Concepts and definitions

Additional education

In the statistics on comprehensive school education and special education and in the statistics on adult education of educational institutions, additional education in comprehensive school refers to the optional additional class (10th class) of one year's duration available for young people having completed the syllabus of comprehensive school education. Pupils in additional education also include special support receiving pupils that are in extended compulsory education.

Completers of comprehensive school

In the statistics on comprehensive school education and on entrance to education completers of comprehensive education refer to pupils who have satisfactorily completed the full comprehensive school syllabus and received a school-leaving certificate from comprehensive school. The full comprehensive school syllabus can be completed in comprehensive schools, upper secondary general schools and 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

Education refers here to education leading to a qualification or degree.

Education leading to a qualification or degree (qualification or degree-oriented education) refers to education leading to the completion of the full syllabus of comprehensive school (school-leaving certificate), completion of the full syllabus of upper secondary general school (matriculation examination certificate), International Baccalaureate certificate, Reifeprüfung certificate, European Baccalaureate certificate, Gymnasieexamen certificate, initial vocational qualification, basic vocational qualification, specialist vocational qualification, university of applied sciences degree, higher university of applied sciences degree or university degree.

Education leading to a qualification or degree is classified by the classification of education.

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.

Intensified support

In the statistics on special education in comprehensive schools and in the statistics on pre-primary and comprehensive school education, intensified support refers to support to pupils on which a learning plan for intensified support has been drawn up. Intensified support is provided to pupils who need for their learning or school attendance regular support or simultaneously several forms of support (e.g. remedial teaching, part-time special education, school assistant or interpretation services) The support arranged for the pupil is recorded in the learning plan that is drawn up based on pedagogical assessment in co-operation with the pupil and his or her guardian.

Pre-primary education

In the statistics on comprehensive school education and special education, pre-primary education refers to the education of pupils enrolled as pre-primary school pupils in comprehensive schools. Pre-primary education is education intended for children aged six who will be starting comprehensive education in the following year. In addition to pre-primary classes of comprehensive schools, pre-primary education is also provided in children's day care centres. Attendance of pre-primary education is voluntary. Pre-primary pupils also include special support receiving pupils that are in extended compulsory education.

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.

Qualification/Degree

In the statistics on comprehensive school education, a school-leaving certificate from comprehensive school can be regarded as a qualification from comprehensive school. A school-leaving certificate from comprehensive school can be obtained from comprehensive schools, upper secondary general schools or folk high schools.

School-leaving certificate from comprehensive school

In the statistics on comprehensive school education, a school-leaving certificate refers to a certificate issued to a pupil who has satisfactorily completed the full comprehensive school syllabus. A school-leaving certificate from comprehensive school can be received from a comprehensive school, upper secondary general school or folk high school. School-leaving certificates issued by educational institutes other than comprehensives schools are not included in the number of school-leaving certificates in the statistics on comprehensive school education.

Special education

In the statistics on special education in comprehensive schools and in the statistics on pre-primary and comprehensive school education, special education refers to teaching arranged from 1995 to 2010 for those accepted and transferred to special education and starting from 2011 that arranged for pupils receiving special support because of disability, illness, delayed development, emotional disturbance or some other comparable special reason. Part-time special education is also special education that pupils can have besides other teaching if they have difficulties in learning or school attendance.

In the statistics on special education in vocational education, special education refers (since 1999) to teaching that is organised because of disability, illness, de-layed development or some other reason for students requiring special teaching or student services. The law on vocational education obliges that an individual plan concerning the arrangement of teaching must be drawn up for the student.

Special support

In the statistics on special education in comprehensive schools and in the statistics on pre-primary and comprehensive school education, special support refers to support to pupils on which a written decision has been made concerning provision of special support. Special support is provided to pupils for whom the attainment of the objectives of growth, development and learning is not sufficiently realised with other supporting measures. Special support is arranged either in the scope of general or extended compulsory education and it is formed of special education and other support.

Before the decision on special support, the pupil and his or her guardian are heard and a pedagogical survey is made, including an assessment of the need for special support. The decision is checked at least after the second grade and before the transition to the seventh grade. An individual plan on the arrangement of teaching is made for special support pupils.

Support to learning and school attendance can be divided into general, intensified and special support. If general support is not enough, intensified support is provided. If intensified support is not enough, special support is provided. Comprehensive school pupils accepted and transferred to special education in previous years (1995-2010) are considered equal to special support pupils.

Subject student

In the statistics on adult education of educational institutions a subject student refers to a student who studies a specific subject belonging to the syllabus, but not the full syllabus, of comprehensive school or upper secondary general school education.

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Pre-primary and comprehensive school education [e-publication].
ISSN=1799-3725. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 13.12.2019].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/pop/kas_en.html