Talk:Education in Finland

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Secondary education and the general structure of the article[edit]

The secondary education system part needs quite a lot of work. I'll try to fix it, but I need some time to get the appropriate references. There are some quite important concepts in Finnish education system such as 'yleissivistys', which is quite difficult to translate into english. And there are some details, that are difficult to explain cleearly to a foreigner.

I made the decision to separate primary and secondary education. I hope it's okay. I also boldly removed some stuff, but I intend rework most of it back to article. Masahiko (talk) 23:22, 11 May 2010 (UTC)

The text itself[edit]

I just spent a while editing the article for Finnicisms, missing/redundant prepositions, tweaking some of the links and rewording some passages. It's far from complete, however. ;) I suspect some prepositions are still missing and that there are other textual concerns I've skimmed past. One matter I would like to discuss is the - IMO - overuse of the word "however". Is it just me? Teejaykay 10:22, 30 July 2007 (UTC)

Polytechnic->University of Applied Sciences Title change[edit]

Following finnish ARENE's (national board of ammattikorkeakoulu-rectors) outline recommendation dated December 2005, as of January 1st 2006 the whole Finnish Ammattikorkeakoulu -regime unified their international names from several different versions to new "University of Applied Sciences".

This follows eg. german Fachhochschules (similar to which, the Bologna Process has enabled Masters degree -programmes in addition to Bachelors - in Finland the process has been a bit slower though), which already used this name in their international operations. * Ras 00:21, 20 January 2006 (UTC)

ref: Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences, Powerpoint presentation

The ARENE does not have the standing to make this change and has been publicly rebuked by the Minister of Education Antti Kalliomäki. The Ministry of Education still urges on using word polytechnic and most Finnish polytechnics have complied. (See Helsinki polytechnic Stadia. I reverted this back to use word polytechnic.--MPorciusCato 22:13, 22 May 2006 (UTC)

Old problem[edit]

The problem below was that the article was a carbon copy of a text about the Swedish system. It no longer is.

"An insinööri (amk) (3 y) knows how to weld, but many employers do not place them in leading positions. A diplomi-insinööri (5+ y) may not know welding, but he can be promoted." This and a couple of other parts could do with a little more explanation: is an insinööri an engineer? Is a diplomi a diploma or a degree? Also "primary schooling" usually lasts until age 10, not 16. Is this the usual translation of the Finnish word? And can anyone add anything about the LUMA programme or more about the PISA study results here? Saintswithin 22:14, 10 Dec 2004 (UTC)

The insinööri/diplomi-insinööri difference is the best example for demonstrating how the university degrees are not interchangeable to vocational degrees. The insinööris I've met tend to have a tenous grasp of the theoretical background of their work, whereas I as a DI student usually couldn't make a single weld. It's true that the name "diplomi-insinööri" is confusing, because it suggests that these degrees are in different levels in the same system. They're not. There's something at diplomi-insinööri, for now.
The English terms used usually vary wildly, because the Finnish system doesn't divide into "primary", "lower secondary", and "upper secondary" schools like the English system. Rather, the terms I've used are contrasted primary — secondary — tertiary, corresponding to the Finnish expressions "first, second, and third-level education". Primary school is such which is mandatory to all and pupils go to their local schools, right? And secondary education is chosen by the student, right? This makes these terms appropriate, even if the timesharing doesn't correspond one-to-one with the English system. --Vuo 14:32, 1 Feb 2005 (UTC)

The article could also do with information about the education system in Finland is funded -- are university places publically funded, based on student loans, etc. etc. Rls 16:48, 2005 Jan 29 (UTC)

English terms?[edit]

The official terms used by the Finnish Ministry of Education for peruskoulu and lukio are 'comprehensive school' and 'upper secondary school' respectively. At the moment, there is no official division between the first and second stages of comprehensive school - 'yläaste' and 'ala-aste' as they used to be called - and instead the whole of the nine-year basic compulsory education carries the term 'comprehensive school' (or peruskoulu). The practice with these terms in this article, however, is something completely different, and potentially misleading... - ulayiti 22:20, 6 Jun 2005 (UTC)

- I think the terms should be changed to match with terms used in Virtual Finland website is produced by Ministery of Foreign Affairs as it shown at bottom of the page. I think this mismatch with terms might be misleading (as stated by Ulayiti) and cause some misunderstandings.

