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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
National reforms in school education


14.Ongoing reforms and policy developments

14.2National reforms in school education

Last update: 2 July 2024


The effectiveness of preparatory education for an upper secondary qualification (TUVA) was evaluated

The preparatory education for an upper secondary qualification (TUVA) supports students in preparing for general upper secondary or VET studies by providing individualized support and guidance. TUVA education started on 1 August 2022. The effectiveness of the TUVA education was evaluated through a survey with responses from 1,936 individuals across Finland. Additionally, extensive interview data was collected.

According to the evaluation, students are generally satisfied with the TUVA education, although there are differences in the adequacy of guidance. Teachers appreciate the program's flexibility but require more resources for special education and guidance. Challenges for the TUVA education includes the high number of non-native students and language proficiency requirements.

Education providers view the system as functional, but it is criticized for insufficient amount of special education. According to the evaluation, effective student welfare is crucial because the support needs of students in the TUVA education are diverse.

Proposed improvements include enhancing the funding system and clarifying students’ language proficiency requirements before starting the TUVA education.


Increase the minimum number of compulsory lesson hours for reading, writing and numeracy in primary education

The Government will invest in the learning of basic skills especially in primary level (ISCED 1). The aim is to provide pupils and teachers conditions that let them to focus on learning and teaching, to have more time and space to work without disruptions. 

One measure for reaching the aim is to increase the minimum number of compulsory lesson hours for reading, writing and numeracy. The increase will be carried out by adding 2 weekly lesson hours for Finnish or Swedish language and literature at year grades 1-2 and 1 lesson for mathematics at year grades 3-6.  The local level can make the decisions how to implement the additional lessons in practical schoolwork.

There will only be the increase in the number of lesson hours, the curriculum will not expand with this reform. Therefore, there will be more time for pupils to learn and for teachers to teach the content set in the curriculum. 

The Government will invest EUR 200 million in this reform. The increase in the number of lesson hours will be introduced in schools on August 2025. 

In addition, the legislation on learning support will be reformed in its entirety, aiming to reduce the administrative work for teachers and to make sure adequate support measures are available everywhere in the country. Every pupil and student must have equal opportunities to receive learning support. Different types of support will be harmonised and clarified nationally. One of the aims of the reform is, furthermore, to ensure that sufficient resources and competence will be made available to implement support measures in schools.


An engaging school community work model was introduced in Finnish schools in August

The objective of the engaging school community work model is to support school adherence and attendance, create an affirmative culture of action and reduce absenteeism in primary and lower secondary education. The model is part of the implementation of the Ministry of Education and Culture's Action plan to prevent bullying.

The engaging school community work model reduces and prevents school absenteeism in partnership with homes, supports pupil attachment to school by strengthening positive school culture and well-being, identifies and aiding pupils facing challenges in regular schooling, and strengthens basic skills attainment and learning outcomes.

Due to the engaging school community model some changes were made in the Basic Education Act as well as in the National Core Curriculum for Basic Education. The updated versions took effect on 1 August 2023. From that on it has been education providers’ duty to prevent absences of the pupil attending primary and lower secondary education and monitor and intervene absenteeism in a systematic manner. The education provider must report absence from school without permission to the pupil's parent/guardian.

More information at the sites on Ministry of Education and Culture in Finnish


Administrative reform on the provider of pupil and student welfare in Finland

The organiser of pupil and student welfare services changed from 2023 onward. The change is part of a wider administrative reform of health and social services in Finland. 

Reform of healthcare, social welfare and rescue services

The structure of organizing public health care, social welfare and rescue services was reformed in Finland. On 1 January 2023 the responsibility for organizing these services was transferred from municipalities to 21 wellbeing services counties and the City of Helsinki. Before 195 organizations were responsible for these services. The reform can be considered as one of the most significant administrative reforms in recent years in Finnish society.

The key objective of the reform is to improve the availability and quality of basic public services throughout the country as well as respond to the challenges of changing society. For example, the population is ageing and will need more services than previously. Also, the decline in the birth rate will lead to a smaller number of working-age population and a reduction in tax incomes. It is also important to curb and limit the increase in costs.  

