Education policy is defined by Parliament and Government. The Programme of the current Government was submitted to Parliament on 10 December 2019.
The aim of the Government is to build socially, economically and ecologically sustainable Finland by 2030.
Finland is a Nordic welfare state and its key pillars are:
• income security
• well-functioning health and social services
• high- quality education and high expertise.
Education and research are valued very highly in Finnish society. Education is regarded as a reason for individual freedom. Government’s aim is to build world’s best working life; to be a country with happy and competent professionals where every person’s knowledge and skills are put to good use.
In the 2020s, wellbeing of people is based on knowledge and skills and on work and entrepreneurship. Goal is to reach Finland’s level of education and competence back up to the top of the world.
The four education policy objectives of the Government are:
• The level of education and competence among the population will rise at all levels of education, differences in learning outcomes will decrease, and educational equality will increase.
• Children and young people will feel well
• Education and training will enhance gender equality and non-discrimination in society
• Finland will be an internationally attractive place to study, conduct research and invest
The Ministry of Education and Culture is the highest authority and is responsible for all publicly funded education in Finland. The Ministry is responsible for preparing educational legislation, all necessary decisions and its share of the state budget for the Government.
The remit of the Ministry of Education and Culture encompasses education and research. Universities and universities of applied sciences (UAS) are directly subordinate to the Ministry.
Ministry is also responsible for administration of the cultural, ecclesiastical, youth and sports sectors. From the beginning of 2013 early childhood education and care fell within the remit of the Ministry of Education and Culture. The sectors of education outside the administrative field of the Ministry of Education and Culture are:
• military training
• police and border guard training
• fire and rescue training
This employment training is the responsibility of the Ministry of Employment and the Economy.
The Finnish National Agency for Education is a national development agency
The Finnish National Agency for Education (EDUFI) works in close co-operation with the Ministry of Education and Culture. It is a national development agency responsible for developing education and training, early childhood education and care and lifelong learning, as well as for promoting internationalisation.
The Finnish National Agency for Education follows the development of educational objectives, content and methods according to the performance agreement with the Ministry of Education and Culture. The agreement is drawn up for a period of three years but is reviewed every year. It includes the tasks of the EDUFI as assigned by the Ministry.
At the beginning of 2017, the former National Board of Education merged with the Centre for International Mobility, CIMO, to form a new development agency named Finnish National Agency for Education (EDUFI, the Finnish name Opetushallitus remained unchanged). The Finnish Education Evaluation Centre (FINEEC) and the Matriculation Examination Board have operated as independent agencies within EDUFI since the beginning of 2018.
EDUFI’s tasks in a nutshell:
•developing education and training, early childhood education and care and lifelong learning, taking care of services and management duties related to them, and anticipating society’s competence and education needs
•drafting the national core curricula for basic and general upper secondary education, basic education in the arts, vocational education and training, and early childhood education and care
•facilitating programmes and contracts that promote internationalisation and providing consulting services for internationalisation
•providing services for student admissions
•producing information to support development and decision-making in our field, and developing the education field’s central information databases
•making decisions on the recognition of studies completed abroad as well as duties dealing with language and translator’s degrees.
The Finnish National Agency for Education is managed by a governing board, the members of which represent political decision-making, local authorities, teachers and social partners.
On regional level there are also 15 Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY). ELY Centres strengthen regional co-operation in adult education, as well as networking between organisers of education, enterprises and other stakeholders. The functions of the centres include improvement of operating conditions for businesses, support for rural economy, promotion of employment and the functionality of the labour market and, in relation to them, promotion of adult employment (labour market) training.
The agencies participate in forecasting developments in business and employment trends, and skill and educational needs. ELY Centres collect information on the state of the region's business life, the environment, employment and infrastructure. Based on this, they forecast future developments. In doing so, they aim to support regional decision-making by improving the underlying knowledge base. The local employment offices are subordinate to their respective regional Labour Market Departments of ELY centres.
The Regional Development Act, effective as from the year of 1994, has created a new category of regional organisation, namely, the Regional Councils, which draw up regional development plans in co-operation with the local authorities within their respective regions and the state authorities as well as representatives of economic life and non-governmental organisations. A central objective of the legislation on regional policy is to support the self-motivated and balanced development of regions.