29.2.2024 valid documentation

Basic data of the statistics

Data description

The statistics on the subject choices of students, produced by Statistics Finland, contains data on the subject choices made by the pupils in comprehensive schools and the students in upper secondary education. The data are used in the planning of education and for research and evaluation purposes. The statistics also include data on the subject choices of students in upper secondary general school and vocational education.

The data on the subject choices in comprehensive school education describe the subject choices of comprehensive school pupils on 20 September and the subject choices in upper secondary general school education made during the previous term by those who have completed their studies in upper secondary general school education. The subject choices of students in upper secondary general school or vocational education are from 20 September (for vocational education, the time at which the statistics are compiled changed as of 2018; see Section 6). The statistics on the subject choices of students include classifications describing the educational institution, various regional classifications as well as national and international classifications of the fields and levels of education.

Subject choises of students are produced based on the Finnish National Agency for Education's KOSKI data warehouse data starting from school year 2020/2021.

KOSKI data warehouse data includes information on completed language studies during the school year. Language study data is produced by monitoring students' language studies during the school year and connecting this data to enrolment data in 20.9. at the beginning of school year.

The data on subject choices in upper secondary education are based on studies completed by students during the school year. The population of students comprises the students registered on 20 September with whom completion data were combined. The data on subject choices in upper secondary education have partly been estimated (see the footnotes of the StatFin tables for more details) if data on completed language studies are not available from the KOSKI database for all students. The KOSKI database contains data on language studies completed during the school year (not on students' language selections), so completion data are not available for all students in all school years.
 

Statistical population

The population of the statistics is the subject choices of pupils in comprehensive education and upper secondary general school or vocational education as well as the subject choices of those who have completed upper secondary general school education.

Subject choises of students are produced based on the Finnish National Agency for Education's KOSKI data warehouse data starting from school year 2020/2021.
KOSKI data warehouse data includes information on completed language studies during the school year. Language study data is produced by monitoring students' language studies during the school year and connecting this data to enrolment data in 20.9. at the beginning of school year.

 

Statistical unit

The statistical unit is students and their subject choices.

Unit of measure

The data of the statistics on subject choices are released as the numbers and percentages of students’ language choices.

Base period

No indices are used in the statistics.

Reference period

The reference period of statistics is a calendar year. The data on the subject choices in comprehensive school education describe the subject choices of comprehensive school pupils on 20 September and the subject choices in upper secondary general school education made during the previous term by those who have completed their studies in upper secondary general school education. The subject choices of students in upper secondary general school or vocational education are from 20 September.

Subject choises of students are produced based on the Finnish National Agency for Education's KOSKI data warehouse data starting from school year 2020/2021.
KOSKI data warehouse data includes information on completed language studies during the school year. Language study data is produced by monitoring students' language studies during the school year and connecting this data to enrolment data in 20.9. at the beginning of school year.

 

Reference area

The reference area for the statistics is the whole country (Finland).

Sector coverage

The statistics on subject choices cover data on the subject choices of pupils in comprehensive schools, those who have completed their studies in upper secondary general school education and, as of 2018, also on the subject choices of students in upper secondary general school or vocational education.

The statistics on subject choices are based on the educational institution-specific data reported by the organisers of the tuition/education, collected by Statistics Finland with online forms. The population of the statistics on the subject choices in comprehensive education is composed of educational institutions providing comprehensive education and the statistics on upper secondary general school education of educational institutions providing upper secondary general school education. The data represent total data. As of 2020, the data are produced from the national Koski data resource.

In terms of 2018, the cross-sectional data cover all students in initial vocational education, because the Act on Vocational Education and Training (531/2017), which entered into force at the beginning of 2018, no longer provides for the separation of education into education aimed at young people (curriculum-based initial vocational education) and education aimed at adults (preparatory vocational education). The number of students in the cross-sectional data is not comparable with the number of students in previous years, because, before 2018, the cross-sectional data (of 20 September) only covered students in curriculum-based vocational education aimed at young people.
 

Time coverage

The data have been released on the website of Statistics Finland as of 2004.

Frequency of dissemination

The statistics on the subject choices of students are released twice a year, in October and December, on the website of Statistics Finland.