- The term used here, "University of Applied Science" is as far as I know, not currently accepted in general use as an english translation for AMK, but a term proposed by staff of the polytechnics. Use of this term is opposed by most universities, who have criticized the proposition for being an attempt to gain higher status using a name easily mistaken for an actual university. The translation used this far has been "polytechnic".

Finnish National Board of Education: "The Finnish education system comprises two parallel sectors: universities and polytechnics. Universities are characterised by scientific research and the highest education based thereon. Polytechnics are oriented towards working life and base their operations on the high vocational skill requirements set by it."

I checked the site of the ministry of education and the few of the largest polytechnics - none of these either use the UoAS translation suggested, so I changed all references to "University of Applied Science" to "polytechnic" and added note, that such an change of name has been suggested. If the suggestion at later time becomes accepted we should of course then switch to that name. 20:58, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

- Double checked this thing... some polytechnics actually have switched to this name already. I'm reverting that edit I did. 21:39, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

They have, but the official name is still the polytechnic, which has been authorized by the Ministry of Education. I made a revert back to polytechnic.--MPorciusCato 22:13, 22 May 2006 (UTC)

Template:Education infobox[edit]

I created a template, Template:Education infobox which can give a quick at a glance demographics table for education articles. See its implementation at Education in the United States and feel free to help improve the template.--naryathegreat | (talk) 01:00, August 7, 2005 (UTC)

Free school dinners[edit]

I think you guys should mention the fact that Finnish government provides free school dinner for all pupils in Finland........

No, it doesn't. The Finnish government provides dinners only for soldiers, prisoners and other full-time dependants of the state of Finland. --Vuo 20:45, 11 September 2006 (UTC)
WELL, at least you should mention the fact that there ARE FREE school dinners in FINland!!!!
Unfortunately regular municipal schools don't serve dinners, but lunches. I'm uncertain about the situation in boarding school -type institutions. --Vuo 14:04, 12 September 2006 (UTC)
There are very few boarding school -type institutions on secondary and primary levels. Theoretically, if the pupil in comprehensive school has the nearest school so far away from his/her home that the journey takes more than two hours in a direction, the municipality (or other school organizer) is required to organize a dormitory for the school. In such a dormitory, the pupil has the right for free board. In practice, there are no such institutions at the present AFAIK. This meal should cover one third of the daily need for nutrients. In some vocational schools giving education in acriculture and forestry, the students have a right to free board in their dormitories, as these schools are usually located somewhat distant from population centers. (This is stated in the law on vocational education by referring to earlier legislation, making the actual meaning of the law a little unclear.) However, all students in secondary education and all comprehensive school pupils have a right for a free daily school meal (usually served at lunch time). --MPorciusCato 07:28, 22 September 2006 (UTC)
  • In British English school dinner often means school lunch, I think it's fairly safe assume that this is what the first writer meant. I feel this would be relevant to add in the article. Also the above bit about boarding schools (or lack of them), with the dinner bits stripped out would suit the article, non?--Lauranen 23:05, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
It's already in the article. In the introduction. --Vuo 07:42, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
So it is, my apologies. Nothing about boarding though. --Lauranen 08:28, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

Student place cut[edit]


With Milena I am about to complete a Wikipedia article translation from English (this article) to French.

I would like to submit a question about a new student places cut, that is mentioned at the end of the introduction section and that is qualified as a recent application. The target excerpt is reproduced as follows:

During recent few years a cut in the number of new student places has been often called for by the economic life, and trade- and student unions. As a step to the right direction, the Ministry of Education has recently issued a nationwide cut of 10% to new student places in ammattikorkeakoulus to be applied starting from 2007 and 2008.

