The new local curricula, which are based on the national core curriculum, came in to use in schools in August 2016. Changes in the teaching of cursive writing skills, in particular, have attracted international attention. A common misconception is that Finnish schools will abandon instruction in handwriting and focus exclusively on keyboard skills.
The news that Finland has abolished teaching separate subjects has been an issue in the international press. Subject teaching is not being abolished although the new core curriculum for basic education brought some changes in August 2016.
There is a lunch room in every school, lunch is free for the pupils. You can find more information about school meals in Finland here (Finnish National Agency for Education)
KiVa is a research-based antibullying program that has been developed in the University of Turku, Finland, with funding from the Ministry of Education and Culture. However the ministry itself doesn’t oversee the program. For more information on KiVa school program go to: http://www.kivaprogram.net/
Private schools (schools not operated by the government or local authorities) have not been abolished, though they are very rare: only two percent of all schools are private. Private schools, too, are publically funded and are free of cost because of this. Charging tuition in basic education is prohibited by the Finnish constitution.
The Finnish National Agency for Education gives information on foreign teacher’s requirements.
We do have homework, but teachers and schools have a lot of autonomy in organizing lessons – and also concerning homework. It is true that in general, the workload tends to be much lighter than in other countries.
Holistic perspective on children’s well-being is a key element in Finnish education. Schooldays are not only for academic skills but also for physical education during recesses, developing one’s social skills and learning to live and act as members of community. The main goal of the curriculum is to grow as a human being and as a citizen. We emphasize how to learn instead of what to learn.
General information about studying in Finland can be found here:
In Finland, it is not typical for the children to attend school in the summer and therefore there might be little options available. The school's summer break starts around early June and ends around mid-August (exact dates vary year by year and by schools) each year. The education providers (municipalities/cities) know best the services there are on offer. You can contact them directly.
There is no actual possibility for international students to gain admittance to Finnish upper secondary institutions as the enrollment is nationally focused and fully financed. Finnish schools at the upper secondary level deliver education locally and by the Finnish curriculum, that is only applicable locally.
Tuition fees are charged from students coming from outside the European Union and the European Economic Area. Fees only concern the degree programmes taught in English or other foreign language to further develop the programmes to the needs of foreign students. The minimum tuition fee is 1500 euros per year. Some very prestigious programmes cost around 20 000 euros, but Higher Education Institutions have also introduced scholarship systems.
Unfortunately the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture does not provide any funding for NGOs/ projects outside of Finland.
Nor does the Ministry provide any kind of funding for International schools abroad or partner with local projects.
We only fund Finland’s public schools, as the Ministry is a public body of the Government. We are also responsible for education legislation and policies.
There are no programs in place to give accreditation or franchise our education system. Finnish schools are accredited through our domestic legislation and no foreign school can adopt the model or the name as such.
Administrative organs at different organisational levels collaborate actively between schools and between social actors, parents and schools to further enhance the school system. At the education provider (municipality) level, policy-making is the responsibility of local authorities. Local teachers and principals are often part of the planning process, including the crafting of the local curriculum. At the national level, teachers and principals are engaged by taking part in different working groups. One such group is responsible for preparing the National Core Curriculum.
Unfortunately we cannot help you directly as the ministry does not supervise municipal actions such as school partnership. There are quite many municipalities in Finland and they have their own guidelines for cooperation between schools. You should contact their education departments. You can find information via googling.
The focus in Finnish education system is on learning rather than testing. There are no national tests for pupils in basic education in Finland. Instead, teachers are responsible for assessment in their respective subjects on the basis of the objectives included in the curriculum.
The student evaluation is carried out mostly at the local level, based on the criteria and description set in the national core curriculum. Currently student assessment in grades 1-6 in basic education is based on verbal assessment rather than numerical assessment. There are no centrally organized tests for all students in basic education. Also the grades in the basic education certificate, the final certificate given at the end of year 9, are given by the teachers.
The nature of the evaluation of the learning outcomes of schools and students is encouraging and supportive. There is no national testing, no school ranking lists and no inspection systems.
Unfortunately, due to limited resources and the significant global attention the Finnish education system is currently receiving, the Ministry of Education and Culture has been forced to limit our services to government-level visits (ministry representatives and parliamentary groups).
However, as the Finnish system is rather decentralized, you can organize school visits directly with the local municipalities education authorities. While the City of Helsinki receives such a large number of visitors every year that they are forced to turn down many interested delegations, it will be much easier to arrange the visit to a school in other cities nearby. There are also several companies that specialize in organizing tailor-made educational visits (for a fee). You can find them via googling.