Financing and administration of general education
The Ministry of Education and Culture drafts legislation and government resolutions related to general education and coordinates the activities under its remit. The policies outlined in the Government Programme and the Government Action Plan steer this work.
The Government decides on matters related to common national objectives for education as referred to in the Basic Education Act, on the division of time used for teaching lessons in various subjects and subject areas, and on the distribution of time used for guidance counselling (distribution of lesson hours).
The Finnish National Agency for Education is an expert agency under the remit of the Ministry of Education and Culture. The Agency is responsible for developing education, enhancing the effectiveness of education and monitoring the provision of education. It decides on the national core curriculum for basic education, according to which local authorities then draw up local curricula.
Education providers decide on practical matters
Local authorities and joint municipal authorities are usually the local education provider that has a statutory duty to organise education for the children living in their area. In some cases it is the state or private associations or foundations that organise primary and secondary education. Local authorities are also responsible for organising pre-primary education and decide on whether it is held in a comprehensive school or in another suitable location. Local education authorities can also provide education at other levels. Local authorities, joint municipal authorities, registered (private) organisations or foundations can operate as general upper secondary education providers.
Education providers make decisions on many practical matters. The activities of education providers are steered by the objectives laid down in legislation and in the national core curriculum. School curricula are drawn up by local authorities or the school, and the curricula further specify the objectives and key content of the core curriculum.
Each municipality has a politically elected body that can be a local education and culture committee, a local education committee or other similar committee. Local education departments are responsible for planning, preparing and implementing education matters in line with the decisions made by the committee. Every school or educational institution has a principal or school head who is responsible for its activities.
If local authorities so decide, schools can also have a board of directors that coordinates activities. Many such boards are also represented by the students' parents. Schools also have a student council, which is the voice of the students in school-related matters, and it includes representatives from each grade, who the students themselves have elected.
The activities of education providers are steered according to the objectives laid down in legislation and in the national core curriculum. Curricula at the local level can apply to one whole municipality or to an individual school.