Concepts

Completers of full upper secondary general school syllabus

In the statistics on upper secondary general education a completer of full upper secondary general school curriculum refers to a student who has completed satisfactorily the national syllabi contained in upper secondary general school curriculum and received for it a school-leaving certificate from upper secondary general school. Full upper secondary general school syllabus can be completed in upper secondary general schools or folk high schools.

Comprehensive school

In the statistics on pre-primary and comprehensive school education, subject choices of students, special education, and students and qualifications of educational institutions comprehensive schools refer to educational institutions providing basic, general knowledge teaching to an entire age cohort (basic comprehensive school education, compulsory education school). All children of the compulsory school age of 7 to 16 must complete the comprehensive school. Completion of the comprehensive school takes nine years.

Educational institutions of the following types classify as comprehensive schools:
Comprehensive schools
Comprehensive school level special schools
Comprehensive and upper secondary level schools

The full comprehensive school syllabus or subject studied within it can also be completed in upper secondary general schools and folk high schools but the basic teaching they provide is aimed at students over the compulsory school age (basic education of adults). These educational institutions and their students are not usually included in the statistics describing comprehensive schools.

Education

An organised activity, the aim of which is to produce competence based on teaching.

Comment:
Education can be divided into education and training leading to a qualification or degree and non-qualification studies.

Educational institution

An educational institution refers to an administrative unit with a principal or other head, which has teachers and other personnel in its service (role of employers), and which is liable to keep books and compile other documentation, in which students are registered, whose activities are regulated by a legal act or decree, which follows a national curriculum, and which is financed and controlled by a public authority. An educational institution does not refer to a school building or facility. A new educational institution is established, an educational institution is abolished or merged with another educational institution at the decision of the organiser of education (maintainer of the educational institution) or a public authority.

Statistics Finland has assigned an individualised educational institution ID to each educational institution. Educational institutions are classified according to a classification of types of educational institutions.

Educational system

The Finnish educational system is comprised of the following:

Pre-primary education is provided in Finland to 6-year-old children, usually at children's day care homes. Some 6-year-old children receive pre-primary education in comprehensive schools. Attendance of pre-primary education has been compulsory since 2015.
Comprehensive school education is general knowledge education provided for entire age cohorts. All children permanently resident in Finland must attend compulsory education. Compulsory education starts in the year of the child's seventh birthday.
Compulsory education finishes when the syllabus of comprehensives school education has been completed (9-year comprehensive school), or 10 years from the start of compulsory education. In exceptional cases compulsory education may start already at the age of six and last 11 years due to a disability or illness. A student who has received a leaving certificate from comprehensive school in the same year or in the year before it may continue to attend optional additional education (10th grade).

Post-comprehensive school education, or upper secondary general education and vocational education represent secondary level of education. Upper secondary general school education is education leading to a matriculation examination. Its scope is three years and it gives general eligibility to further education. Vocational education can be either educational institution-based or apprenticeship training. In apprenticeship training, most of the studying is comprised of learning through practical work tasks at a workplace. The qualifications are initial vocational qualifications attained in three years, which also give general eligibility to further polytechnic or university studies.

Further and specialist vocational qualifications represent further vocational education. They, as well as initial vocational qualifications can be attained in a skills examination that can be taken irrespective of the way of acquisition of professional skills, and in which skills can be proven on the basis of preparatory education for a skills examination or work experience.

Attainment of university of applied sciences degrees takes 3.5 to 4.5 years and higher university of applied sciences degrees requiring work practice 1-1.5 years. Attainment of lower university degrees takes three years while higher university degrees take two years longer. Attainers of higher level university degrees may continue their studies to licentiate and doctorate level degrees.

Grade

In the statistics on comprehensive school education, subject choices of students and special education, comprehensive school education is divided into nine grades from one to nine. In addition to these, pre-primary education of pupils of pre-primary education registered in comprehensive schools and additional education (10th class) of comprehensive school education are included in comprehensive school education.

Statistics on pupils are compiled by grade. If pupils cannot be allocated to a certain grade, e.g. in special education, they are included in the statistics of the grade that corresponds their age.

Pupil

In the statistics on comprehensive school education, on subject choices of students and on special education, comprehensive school pupils refer to all pupils registered at comprehensive schools: pupils of pre-primary education, pupils of grades 1 to 9 and pupils of additional education (10th class).

Data on the number of comprehensive school pupils describe the situation on 20 September.

