Education policy report
The Education Policy Report paves the way for equitable and high-quality education in the 2040s in Finland, where skills requirements are growing and age cohorts are shrinking. The report outlines the target state for education and research when moving forward to the 2040s and the necessary changes in resources, structures and guidance to achieve it.
Finland is famous for its education system but at the same time, the system needs continuously to be developed.
Our objective is that
- the level of education and competence among the population will rise at all levels of education, differences in learning outcomes will decrease, and educational equality will increase
- children and young people will feel well
- education system offers for all equal opportunities for learning
- Finland will be an internationally attractive place to study, conduct research and invest.
In the Education Policy Report (2021), the goal the Government has set is that Finland will be a nation with a cultural and educational foundation in 2040 that draws on effective education, research and culture that are of high quality. Finland's international competitiveness and the wellbeing of its citizens build on this foundation.
The aim is that in 2040 educational equity and accessibility will have improved, and that Finland's level of education and competence will rank among the world's best. Education and research contribute to the achievement of sustainable development goals in society as a whole.
Selected items from the objectives and measures for education and research up to 2040
Finnish society is facing major challenges: demographic changes and regional disparities, and rapid advances in the world of work and technology all demand new approaches and structures at all levels of education. Continuous learning, close cooperation between work and competence bring people protection in the event of restructuring and a competitive advantage for companies.
To meet the challenges, the report proposes an overhaul of legislation and funding that would safeguard an equitable realisation of high quality for educational and cultural rights throughout the country. Legislation governing early childhood education and care, pre-primary education, primary and lower secondary education will be brought together into one clear package. It is proposed that funding for education be boosted by allocating the imputed savings from shrinking age cohorts to develop early childhood education and care and primary and lower secondary education. It is proposed that the financing system be amended to include needs-based funding, i.e. financing for positive discrimination. This will safeguard equity in learning.
Safeguarding equitable education that is free of charge, of high quality and accessible will demand significant investment of public funds into education and research in the future. A higher level of education and competence can only be achieved with adequate resources for education and research and wiser allocation of resources. The report aims to achieve a commitment to investment in education that spans over parliamentary terms. Long-term financing that is predictable is a prerequisite for achieving the objectives set for education and research.
One of the objectives in the Education Policy Report is to reduce the fees charged for early childhood education and care. The long-term objective is to make early childhood education and care free of charge (a minimum of 4 hours a day).
Learning outcomes in primary and lower secondary education will be raised and learning disparities will be narrowed down by fostering wellbeing and inclusion in early childhood education and care and in school communities. This will be implemented by means of a new national binding model whereby school communities work collaboratively. Skills in literacy and numeracy will be strengthened and particular attention will be paid to developing the skills for critical thinking among children and young people.
General education will not be set against vocational education and training. Cooperation will be harnessed in upper secondary education and existing legislative or other obstacles in this area will be removed. In vocational education and training, general knowledge and basic skills will be strengthened, without undermining the acquisition of vocational competence. This way we can ensure that students have genuine opportunities for pursuing further studies and for upskilling during their working life.
In upper secondary education, new technologies and practices will be harnessed to build personalised study paths for each learner. An apposite model of positive discrimination will also be developed for vocational education and training.
Projections show that in the future there will be a growing demand for tertiary-level expertise. One of the objectives is that by 2030 at least 50 per cent of all young adults in Finland will have completed a higher education degree. To achieve this, student intake in higher education institutions will be increased, without compromising the quality of education. The choices offered by higher education institutions will be developed on the basis of research. The aim is to triple the number of foreign degree students by 2030, and 75% of foreign graduates should find a job in Finland.
With regard to science, the aim is that in the future Finland will be an inspiring place to carry out research, and the research environments will be world class. Top talent will move to Finland and enhance Finland's skills level. Moreover, public research funding will also encourage private sector investment in expertise and RDI activities.
An important step towards achieving these goals is that the national RDI Roadmap (2020) be implemented effectively and to a high standard.
As part of higher education, the availability and competence of teachers and other staff in education and child care will be secured, by measures such as improving the knowledge base of staff members, by foresight and by the right scope of education and training, and by ensuring that the quality of education is based on research.
The report also outlines the development needs in areas such as liberal adult education, continuous learning, student financial aid, Swedish-speaking education, education for those with an immigrant background, learning for people with disabilities, and Saami education.