From my point of view, this fact seems to lay at the opposite of the Finnish (apparent) tendancy to help along the students on pursuing for upper level education. This tendancy is however illustrated through the two preceding sentences in the same section, as quoted:

Co-operation between the different systems is rising and some integration will occur (not without substantial amount of pressure). This accounts to not only the Bologna Process but a noble goal of Finnish politicians — to educate the vast majority of Finns to a higher degree

According to me, it would have been more coherent to read that the Finnish politicians want to promote higher education for more students and, consequently, that a raise of student places would be soon decided. Assuming that the mentioned informations are checkable — and I trust the author Makkon ;-) , thanks to him/her —, I would like to get some opinion on this facts' confrontation (and apparently opposition — even contradiction?). I would additionally get some references about the cut, not to take off some doubt — as I mentioned above, I am convinced that the author put true facts — but to prevent possibly future questions on the French side of the article.

Maybe some explanation escapes from my mind. Maybe I miss some information to clarify this point. The documentation I found on the official website of the Finnish Ministry of Education all seems to confirm the idea that on the one hand, following the Bologna process, gateways are going to multiply between universities and polytechnics, and on the other hand new student places would be increased for Finnish students as much as for foreign students.

Thanks for your attention. With regards --nha, from Lyon, France. 15:36, 14 November 2006 (UTC)

The explanation is that more of the current work force is retiring yearly (big generations from after-WW2) than new age groups are coming to ages 19-21. If the current amount of student places would be kept unchanged to, say 2020 such places as e.g. Eastern Finland would have places for 103% of the 19-21 year olds in the area. So a 10% cut from ammattikorkeakoulus in Eastern Finland will never return, but rapidly growing Southern Finland (especially Helsinki) could get it's 10%-cut just redistributed, because the need there is growing. The previous objective of 70% of new age groups to be educated in higher education is expected to result in 50% of those actually getting a degree in coming years. So there will be very many possibilities to choose from even if this cut is not redistributed in full --Ras 22:19, 14 November 2006 (UTC) (aka Makkon)
Ras, I thank you a lot for the promptness and the accuracy of your answer. The unsteadiness of the work market is also a well-known issue in France where the basic workforce misses candidates because of the relative low number of students and graduates in these fields. Maybe the Finnish government measure to cut and redistribute student places will be adopted by foreign politicians in a few years. ;-) --nha, from Lyon, France. 01:07, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

Adult education[edit]


In the Adult education section, the following excerpt looks a little ambiguous to my point of view while achieving some translation for the French side of Wikipedia:

It is possible to obtain the matriculation diploma, or even better the primary school grades in these programs.

According to the context, the mentioned programs seem to refer to vocational and grammar school ones. The excerpt itself does not cause any word-based translation difficulty. The global sense of the information sounds lightly odd in the sense that a diploma (the matriculation one) is opposed to any grade (primary school ones). I would like to know which of the following interpretation may conveniently match the author's one — Vuo if I guess from this article's history entry and whose information I do not call into question: ;-)

  • Adult education may represent an opportunity to obtain the matriculation diploma; it also provides primary school teaching for graduating at this level (i.e. a kind of primary school end cycle diploma).
  • Two ways exist for adults to go on further studies at a university level: obtaining the matriculation diploma or obtaining primary school-level grades that are over some threshold for university entrance (the refered threshold may vary according to the intended university).
  • Another interpretation that I miss. :-)

Thanks for any piece of information. With regards --nha, from Lyon, France. 12:01, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