The wellbeing services counties are self-governing. Their funding is based on the central government grant as they do not, so far, have the right to levy taxes. Differences in the service demands of the counties are taken into account when deciding on the funding.

Pupil and student welfare is one of the duties of the new wellbeing services counties

Responsibility for the education of 6 -18-years-olds remain for 309 Finnish municipalities also after the reform. But, as part of the reform, the responsibility for organising the student healthcare and welfare services transferred to the 21/22 wellbeing services counties from the beginning of 2023. The wellbeing services county where the school is located, is responsible for organizing healthcare and welfare services in their area regardless of the pupil’s or student’s place of domicile.

After the restructuring, the employer for school nurses and doctors, psychologists, and social workers changed. It is now a wellbeing services county instead of a municipality as prior to the reform. However, the healthcare and welfare personnel continue their work at schools and educational institutes just as they did earlier. Therefore, pupils and students as well as their parents and guardians may not notice any difference after the administrative change.


The positive discrimination funding will be recorded in the law

A special state subsidy - positive discrimination funding, also called equality funding - for early childhood education, pre-primary and basic education is recorded for the first time in the Act on the Financing of Educational and Cultural Provision. 

The positive discrimination funding is targeted at schools and early childhood education institutions located in a regions where thefollowing characteristics are high:

•    Share of population with low education level.
•    Unemployment rate.
•    Proportion of foreign-speaking population.

The aim of the special funding is to strengthen educational equality and reduce inequalities in learning. Although many pupils and students do well in school, the proportion of those who do poorly has increased. According to research, positive discrimination funding has a positive effect on the progress of pupils’ and students’ studies.

After the targeted funding is recorded in the law it will increase the effectiveness and predictability of the grant so that equality measures are better, more systematically planned and well established at the local level.

The act will be submitted to Parliament in the spring of 2022 and is expected to enter into force at the beginning of 2023.


Government proposal for a minimum number of school social workers and psychologists per pupil/student

Both comprehensive and upper secondary schools must have at least one social worker per 670 pupils/students and one school psychologist per 780 pupils/students. The law will enter into force at the beginning of 2022.

The statutory school social worker and psychologist-student ratio ensures more equal access and quality of these services in different parts of Finland. Better support for children and young people in schools promote the extension of compulsory education, improve opportunities to tackle bullying and also help to fill learning and well-being gaps caused by the corona. 
In addition, there will be some clarifications for school social worker eligibility requirements.

The government has admitted 29 million euros special state subsidy from 2023 onwards for hiring school psychologists and social workers.  

10 million euros were granted in 2021-22 as a special state grant to 120 municipalities and joint municipal authorities to be used for the recruitment of school psychologists and social workers and for the strengthening of collective pupil welfare services and preventive work.

Action plan to prevent bullying

The Ministry of Education and Culture, in cooperation with the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, has prepared a comprehensive action plan to prevent bullying, teasing, violence and harassment in schools and educational institutions. 

The means of the program range from actions to prevent bullying to teacher training aiming to promote well-being of pupils and students by various means. The goal is to ensure that every child and young person can attend school safely and to ensure zero tolerance for school bullying.

Activities to fight against bullying need to begin already in early childhood education and care. According to the action plan a separate programme is needed to support emotional intelligence and social skills in early childhood education and care as a means of preventing bullying and teasing. 

Provisions on bullying and harassment in the Act on General Upper Secondary Education and in the Act on Vocational Education and Training should be made more specific. Therefore, there is a need for some amendments to current legislation.

The action plan includes 14 measures, for example:

  • Equipping children with necessary tools to develop emotional intelligence and social skills already at the early childhood education. 
  •  Providing adequate training for teachers so they can detect and prevent bullying and loneliness among pupils, granting teachers and principals the authority to intervene in disagreements and act against bullies if neede.
  • Hiring more psychologists for schools.

Institutions are also encouraged to cooperate with police, social workers and youth workers to ensure a safe and peaceful environment. 

Bullying and teasing takes also place outside school time, at pupil’s leisure time. Youth workers meet students and young people outside of school and therefore the government considers it important to introduce the methods and practices used by youth workers in schools and educational institutions

More information: Action plan to prevent bullying – resources, education and legislative amendments at the centre

Program measures in Finnish: Ohjelman toimenpiteet