School-leaving certificate from upper secondary general school

In the statistics on upper secondary general education and on subject choices of students, a school-leaving certificate from upper secondary general school refers to a certificate issued to a student who has completed satisfactorily the full upper secondary general school syllabusiculum. A school-leaving certificate from upper secondary general school can be issued by an upper secondary general school or a folk high school.

Sector of education

Comprehensive education, general upper secondary education, vocational education, university of applied sciences education, university education.

Subject choices

In the statistics on subject choices the point of departure for language choice is the student's choice. Language choices are reported according to the length of studies in a language.

A1 language is a common (compulsory) language started in grades 1 to 6.
A2 language is an optional language started in grades 1 to 6.
B1 language is a common (compulsory) language started in grades 7 to 9.
B2 language is an optional language started in grades 7 to 9 (at least six courses in upper secondary general school).
B3 language is an optional language started in upper secondary general school (at least six courses).
"Optional language, less than six courses" is a language started in upper secondary general school and studied for fewer than six courses.

Classifications

Accuracy, reliability and timeliness

Overall accuracy

The data represent total data. The deficiencies and errors in the data reported by the data providers may have a negative impact on the quality of the statistics.

Timeliness

The data are completed approximately nine months after the reference period (the subject choices of pupils in comprehensive school), while the subject choices of those who have completed upper secondary general school education are released with a delay of approximately seven months.

Punctuality

There are no delays between the release calendar and the actual release date.

Comparability

Comparability - geographical

The statistics are internationally comparable and cover the whole of Finland.

Comparability - over time

Statistics Finland has compiled the statistics on the subject choices of students since 1994. The comparability between years is affected by changes in the education system, classifications and the compiling of statistics. As of the statistical year 2011, the subject choices of students in comprehensive education have included the subject choices of both pupils in comprehensive schools and the subject choices of students in the basic education of educational institutions other than comprehensive schools (such as upper secondary schools for adults and folk high schools). The language choices of students in basic education provided elsewhere than in comprehensive schools are released in the database tables of these statistics.

In terms of 2018, the cross-sectional data cover all students in initial vocational education, because the Act on Vocational Education and Training (531/2017), which entered into force at the beginning of 2018, no longer provides for the separation of education into education aimed at young people (curriculum-based initial vocational education) and education aimed at adults (preparatory vocational education). The number of students in the cross-sectional data is not comparable with the number of students in previous years, because, before 2018, the cross-sectional data (of 20 September) only covered students in curriculum-based vocational education aimed at young people.

Subject choises of students are produced based on the Finnish National Agency for Education's KOSKI data warehouse data starting from school year 2020/2021.
KOSKI data warehouse data includes information on completed language studies during the school year. Language study data is produced by monitoring students' language studies during the school year and connecting this data to enrolment data in 20.9. at the beginning of school year.

 

Coherence - cross domain

The statistical data are coherent between different years.

Coherence - internal

The statistics are based on the same data sources and have been compiled in accordance with the same principles as the other statistics of Statistics Finland describing education. These statistics can be used in parallel, provided that the specific characteristics of the statistics are taken into account.

Source data and data collections

Source data

The statistics on subject choices are based on the educational institution-specific data reported by the organisers of the tuition/education, collected by Statistics Finland with online forms. The population of the statistics on the subject choices in comprehensive education is composed of educational institutions providing comprehensive education and the statistics on upper secondary general school education of educational institutions providing upper secondary general school education. The data represent total data. As of 2020, the data are obtained from the national Koski data resource.

Subject choises of students are produced based on the Finnish National Agency for Education's KOSKI data warehouse data starting from school year 2020/2021.
KOSKI data warehouse data includes information on completed language studies during the school year. Language study data is produced by monitoring students' language studies during the school year and connecting this data to enrolment data in 20.9. at the beginning of school year.

 

Data collection

The data of the statistics have been collected with an electronic form.

Frequency of data collection

The data for the statistics are collected annually. As of 2020, the statistics are based on administrative data, produced from the Koski data resource of the Finnish National Agency for Education.

Methods

Data compilation

During the processing of the data, the high quality of the data is ensured through various statistical verification programs, data requests addressed to data providers as well as by comparing the data with previous comparable statistics and other data sources.

Data validation

During the processing of the data, the high quality of the data is ensured through various statistical verification programs, data requests addressed to data providers as well as by comparing the data with previous comparable statistics and other data sources.

