exams and standardised tests.
  3. The only mandatory test that Finnish students give is at the age of 16.
  4. Finnish teachers only spend around 4 hours every day teaching in the classroom while they devote 2 hours every week for professional development.
  5. The school system in Finland is wholly 100% state-funded.
  6. The graduates from the top 10 percentile can only apply to become a Teacher in Finland.
  7. Every teacher in Finland is a master’s degree holder which is completely subsidized by the country’s government.
  8. On average, the starting salary of a teacher in Finland is somewhere around $29,000.
  9. Teachers are considered equivalent in status to doctors and lawyers in Finland.
  10. In 2018, the literacy rate in Finland was 99.0%.
  11. Finnish students spend only 20 hours a week at school.
  12. Every student in Finland can speak 2-3 languages.
  13. No competitions between Finnish schools since every academic institution has the same facilities as any other.
  14. Students get to learn new things in schools from baking and industrial works to music and poetry.
  15. For every 45 minutes of learning in schools, Finnish students get to spend every 15 minutes for playing or leisure activities.
  16. Finnish students receive free healthy meals from their schools.
  17. Every Finnish student is provided special services that fit their special needs and requirements.
  18. The Finland education system also fosters the teacher-student relationship as every student gets the same teacher for up to 6 years in their school.
  19. The students get very less homework and almost finish up everything they get during the school hours only.
  20. The Finnish schools have mixed ability classes to nurture diverse interests and hobbies.

Click here to know all about Studying in Finland!

Why Finland has the best education system in the world

Finland Education Policy

Finland Education Policy
Courtesy: CCE Finland

The uniquely created Finland Education Policy is one of the key reasons why Finland has the best education system in the world. Here are the important features of Finland Education Policy:

  • The main aim of the Finland Education policy is to ensure that every citizen has equal educational opportunities to avail.
  • The most important focus of the education policy is emphasised on quality, efficiency, equity and internationalization.
  • It is founded on the principles of ‘Lifelong Learning’ and ‘Free Education’.
  • Finnish teachers are provided with the autonomy they need but they are fully trained and shortlisted only with higher qualifications which is usually a master’s degree.
  • Teachers are also intensively involved in creating the best curricula as well as learning plans for students.
  • Finland education system fosters an environment of trust between educators as well as the community.
  • Students are motivated to work on collaborative projects more especially through interdisciplinary projects and specialisations.

Schooling in Finlan

Finland Education System
Courtesy: New Nordic School

Finland Education System

The Finnish Education System contains nine years of compulsory basic education, early education and care, pre-primary education, upper secondary education, higher education, and finally adult education. The description of all these levels has been given below.

  1. Early Childhood Education and Care (Provided to the students before the beginning of the compulsory education)
  2. Pre-Primary Education (1-year duration for 6-year olds)
  3. Basic Education (Compulsory 9-year education for children aged 7-16))
  4. Upper Secondary Education (Vocational Education and Training / General Upper Secondary Education)
  5. Higher Education (Education offered by Universities / Universities of Applied Sciences)
  6. Adult Education

Now, let’s explore these levels of education in further detail:

Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC)

This level of education aims to support the development, learning and wellbeing of a child while giving them plentiful learning opportunities. Local Authorities and Municipalities are tasked with the responsibility of regulating the mechanism of Early Children Education and Care. In this level of the Finland Education System, only municipal daycare cover is charged which mainly relies on family income as well as the number of children. Taking approval of the Finnish National Agency for Education, the National Curriculum Guidelines (NCG) is designed for ECEC level and also constitutes of open early childhood education activities which are conducted by municipalities for kids and their families.

Pre-Primary Education

Playing a vital role in the continuum expanding from ECEC, this stage aims to enhance the children’s opportunities for learning and development. For the children in the country, participation in pre-primary education has been made compulsory, since 2015. Also, another significant feature of the Finland education system under the stage of Pre-primary education is that the guardian of the kid must ensure their participation in different types of activities at this level. With the approval of the Finnish National Agency for Education, the National Core Curriculum for Pre-Primary Education guides the planning and implementation of the contents of Pre-Education.

Basic Education 

In the Finland Education System, Comprehensive Schooling or Basic Education is where the compulsory education of 9 years begins for all the children aged between 7 and 16. It strives to support the student’s growth towards becoming an ethically responsible member of society as well as imparting them the essential knowledge and skills needed in life. Further, all the schools providing basic education follow a national core curriculum which constitutes the objectives and core fundamentals of varied subjects, and the local authorities, such as municipalities and other education providers, maintain the Comprehensive Schools and often create their own curricula as part of the national framework.

