In Finland quality assurance is primarily the responsibility of education providers and the educational institutions themselves at all levels of education.
The education providers have a statutory duty to evaluate the education they provide and its effectiveness and participate in external evaluations of their activities. This duty is stipulated in the respective acts for each school form from ECEC to higher education. Self-evaluation practices are decided locally.
The legislation also requires that key results of evaluations must be published, but it doesn’t provide detailed instructions on the ways that the findings should be published.
External evaluations are mainly carried out by the Finnish Education Evaluation Centre (FINEEC). It operates as a separate unit within the Finnish National Agency for Education. FINEEC carries out evaluations related to education including the operations of education providers at all levels.
There are no school inspections or a national system for teacher evaluation, and the only national standardized test is at the end of general upper secondary education. Instead, the sample-based evaluations of learning outcomes as well as thematic and system evaluations form the basis of the national evaluation system.
The main objective of these evaluations is to
- develop education and support learning
- be part of the quality assurance processes for education
- provide data and information for evidence-based planning, policy decisions and performance-based steering locally, regionally and nationally.
FINEEC also supports education providers and schools in the development of their own quality assurance activities.
In higher education, key evaluation types by the FINEEC are the quality audits of higher education institutions (HEIs) and thematic evaluations as well as engineering programme accreditations.
Decisions regarding directions and financing of national evaluations are taken by the Ministry of Education and Culture. FINEEC has to draw up an action plan for external educational evaluation in accordance with the guidelines and financial resources set by the Ministry of Education and Culture. It has to make proposals for the development of educational evaluation and to promote educational evaluation research and co-operation as well.
Provisions on the duties and organisation of FINEEC are laid down in the Act 1295/2013 and Government decree 1317/2013.