Principles and outlines

Contact organisation

Statistics Finland

Contact organisation unit

Information and Statistical Services

Legal acts and other agreements

The compilation of statistics is guided by the Statistics Act. The Statistics Act contains provisions on collection of data, processing of data and the obligation to provide data. Besides the Statistics Act, the Data Protection Act and the Act on the Openness of Government Activities are applied to processing of data when producing statistics. 

Statistics Finland compiles statistics in line with the EU’s regulations applicable to statistics, which steer the statistical agencies of all EU Member States.  

Further information: Statistical legislation 

Confidentiality - policy

The data protection of data collected for statistical purposes is guaranteed in accordance with the requirements of the Statistics Act (280/2004), the Act on the Openness of Government Activities (621/1999), the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679 and the Data Protection Act (1050/2018). The data materials are protected at all stages of processing with the necessary physical and technical solutions. Statistics Finland has compiled detailed directions and instructions for confidential processing of the data. Employees have access only to the data essential for their duties. The premises where unit-level data are processed are not accessible to outsiders. Members of the personnel have signed a pledge of secrecy upon entering the service. Violation of data protection is punishable. 

Further information: Data protection | Statistics Finland (stat.fi) 

Confidentiality - data treatment

The statistics on the subject choices of students do not contain individual-based data.

Release policy

Statistics Finland publishes new statistical data at 8 am on weekdays in its web service. The release times of statistics are given in advance in the release calendar available in the web service. The data are public after they have been updated in the web service. 

Further information: Publication principles for statistics at Statistics Finland 

Data sharing

Data of the statistics are made available to the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Finnish National Agency for Education in accordance with the H9098-OKM-OPH information service agreement.

Data of the statistics are reported to UNESCO, the OECD and Eurostat in the UOE education statistics survey and in the related separate surveys.

Accessibility and clarity

Statistical data are published as database tables in the StatFin database. The database is the primary publishing site of data, and new data are updated first there. When releasing statistical data, existing database tables can be updated with new data or completely new database tables can be published.   

In addition to statistical data published in the StatFin database, a release on the key data is usually published in the web service. If the release contains data concerning several reference periods (e.g. monthly and annual data), a review bringing together these data is published in the web service. Database tables updated at the time of publication are listed both in the release and in the review. In some cases, statistical data can also be published as mere database releases in the StatFin database. No release or review is published in connection with these database releases. 

Releases and database tables are published in three languages, in Finnish, Swedish and English. The language versions of releases may have more limited content than in Finnish.   

Information about changes in the publication schedules of releases and database tables and about corrections are given as change releases in the web service. 

Data revision - policy

Revisions – i.e. improvements in the accuracy of statistical data already published – are a normal feature of statistical production and result in improved quality of statistics. The principle is that statistical data are based on the best available data and information concerning the statistical phenomenon. On the other hand, the revisions are communicated as transparently as possible in advance. Advance communication ensures that the users can prepare for the data revisions. 

 

The reason why data in statistical releases become revised is often caused by the data becoming supplemented. Then the new, revised statistical figure is based on a wider information basis and describes the phenomenon more accurately than before. 

 

Revisions of statistical data may also be caused by the calculation method used, such as annual benchmarking or updating of weight structures. Changes of base years and used classifications may also cause revisions to data. 

Quality assessment

During the processing of the data, the high quality of the data is ensured through various statistical verification programs, data requests addressed to data providers as well as by comparing the data with previous comparable statistics and other data sources. The deficiencies and errors in the data reported by the data providers nevertheless have a negative impact on the quality of the statistics.

Quality assurance

Quality management requires comprehensive guidance of activities. The quality management framework of the field of statistics is the European Statistics Code of Practice (CoP). The quality criteria of Official Statistics of Finland are compatible with the European Statistics Code of Practice. 

Further information: Quality management | Statistics Finland (stat.fi) 

User access

Data are released to all users at the same time. Statistical data may only be handled at Statistics Finland and information on them may be given before release only by persons involved in the production of the statistics concerned or who need the data of the statistics concerned in their own work before the data are published. 

 

Further information: Publication principles for statistics 

 

Unless otherwise separately stated in connection with the product, data or service concerned, Statistics Finland is the producer of the data and the owner of the copyright. The terms of use for statistical data. 

Statistical experts

Vesa Hämäläinen
Senior Statistician
029 551 2594

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