Concepts and definitions

Apprenticeship training

In the statistics on vocational education, apprenticeship training refers to apprenticeship training leading to a vocational qualification. Apprenticeship training is a work-dominated form of studying in which the majority of vocational skills are learned at a workplace and then supplemented with theoretic knowledge studies, usually at an educational institution.

Apprenticeship training leads to the same initial vocational qualifications as vocational training organised in educational institutions. Further and specialist vocational qualifications can also be attained through apprenticeship training.

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.

Curriculum-based basic vocational education

In the statistics on vocational education, curriculum-based basic vocational education refers to education for which a curriculum has been specified (targets, entity and scope of studies, core contents, assessment). Qualifications obtained in the education are initial vocational qualifications for which the required prior education is completion of the syllabus of comprehensive school education.

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.

Foreign student

In the statistics on students and qualifications of educational institution, university of applied sciences education and university education foreign students refer to persons registered in educational institutions on 20 September of the statistical reference year as students of education leading to a qualification or degree whose nationality is not Finnish. In addition, students without information about nationality are counted as foreign students. Up to 2001, data on foreign students in university education describe the situation on 31 December and include attainers of a degree in autumn.

Further vocational education

Further vocational education refers to education leading to a further of specialist vocational qualification. Further and specialist vocational qualifications are obtained with skills examinations, that is, vocational skills are assessed in separate examination situations. Skills examinations for further and specialist vocational qualifications can be taken irrespective of the way of acquisition of vocational skills. Vocational skills can be acquired through education, working life or hobbies.

Initial vocational education

Initial vocational education refers to vocational education leading to a qualification. Qualifications obtained in initial vocational education are initial vocational qualifications, which are based on the syllabus of the comprehensive school education. The aim of initial vocational education is that once a student has obtained a qualification he/she will possess broad, basic skills in an occupation and specialist skills as per the completed training programme.

Initial vocational qualifications can be obtained either by completing a curriculum (young students) or by passing a skills examination (adult students). The scope of studies for all initial qualifications is 120 credits, or three years. If a qualification is obtained by passing a skills examination the scope can be less extensive than this as the student's previous skills are taken into consideration. A skills examination can be passed without attending preparatory education for it by demonstrating in skills tests the knowledge and skills required for the attainment of vocational skills.

New student

In the statistics on students and qualifications of educational institutions, new students refer to students who during the statistical reference year had registered for certain studies in a certain educational institution. In basic comprehensive school education new students refer to all pupils attending the first class. Statistical data are no collected on new students in basic education of adults.

The data concerning new students in 2012 was revised for university education: prior to 2012, only data on enrolment at a particular university was available for university students, from 2012 onwards, data on students that started a particular training programme at a university is available.

Up to 2001, only students having reported themselves as present were included as new students in university of applied sciences education.

Population

The resident population of Finland on 31 December is derived from the Population Information System maintained by the Population Register Centre. Since the data for 1993, Statistics Finland and the Population Register Centre have had the same reference period, the turn of the year at midnight, which means that the number of population has been the same.

Preparatory vocational education for a skills examination

Initial, further and specialist vocational qualifications can be obtained through skills examinations irrespective of the way vocational skills have been acquired. As a rule the qualifications are attained in connection with preparatory education for a skills examination. The providers of the education are obliged to organise the skills examinations as part of the preparatory education.

Qualification/Degree

In the statistics on students and qualifications of educational institutions attainers of qualifications or degrees refer to completers of matriculation examination, international matriculation examinations (IB and Reifeprüfung examination), Gymnasieexamen examination, attainers of vocational qualifications, polytechnic degrees, higher polytechnic degrees or university degrees between 1 January and 31 December of the statistical reference year. In comprehensive school education, attainers of qualifications refer to recipients of school-leaving certificates from comprehensive school. Qualifications and degrees completed and attained in the military field and abroad are not included.

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.

University education

University education refers to education provided by universities. Lower (bachelor's) and higher (master's) level university degrees can be attained in universities, as well as further academic degrees, e.g. licentiate's or doctor's degrees.

University of applied sciences education

University of applied sciences education refers to education organised in university of applied sciences. Students of university of applied sciences can obtain university of applied sciences degrees and higher university of applied sciences degrees.

Up to 2002 some university of applied sciences education was organised in temporary, experimental university of applied sciences, but even the last experimental university of applied sciences was given permanent status as of the beginning of 2003.

Upper secondary general education

In the statistics on upper secondary general education, upper secondary general education refers to general knowledge education leading to the completion of the full upper secondary general school syllabus (matriculation examination) or a comparable examination (IB examination, Reifeprüfung examination, EB examination or Gymnasieexamen). Individual upper secondary general school subjects can also be studied as a subject student in educational institutions providing upper secondary general education.

Upper secondary general education is provided in educational institutions of the following type:

15 Upper secondary general schools

19 Comprehensive and upper secondary level schools

63 Folk high schools.

Vocational education

Vocational education refers to initial or further vocational education leading to a vocational qualification. Initial vocational education is education leading to upper secondary level vocational qualifications. Initial vocational education can be curriculum-based education or preparatory education for a skills examination. For a number of years now, no new students have been admitted to post-secondary or higher level of vocational education.

Education leading to further or specialist vocational qualifications are further vocational education. These are always preparatory education for a skills examination and the qualifications are based on skills examinations. Vocational education is organised both as education provided by educational institutions and as apprenticeship training. Apprenticeship training is a work-dominated form of studying in which the majority of vocational skills are learned at a workplace and then supplemented with theoretic knowledge studies, usually at an educational institution. An apprenticeship contract is an employment contract between a student and an employer.

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Students and qualifications of educational institutions [e-publication].
ISSN=1798-7679. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 26.3.2019].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/opiskt/kas_en.html