Educational system in Finland

Educational system in Finland
Schooling is free and compulsory in Finland between the ages of 7 and 16. Virtually no illiteracy exists. In addition to regular primary and secondary schools, Finland has an extensive adult education program consisting of folk high schools, folk academies, and workers’ institutes. The adult education schools are operated privately or by municipalities or provinces and receive state subsidies.


Education is state-supported in Finland. Schooling is required from ages 7 to 15 and is free. Instruction for all students is standard.

Virtually 100 percent of the people are literate. The University of Helsinki, founded in Turku in 1640 and transferred to Helsinki in 1828, is the principal university of the nation’s 20 institutions of higher education.

Elementary and Secondary Schools

Compulsory education consists of six years of primary schooling and three years of secondary schooling. In 1991 about 394,300 children annually attended some 4230 primary schools, and about 315,700 students went to approximately 1100 general secondary schools.

Finland also maintains a system of secondary vocational education with schools of commerce, arts and crafts, domestic science, trade, agriculture, and technology; yearly enrollment totaled some 123,296 students in 1991.

Universities and Colleges

The Finnish institutes of higher learning, which include 13 universities and several colleges and teacher-training schools, had a total annual enrollment of some 175,000 students in 1991. The largest of the universities is the University of Helsinki.

Originally established at Turku in 1640, the university was moved to Helsinki in 1828. Among the other major institutions of higher learning are the University of Turku (1919), the Helsinki School of Economics and Business Administration (1911), the University of Tampere (1966), and the University of Oulu (1958).