The primary school is a bad translation of Finnish peruskoulu, "comprehensive school", which lasts until the age of 16. In the programs discussed here, it is possible for those who have bad grades from the comprehensive school to better them. This might give them access to the secondary school programs they wish to attend. For older people who have only the kansakoulu, the "people's school" diploma which does not qualify them for studies in secondary education, the completion of comprehensive school is required prior attending the secondary high school, lukio. In the three-year lukio, the student gains the qualification for tertiary studies, i.e. for universities and polytechnics. The same formal qualification is also obtained in vocational school, which also requires the completion of comprehensive school or a kansakoulu diploma. --MPorciusCato 15:57, 15 November 2006 (UTC)
The concept of "adult education" in this sense refers to adults obtaining "youth education", since by definition, all tertiary education is adult education. Institutions discriminate between applicants based on the grades from the primary school or the secondary school. Because of this, bad grades or no diploma may be major stumbling blocks for enrolling to further education. As mentioned by MPorciusCato, the current system is relatively new, from the 1970's, and a substatial population has an old diploma. Another, different goal is pursued by the adult vocational schools. They are like youth vocational schools: a new trade can be learnt, or existing skills practiced. To mention something specifically, the CE driving license (professional truck driver) and the hot work license. The government recognizes the structural change of the economy and provides special programs for those who are unlikely to be re-employed, such as whose trade has been obsoleted. [1] [2] --Vuo 17:04, 15 November 2006 (UTC)
I thank you both, MPorciusCato and Vuo, for your quick answer, precision and references. I also greatly appreciate MPorciusCato's contribution to clarify this point directly in the concerned section of the article; the translation operation will soon take this change into account. What is qualified of "adult education" seems — as Vuo emphasized it — to be more oriented to low- or not-graduated people, who are currently employee or unemployed. Maybe lifelong training could be notified in this section, although it is a more common (i.e. spread) way of adult education than the recent Finnish measure to direct adults-in-need's vocational programs. --nha, from Lyon, France. 23:20, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

"Working life -oriented"[edit]

The phrase "working life -oriented" appears to be a sveticism, i.e. it is not English. It's also unclear. Several academic degrees are clearly work-oriented, but the difference is that they are taught from an academic point of view. Polytechnics are characterized by their focus on practical skills, something that can be (unfortunately) lacking in a university. --Vuo 12:50, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

Your corrections were good. The distinction between the two forms of tertiary education are extremely hard to describe for international audience. The task is further complicated by the fact that both the people from universities and the polytechnics people have very strong views on this. Formulation that satisfies both parties is very hard to reach. --MPorciusCato 20:17, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

Fair use rationale for Image:Finedulogo.gif[edit]

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BetacommandBot (talk) 20:51, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

"United Management Institutes"[edit]

Adlanparsa has created an article about a private entity called United Management Institutes and added information about it into this article. In my opinion, this is self-advertisement, not good-faith editing. The United Management Institutes is a small organization, which has generated absolutely no public discussion or cultural impact yet. (No outside sources at all on the net.) At the moment, the "UMI" does not constitute any part of Finnish education system, and as such, it is not notable. In addition, Adlanparsa's edit about the Finnish constitutional law protecting the right to found a private institute of higher education is rather unfounded. I cannot find any support for it.

Most importantly, it must be noted that any degrees granted by such organization would not be recognized by Finnish authorities. It is even doubtful whether study at such "institute" would be a valid ground for visa (for non-Schengen students). For the study at the "institute", which does not even name any of its teachers, the students need to pay a yearly tuition of almost 27 000 euros. Therefore, the whole organization stinks rather fraudulent. Considering the financial stakes involved, I think that Adlanparsa's edits are not made in an effort to improve this article but to self-advertise. --MPorciusCato (talk) 12:35, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

Teacher training?[edit]

This article has no mention of the quality of the teachers in Finland. If they are so essential to the success of the system, could somebody write a section on what sort of training teachers undergo there? How many years do they spend specifically training to be teachers? What sorts of things do they learn; is there, for instance, a huge emphasis on child psychology, or subject knowledge or what? There is a very informative article over on the BBC today which says that all Finnish students need a masters, but it does not tell us anything more about teacher training. Can anybody improve this article accordingly? Thanks. (talk) 18:30, 8 April 2010 (UTC)

Diplomi-insinööri in swedish[edit]

I am not sure but in my opinion diplomi-insinööri in swedish is civilingenjör rather than diplomingenjör. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:20, 22 August 2010 (UTC)

