Understanding the Education System in Finland and its Requirements

Understanding the Education System in Finland

Finland has been consistently recognized for its quality education system. Its programs are designed to meet the needs of every child, regardless of their background and ability. Finnish schools aim to provide students with an equal opportunity to learn and develop critical thinking skills, creativity, and problem-solving.

To understand the education system in Finland, it is essential to consider the following aspects:

Early Childhood Education and Care

Early childhood education and care (ECEC) is an important component of the Finnish education system. The ECEC caters to the children aged 0-6 years. The focus of ECEC is not just on academic learning but also on the social, emotional, and physical development of children. The early years of a child’s life are crucial for their development, and Finland recognizes this by providing free ECEC services.

Basic Education

The Finnish education system is modeled around a nine-year basic education program. The basic education program caters to children aged 7-16 years. The aim of the basic education program is to provide students with a broad-based education and help them develop skills that will enable them to continue studying in senior secondary schools, vocational education, or universities.

The basic education curriculum comprises Finnish, Swedish, mathematics, science, social studies, religion/ethics, music, art, crafts, physical education, and a foreign language. The foreign language is usually English, but students can choose to learn other languages such as French, German, or Spanish.

Finland does not have standardized tests, and students are not graded until the ninth grade. Instead, the teachers assess the students through continuous feedback on individual progress. This approach aims to reduce stress among students and ensure every child receives attention and support from their teachers.

Senior Secondary Education

After completing the basic education program, students move on to senior secondary education. Senior secondary education comprises vocational education and high-school education.

Vocational education programs are designed to prepare students for the workforce. They offer practical and theoretical training in various fields such as technology, communication, health care, social services, and business.

High-school education, on the other hand, is designed to prepare students for university studies. High-school education offers a broad-based education that covers various subjects such as mathematics, science, social studies, and languages. Students also have the option to choose specialized programs such as music, art, or sports.

Higher Education

Finland has a world-class higher education system, with universities and polytechnics providing degree programs in various fields. The admission requirements for higher education vary depending on the program and institution. However, most degree programs require a senior secondary education certificate, proficiency in Finnish, Swedish or English language, and standardized tests in specific subjects.

Finland offers scholarships and grants to both domestic and international students to encourage diversity in its higher education system.


1. Is education free in Finland?

Yes, education is free for students in Finland, including higher education.

2. Can international students study in Finland?

Yes, international students can study in Finland. However, they must meet the admission requirements, including proficiency in Finnish, Swedish, or English language and standardized tests in specific subjects.

3. Does Finland have standardized tests?

No, Finland does not have standardized tests for basic education. However, there are standardized tests for senior secondary education and higher education.

4. Does Finland have private schools?

Yes, Finland has private schools that offer education programs alongside the public schools. However, the Finnish government finances most private schools.

5. Do students in Finland study in a foreign language?

No, Finnish students study in Finnish or Swedish. However, they have the option to learn a foreign language such as English, French, German, or Spanish.


Finland’s education system is a well-designed program that caters to students of all backgrounds and abilities. It provides students with an equal opportunity to learn and develop critical thinking skills, creativity, and problem-solving. The system is centered on continuous feedback to evaluate every student’s progress instead of standardized tests. As a result, Finland’s education system ranks among the best in the world.