This Government term’s most significant development programme for early childhood education and care and basic education set to begin

Ministry of Education and Culture 26.11.2019 13.00 | Published in English on 28.11.2019 at 9.17
Press release

The Ministry of Education and Culture is set to launch the Right to Learn – An Equal Start on the Path of Education development programme. The programme, which will run from 2020 to 2022, is the Government term’s most significant package for the development of early childhood education and care and basic education.

The Right to Learn programme comprises projects for the development of the quality and equality of early childhood education and care and basic education. A total of 180 million euros will be allocated over a period of three years to the quality and equality programme for basic education entered into the Government programme, and 125 million euros will be allocated to the quality and equality programme for early childhood education and care.

The project for the development of the quality and equality of basic education will aim to narrow and prevent learning gaps that are due to the socioeconomic background, immigrant background or gender of pupils. The project will include the predation of a model for establishing central government transfers for equality as a standard part of basic education funding. In addition, support for learning and school attendance as well as literacy will be strengthened.   The Ministry will work to prevent the trend towards increasing regional inequality.

“Basic education is the foundation of Finland’s welfare state, which ensures everyone regardless of their background has an equal opportunity to learn the skills they will need during their lives. The aim of the quality and equality programme for basic education is to ensure that Finland’s primary and lower secondary school system will continue to succeed in its most important task, meaning it will be able to guarantee every child an equal opportunity to learn,” says Minister of Education Li Andersson.

The project will support the local school principle. At the same time, primary school group sizes will be cut. The quality of teaching will be improved with such measures as the provision of in-service training to teachers, management and other staff and implementing a national management development programme.

“The impact of a pupil’s family background on their learning outcomes has grown stronger in Finland very quickly. In 2009, learning gaps in Finland were still the smallest of the reference OECD countries.   We will now take action in earnest to stop this alarming trend of growing inequality,” Minister Andersson continues.

The project for the development of the quality and equality of early childhood education and care will implement steps to increase the rate of participation in early childhood education and care and measures to support non-discrimination and equality. The learning and welfare of children will be promoted, and investments will be made in the prevention of bullying. At the same time, support for children's language learning will be strengthened.

A two year pre-primary education pilot will be implemented as part of the project for the development of the quality and equality of early childhood education and care. An effort will be made to improve the early learning of basic skills by integrating pre-primary education and the first two years of primary school into a more cohesive entity. In addition, the ministry is preparing a national in-service training programme for the management of early childhood education and care.

“Early childhood education and care creates the foundation for a child’s future learning. Early childhood education and care of high quality is an effective instrument for narrowing learning gaps caused by children’s family backgrounds. With the implementation of the Right to Learn programme we want to ensure that every child throughout the entire country has the right to early childhood education of high quality,” Minister Andersson says.

Inquiries:

- Action plan: Eeva-Riitta Pirhonen, tel. +358 (0)2953 30258
- Project for the development of early childhood education and care: Senior Ministerial Adviser Kirsi Alila, tel. +358 (0)2953 30365
- Project for the development of basic education: Senior Ministerial Adviser Minna Polvinen, tel. +358 (0)2953 30262
- Special Adviser Touko Sipiläinen, tel. +358 (0)40 196 2292

Website for the early childhood education and care and primary education quality and equality programme