Upper Secondary Education

At the completion of the basic education stage of Finland education system, students are given the choice between pursuing general and vocational education. General Education usually takes three years to complete and does not qualify students for pursuing any particular profession or occupation. After completing the General Upper Secondary Education, the students have to take the Finnish matriculation examination to be eligible for various educational universities or universities of applied sciences for bachelor’s degrees. 

The other route which students of Finland can choose is Vocational Upper Secondary Education and Training in which students are provided basic skills required in their chosen field by allotting them to workplaces through an apprenticeship agreement or a training agreement. The institution facilitating the program curates a personal capability development plan for its students, drafting the content, schedule, and schemes of study. After concluding this level, the students are eligible to opt for further studies at universities or universities of applied sciences to enter the higher education stage in Finland education system.

Higher Education (Universities/Universities of Applied Sciences)

Under the higher level of Finland Education system, the academic institutions are bifurcated into regular universities and Universities of Applied Sciences. There are various postgraduate degrees as well in higher scientific and artistic education, i.e. licentiate and doctoral degrees. The time duration to complete a bachelor’s degree in regular universities is 3 years and the master’s program is of 2 years. Whereas, the students who pursue their higher education in Universities of Applied Sciences in Finland, are awarded UAS Bachelor’s and UAS Master’s degrees. 

In Finland education system, the degrees offered by the Universities of Applied Sciences usually take between 3.5 and 4.5 years to get completed. Those students who want to pursue UAS Master’s program in these universities must have completed their bachelor’s degree or any other suitable degree along with having 3 years of relevant work experience in their field.

Must Read: Finland Student Visa

Adult Education

The adult education and training in Finland Education System is added to provide education leading to a qualification, degree studies, apprenticeship training, further and continuing education updating and extending the professional skills, studies in different crafts and subjects on a recreational basis, and much more. For this stage of education, the training is either paid by the student or the employer facilitating apprenticeship training, staff development, or labor policy education. Adult education is provided by educational institutions mainly for working professionals, private companies, and workplaces.

Also Read: Japan Education System

Finland Education System

Top Universities To Study in Finland

In Finland education system at the higher stage, there are two types of universities, i.e. regular universities and Universities of Applied Sciences. Free education is availed for students coming from the European Union/European Economic Area countries and Switzerland. For those from Non-EU/EEA countries, the tuition fee is applied for enrollments in English-taught degrees. Given below is the list of leading universities in Finland that you must consider while exploring study programs here:

Free Education in Finland

Finland does not just boast quality education but also offers free education for many students. The public universities in Finland are divided into regular universities and universities for applied sciences. These universities have no tuition fees for students coming from EU/EEA countries and Switzerland. Although Non-EU/EEA country students have to pay the tuition fees, programs taught in Finnish or Swedish are free for international students as well. 

Finland Education System

Finland Education System PPT

Courtesy: OLETark


Is Finland have the best education system in the world?

Finland ranks third in the Education Ranking by Countries in 2021, with a total score of 1.631K. Finland has the highest rate of high school completion in the world. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report, Finland has the best-developed education system in the world.

Is Finland Number 1 for education?

Finland has been named one of the world’s happiest and most prosperous countries, and The Economist just named it the best country in the world for higher education.

How many hours a day do Finland students go to school?

In Finland, for example, students spend just around 5 hours per day in school and have little homework outside of school. Students in many Asian countries, however, attend school for longer days, and many attend private “cram schools” for hours each day outside of official school hours.

Is education free in Finland?

Regular universities and universities of applied sciences are the two types of public institutions in Finland. They are all tuition-free for students from the EU/EEA and Switzerland. Non-EU/EEA students enrolled in English-taught degrees must pay tuition.

Do Finland Schools give homework to students?

The fact is that in a country with one of the best education systems in the world, there is hardly any homework. Finnish people think that, aside from homework, there are several other factors that might improve a child’s academic achievement, such as eating supper with their family, exercising, or getting a good night’s sleep.

Thus, the Finland education system strives to emphasizes equal educational opportunities imparting every pupil with the essential life skills and core knowledge of basic disciplines while giving them the necessary liberty at the latter stages to experiment, explore and follow their callings. If you are intending to study in Finland but are confused about how to go about it, let our Leverage Edu experts guide you in finding a suitable program and university as well as kickstarting the application process in a timely manner so that you get to embrace an incredible experience in the intellectual land of opportunities.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

10,000+ students realised their study abroad dream with us. Take the first step today.
Talk to an expert for FREE

You May Also Like