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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Distribution of responsibilities


8.Adult education and training

8.1Distribution of responsibilities

Last update: 27 November 2023

Parliament passes legislation concerning adult education and training and decides on the resources allocated to it in the state budget. The Ministry of Education and Culture prepares legislation and government resolutions concerning education and culture and steers activities in its sector

The Ministry has the overall responsibility for education policy and for self-motivated adult education. In Finland adult education is seen to comprise self-motivated studies, labour market training and in-service training.

The Ministry of Education and Culture is responsible for self-motivated education and the labour administration for labour market training geared to enhance the operation of the labour market and to reduce unemployment. The aims of in-service training, which is mainly purchased by companies and public sector organisations, relate to business economics and productivity.

Adult education organisations are run by the government, local authorities, municipal consortia, private associations, foundations and companies. Education and training leading to qualifications is financed by the public administration, except university degree education, which is totally government-financed. Training leading to further and specialist qualifications is mostly publicly funded but may charge moderate fees.

About half of liberal adult education costs are covered by the government and the rest mostly comes from student fees and from the maintaining organisations. The purpose of state funding is to guarantee the largest possible provision without burdening the students with high fees. 

Employers purchase staff-development training from adult education institutions and firms. Labour market training is financed by the labour administration and mainly intended for unemployed persons and those aged 20 or over who are threatened by unemployment.

Some 800 educational institutions provide further and continuing education of varying duration, non-degree studies, as well as education leading to a qualification. Some of the institutions are specialised adult education providers. Adult education is available within the official education system and in liberal adult education in adult education centres, folk high schools and summer universities. Liberal adult education does not lead to a qualification but the studies completed in liberal adult education may be taken into account in preparatory training for competence-based qualification and when making an individual plan for completing competence-based qualifications. Learning mostly takes place in working life and through informal studies using networks, libraries and other learning environments.