Key legislation on general education

lakikirjoja. KUVA: OKMThis page lists the key acts and decrees on general education.

If an English translation of an act or decree is available, the link takes you directly to the English version of the statute in the Finlex database. The translations do not necessarily contain the most recent amendments.

Pre-primary and comprehensive school education

Basic Education Act (628/1998)
The Act lays down provisions on comprehensive school education and compulsory education, pre-primary education, voluntary additional comprehensive school education, preparatory education for comprehensive school education, and morning and afternoon activities.

Basic Education Decree (852/1998)
The Decree lays down provisions on, for example, the number of teaching hours, student assessment, legal protection, and authorisation to provide education.

Government Decree on the National Objectives for Education Referred to in the Basic Education Act and on the Distribution of Lesson Hours (422/2012)
The Decree contains provisions on the general national objectives for comprehensive school education and on the distribution of lesson hours.

General upper secondary education and matriculation examination

General Upper Secondary Education Act (714/1918)
The earlier General Upper Secondary Education Act (629/1998) will be applied during the transition period to the extent laid down in the transitional provisions.

The Act includes provisions on the purpose of general upper secondary education, the provision of education, general upper secondary school instruction, application and student admissions to educational institutions, the rights and obligations of students, the completion of the syllabus, student assessment, and a safe study environment.

Government decree on general upper secondary education (810/2018)
The earlier Decree on general upper secondary education (810/1998) and the government decree on the general national objectives and distribution of study hours in general upper secondary education (942/2014) will be applied during the transition period to the extent laid down in the transitional provisions.

The Decree includes provisions on general national objectives, knowledge and skills, continuous learning, objectives for preparatory education, specific objectives for general upper secondary education for adults, application for an authorisation to provide education, conditions for granting a specific educational mission, grading scale, quantitative planning and structure of studies, and the scope of study units.

Ministry of Education Decree on the criteria for student admissions in general upper secondary education (856/2006), including amendments (948/2007), (820/2018)
Act on the Matriculation Examination (502/2019)

The earlier Matriculation Examination Act (672/2005) will be applied during the transition period to the extent laid down in the transitional provisions.

The new Act lays down provisions on the Matriculation Examination Board, the organisation of tests, the tests for the examination, registration for the tests, requirements for participation in the tests, special arrangements and the completion of the whole examination.

Government decree on the matriculation examination (612/2019)
The earlier decree on the matriculation examination (915/2005) will be applied during the transition period to the extent laid down in the transitional provisions.

The decree includes provisions on the appointment of the Matriculation Examination Board, the rules of procedure of the Matriculation Examination Board, the preparation of tests and the grading of tests.

Basic education in arts

Act on Basic Education in Arts (633/1998)
The Act lays down provisions on, for example, the providers and provision of basic education in arts and on the curricula, student admission, assessment, staff, central government transfers, and fees in basic education in arts.

Decree on Basic Education in Arts (813/1998)
The Decree contains provisions on the syllabuses, number of teaching hours, re-assessment and rectification of assessment, and the procedure for applying for an authorisation to provide basic education in arts.

Liberal adult education

Act on Liberal Adult Education (632/1998) and the related Decree (805/1998)
The Act contains provisions on, for example, the providers and provision of liberal adult education, authorisation to provide education, staff, central government transfers granted for operating costs, and discretionary government transfers.

Financing

Act on the Financing of Educational and Cultural Provision (1705/2009)
The Act lays down provisions on, for example, central government transfers and discretionary government transfers granted for activities referred to in the Basic Education Act. (Ministry of Finance)

Government Decree on the Financing of Educational and Cultural Provision (1766/2009)

Act on Central Government Transfers to Local Government for Basic Public Services (1704/2009)
The Act is applied to central government transfers granted for operating costs incurred by local authorities in the performance of their statutory duties defined e.g. in the Basic Education Act and the Act on Basic Education in Arts. (Ministry of Finance)

Act on Discretionary Government Transfers (688/2001)
The Act lays down provisions on the criteria and procedures to be followed when granting subsidies for activities or projects. (Ministry of Finance)

Decree of the Ministry of Education on the Criteria for Certain Fees Charged from Students (1323/2001) 

Decree of the Ministry of Education and Culture on Fees Charged for Performances of the Matriculation Examination Board (908/2010)

Decision of the Ministry of Education on fees charged for performances of certain state-owned schools (1097/1998)  

Administration

Act on the Administration of Education Provided by the State and the Private Sector (634/1998)
The Act lays down provisions on, for example, the school board, school head, rules of procedure, subsidies and donations, oversight of legality, and the application of the Administrative Procedure Act to the education provided by the State and the private sector.

Student Welfare Act (1287/2013)
The Act lays down provisions on, for example, the right of students in pre-primary education, comprehensive school education and general upper secondary education to receive student welfare services.

Government Decree on the Evaluation of Education (1061/2009)

Decree of the Ministry of Education and Culture on School Boards at Certain State-Owned Schools (410/2011)

Government Decree on the National Education and Training Committee System (882/2010)

Government Decree on the Joint Application System for General and Vocational Upper Secondary Education (30/2008)

Teaching staff qualifications

Decree on the Qualifications Required of Teaching Staff (986/1998)
The Decree contains provisions on the qualifications required of the teaching staff referred to in the Basic Education Act, the Act on General Upper Secondary Education, the Act on Liberal Adult Education and the Act on Basic Education in Arts, such as pre-primary education teaching professionals, principals, teachers and other educators.

Decree on the Pedagogical Qualifications Required of Certain Teachers in the Arts (948/1998)

Government Decree on the Qualification Gained from Certain Studies at the University of Oulu for Teaching Technical Work (780/2001)

Act on Checking the Criminal Background of Persons Working with Children (504/2002)
The Act applies, for example, to the procurement of morning and afternoon activities referred to in the Basic Education Act from external service providers.

Child Welfare Act (417/2007):
The Act contains provisions on child and family-specific child welfare provision and preventive child welfare. The Act also lays down provisions on the development of services to support upbringing. Furthermore, the Act contains provisions on the statutory duty of personnel within social and welfare services, education services and certain other authorities to file a child welfare notification and to report crimes. (Ministry of Social Affairs and Health)

Act on Certain Pension Arrangements for Teaching Staff (662/1998) (Ministry of Finance)

Contact information

Anne-Marie Brisson, Senior Ministerial Adviser 
Ministry of Education and Culture, Varhaiskasvatuksen, perusopetuksen ja vapaan sivistystyön osasto ( VAPOS ), Strategic Steering Division 0295330079