Revered as the best education system in the world, Finland has meticulously curated an apparatus for academia and learning that is at par from 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. Through this blog, let’s explore what makes Finland’s education system unique as well as how it is designed.
This Blog Includes:
- Why Finland has the best education system in the world?
- How Does Finland’s Education System Work?
- Top Universities To Study in Finland
Why Finland has the best education system in the world?
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. Let’s look at some of the core features of the Finland education system that make it a unique one:
- 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.
- Implementation of a holistic teaching and learning environment that aims to emphasise equity over excellence.
- Absence of any 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.
- Children beginning 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.
- 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.
- Exemption from the Artificial Parameters of Academic Progress by removing any kind of competition between academic institutions but rather cooperation is made the norm.
- 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.
How Does Finland’s Education System Work?
A beautiful country having magnificent architecture, distinct and historic culture, and a fascinating way of life, the citizens of Finland take pride in their education system which offers equal opportunities to all. Let’s take a look at the structure of the Finland Education System:
- Early Childhood Education and Care (Provided to the students before the beginning of the compulsory education)
- Pre-Primary Education (1-year duration for 6-year olds)
- Basic Education (Compulsory 9-year education for children aged 7-16))
- Upper Secondary Education (Vocational Education and Training / General Upper Secondary Education)
- Higher Education (Education offered by Universities / Universities of Applied Sciences)
- 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.
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.
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 the society as well as imparting them with the essential knowledge and skills needed in life. Further, all the schools providing basic education follow a national core curriculum which constitutes of 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 degree in the 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 degree.
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.
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 labour policy education. Adult education is provided by educational institutions mainly for working professionals, private companies, and workplaces.
Also Read: Japan 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. 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:
- University of Helsinki
- Åbo Akademi University
- University of Turku
- University of Jyväskylä
- University of Oulu
- University of Vaasa
- University of Lapland
- University of Eastern Finland
- Aalto University
- Tampere University
- Hanken School of Economics
- University of the Arts Helsinki
- National Defence University
- Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology LUT
Also Read: USA Education System
Thus, the Finland education system strives to emphasises upon 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.