Misleading data on unemployment[edit]

The "Future prospects" section stated: In 2001 and 2002, university graduates had a 3.7% unemployment rate, and polytechnic graduates had 8%, which is on a par with the general unemployment rate (see the OECD report). This could give the misleading impression that polytechnic graduates were no more successful than people without a tertiary qualification, whereas those people would have higher than average unemployment to offset the lower than average level of unemployment among university graduates. If the original reference could be found then a more accurate impression would be given by quoting the rate of unemployment for the third group. Recent Runes (talk) 23:09, 19 November 2010 (UTC)

In Finland, it's diplomingenjör, while in Sweden it's civilingenjör.--Victor Chmara (talk) 13:55, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

Tetriary eduaction[edit]

Loads of inaccuracies in this text!!

For example, physicians  are university graduates, whereas basic nurses are polytechnic graduates. (However, universities do award advanced degrees in Nursing Science.) 

There is no such title as basic nurse. The correct title here would be registered nurse.

The vocational schools and polytechnics are governed by municipalities, or, in special cases, by private entities. (As an exception to the rule, Police College is governed by the Ministry of the Interior.) All Finnish universities, on the other hand, are owned by the state. A bachelor's degree takes about three–four years. Depending on the programme, this may be the point of graduation, but it is usually only an intermediate step towards the master's degree.

A polytechnic degree, on the other hand, takes about 3.5–4.5 years. A degree from a polytechnic is not, however, considered legally equivalent to a lower university degree in the Finnish system. O

INCORRECT. Legally, polytechnic degrees are legally equivalent to university bachelor degrees and they confer eligibility to public post and positions where the requirement is a higer education degree ie. korkeakoulututkinto(most posts in both municipal and governmental institutions). Polytechnic degrees are also placed on level six with university bachelor degrees on the national qualifications framework ( (

Polytechnic-graduated Bachelors are able to continue their studies by applying to Master's degree programmes in universities. These take two years in general, but the polytechnic graduates are often required to undertake perhaps a year's worth of additional studies to bring them up to the level of university graduates. The Bologna process has progressively lowered the amount of required additional studies and in some cases no additional studies are required. After polytechnic graduates have completed three year's work experience in their field, they are also qualified to apply for polytechnic master's degree-programmes (lower university degree graduates are qualified also, but with additional studies) which are work-oriented — not academic. The polytechnic Master's degree programme takes two years and can be undertaken in conjunction with regular work. Unlike the bachelor's, a master's degree graduate from a polytechnic is considered equivalent to an academic master's graduate in a related field. After the master's, the remaining degrees (Licentiate and Doctor) are available only in universities. The polytechnic master's degree does not qualify its recipient for graduate studies at doctoral level. [citation needed]-->

INCORRECT! Polytrechnic master's degree qualifies the holder of this qualification to pursue doctorate studies. (finnish national board of education) Another question is whether or not the university will accept these students but from a legal point of view, there is no question about it. (

Attendance is compulsory in primary, but voluntary in universities and polytechnics. No tuition fees are collected. However, there are plans (in the current government platform) to introduce tuition fees to students from outside the European Union/EEA. --> already on-going as a trial for 2010-2014 after which there will be an evaluation of the process. See:

A third branch of adult education is formed by the so called vapaa sivistystyö, the "Free Education". --> the correct term for this is liberal adult education; see — Preceding unsigned comment added by Pamsavo (talkcontribs) 12:26, 27 December 2010 (UTC)


I just read an article on the web, "Twenty- five Years of Educational Reform Initiatives in Finland" by Ari Antikainen & Anne Luukkainen of the Department of Sociology, University of Joensuu, Finland. The authors maintain that that Finland now has a comprehensive system of education with no tracking from aged seven to sixteen. However, the current Wikipedia entry maintains erroneously that in Finland: "education after primary school is divided into vocational and academic tracks".

