Education system | Finnish National Agency for Education

The Finnish education system

The Finnish education system consists of

  • early childhood education and care
  • pre-primary education
  • basic education
  • general upper secondary education
  • vocational education 
  • higher education
  • adult education

Compulsory schooling consists of one-year pre-primary education for 6-year-olds and nine-year basic education for children aged 7-16.

Post-compulsory education consists of three-year general and vocational upper secondary education and training.  General upper secondary lead to matriculation examination and vocational to vocational qualification. 

Higher education system in Finland

The Finnish higher education system comprises universities and universities of applied sciences. Universities engage both in education and research and have the right to award doctorates. Universities of applied sciences are multi-field institutions of professional higher education. Universities of applied sciences engage in applied research and development.

First and second cycle higher education studies are measured in credits. Study courses are quantified according to the work load required. One year of full-time study is equivalent to 1600 hours of student work on average and is defined as 60 credits. The credit system complies with the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS).

Higher education qualifications in Finland are referenced at levels 6, 7 and 8 both in the National Qualifications Framework as well as in the European Qualifications Framework.

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