Concepts and definitions

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.

Employer sector

The classification of employer sectors describes the ownership and corporate form of the workplace. It can be used for distinguishing between the public and private sector.

The classification used is as follows:

  • Public sector
- state

- municipality
  • State-controlled companies
  • Private sector
  • Other or unknown.

The information on the employer sector is based on data from Statistics Finland's Business Register on the type of owner and juridical (legal) form. The classifications relating to these are presented in the publication 'Classification of sectors'.

Main type of activity

The concept of main type of activity describes the nature of a person's economic activity. The population is divided into people in the labour force and those outside the labour force. These categories can further be divided into subgroups. The classification is based on data on a person's main type of activity during the last week of the year.

The following classification is used:

Labour force

  • employed labour force
  • unemployed

Persons outside the labour force

  • 0-14-year-olds
  • students, pupils
  • pensioners
  • conscripts, conscientious objectors
  • others outside the labour force.

Information on the main type of activity is based on data obtained from various registers. Where the data conflict as to whether a person is in the labour force or outside it, priority is given to the former. If, within the labour force, the data conflict as to whether a person is unemployed or employed, priority is given to the former.

The group "others outside the labour force" consists of persons who are not in the labour force and do not belong to the following groups: 0-14-year-olds, students, conscripts, conscientous objectors or pensioners.

Matriculation examination

Matriculation examination refers to a final examination of upper secondary general school which is set by the matriculation examination board and which a student studying the full upper secondary general school syllabus can take. Satisfactory pass of the matriculation examination leads to a matriculation examination certificate.

Qualification/Degree

In statistics on the educational structure of the population, transition form school to further education and work and progress of studies attainers of qualifications or degrees refer to completers of matriculation examination, international matriculation examinations (IB, Reifeprüfung or Gymnasieexamen examination), and attainers of vocational qualifications, university of applied sciences degrees, higher university of applied sciences degrees or university degrees by the end of the statistical reference year. Attainers of qualifications or degrees also include attainers of qualifications or degrees in the armed services, frontier guard service or abroad. One qualification or degree per person is included in statistics: vocational qualification attained at the highest level of education/most recently attained.

The data are obtained from Statistics Finland's Register of Completed Education and Degrees. Data can only be entered into the Register for persons who have a Finnish personal ID number. For this reason data on the qualifications or degrees of persons without a personal ID number, e.g. many foreign persons, are missing from the Register.

Student

In the statistics on students and qualifications of educational institutions, on progress of studies, on employment of students and on transition from school to further education and work, students refer to the students attending upper secondary general, vocational, university of applied sciences education and university education leading to a qualification or degree and registered at educational institutions on 20 September and, since 2004, in respect of preparatory education for a skills examination and apprenticeship training, between 1 January and 31 December of the statistical reference year. In the statistics on students and qualifications of educational institutions, students also include comprehensive school students according to the situation on 20 September. Up to 2001, data on students in university education describe the situation on 31 December and include attainers of a degree in autumn.

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Transition from school to further education and work [e-publication].
ISSN=1798-9469. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 21.3.2019].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/sijk/kas_en.html