Antikainen and Luukainen say nothing about vocational and academic tracks, on the contrary they maintain that the Finnish government views equal education for all (no tracking, no different levels for vocational and academic education) is an essential component for building a truly democratic and egalitarian society. They further state that Finland was very careful to implement this revolutionary change gradually and in stages, with a view to winning the full cooperation and trust of parents, teachers, and the citizenry. If it is true that in Finland there is no tracking until age 16, then this is a very important element in Finland's remarkable record of world-wide educational success. I hope this will be cleared up and that wikipedia's readers will have access to accurate information on this critically important issue. Therefore, I am going to change the article when I have a moment. If I am wrong I invite properly sourced and documented corrections.

The Nordic strategy for building up high quality and equality in education has been based on constructing a publicly

funded comprehensive school system without selecting, tracking, or streaming students during their basic education until the age of 16. Part of the strategy is to spread the school network so that pupils have a school near their homes whenever possible or if this is not feasible, e.g. in rural areas, to provide free transportation to more widely dispersed schools. Inclusion of special education and instructional efforts to minimize low achievement are also typical to

Nordic educational systems. (Lie, Linnakylä & Roe, 2003, 8.)

Up until the 1970s, compulsory education was provided in the seven-year civic school. After four

years of civic school, a part of each age group moved up to the secondary school (grammar school), which was divided into the five-year lower secondary school and the three-year upper secondary school . . . Thus the school system operated by the parallel school principle and divided the people into three unequal groups. This system was considered inadequate in an industrializing and democratizing society both from the social and pedagogical perspectives. ... The simultaneous emphasis on social equity and economic growth had solid grounding in

Keynesian economic doctrine and was backed up by economic and social theories. (talk) 16:05, 1 June 2011 (UTC)

On editing, I see that the problem is the use of 'primary" school for "comprehensive'" school. I made the change and also tried to clarify that 'secondary school" is like American high school, but begins later and is not compulsory. I am not happy with the terms primary, secondary, and tertiary, but don't know as yet how to replace them. Obviously, for American readers, it is highly misleading to call the schooling up until 16 or 17 "primary". Also, there should be a section on childcare and nursery kindergarten in Finland, as these are the jewels of the Finnish system and, according to many, the foundation of its spectacular international success. (talk) 18:15, 1 June 2011 (UTC)

Pre-School Education???[edit]

Pre-school education is of utmost importance in Finland. Needs to be included here. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:57, 1 June 2011 (UTC)

Could you clarify the "utmost" part? Subarctica (talk) 12:07, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
According to the dictionary, "utmost" means greatest. I believe that the article now makes clear why preschool education is considered of the greatest importance in Finland. Finland recognizes that education begins before birth. Preschool education, which in Finland goes up to age seven, is given great attention and government support, since it is recognized that with very young children, learning-readiness, which includes socialization, sharing, and awareness of the needs of others, is best learned through play.Mballen (talk) 05:08, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

More sources[edit]

WhisperToMe (talk) 20:38, 8 May 2012 (UTC)

External links[edit]

I don't know in details the policy of wikipedia on External links. But on this article, the part was obviously messy. Consequently, I've put some order in it: Deletion of obviously outadated/irrelevant links + a basic structure so it would be a bit more "readable". I am aware it is not enough (my structure has nothing "official" and I am sure that many other links can be deleted -like a couple of OECD ref, some newspapers articles or the weird "whichcountry" link). Unfortunately, I don't have the experience to go deeper... So if an experienced wikipedian could come by to finish the cleaning, that would be nice ! KaptainIgloo (talk) 16:34, 9 May 2014 (UTC)

Either someone clarify this, or I'll remove these sentences.[edit]

"The benefit is often insufficient and thus students usually work to help fund their studies. State-guaranteed student loans are also available."

Earlier in the same paragraph, it mentions that tuition is free. So, what is the point of loans or the need to "fund their studies" when tuition is free? The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 03:30, 23 May 2016 (UTC)

Sentences removed! The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 03:38, 28 May 2016 (UTC)

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