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.

Adult education

In the statistics on adult education of educational institutions adult education refers to education, course or training programme that is designed for adults and lasts at least six hours.

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.

Participants in education

In the statistics on adult education of educational institutions participants in education refer to participants in adult education provided during the calendar year. The same person may have participated (during the same year) in a number of educational programmes in an educational institution, so the number of participants does not correspond to the number of person having participated in education.


In the statistics on adult education of educational institutions students refer to the students registered at educational institutions during the calendar year and attending education not leading to a qualification or degree. A person is included (as participant) in the gross number of students from each education he/she studies. Thus a student can be included more than once in the number of students in one or more educational institutions during the calendar year. Net number of students means that a person is included as a student only once in one educational institution during the calendar year.

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.

Teaching hour

In the statistics on the adult education of educational institutions teaching hours refer to the hours of teaching provided by teachers, e.g. lecturers, etc.

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Adult education of educational institutions [e-publication].
ISSN=1799-4551. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 5.12.2021].
Access method: