Finnish education

“We believe that all societies, institutions and individuals are able to make positive changes and achieve their full potential. Our passion is to facilitate this change through education solutions with the innovative know-how in Finnish education expertise.”

The welfare of Finnish society is based on knowledge and expertise – citizens need equal learning opportunities in order to secure and improve their know-how, leading to the success of Finnish education. Student performance in Finland is recognised to be among the world’s best with excellent learning outcomes in global study rankings such as PISA, TIMSS and PIRLS.

Finnish Education Infographic

Education input indicators


World’s most literate country in 2016. Source: World Literacy: how countries rank and why it matters / by John W. Miller and Michael C. McKenna



Top 20 Best Education Systems In The World in 2015/2016. Source: MBC times

2.8 hours/ week

According to a 2014 studyof 15-year-olds around the world, Finnish students spent 2.8 hours per week doing homework. Source: PISA in focus: Does Homework Perpetuate Inequities in Education?


Expenditure on education as % of total government expenditure (2012). Source: UNESCO Institute for Statistics


Pupil-teacher ratio in primary education (headcount basis) (2013). Source: UNESCO Institute for Statistics


19 years

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education) (2014). Source: Central Intelligence Agency


Public expenditure per student as % GDP per capita. All levels. Source: UNESCO Institute for statistics (UIS) Year: 2012


11.2% Public expenditure on education as a share of total public expenditure. Source: UNESCO Institute for statistics (UIS) Year: 2012

Education output indicators


Public expenditure on education as % of GDP in 2013. Source: OECD (2016), Public spending on education (indicator)


Finnish students score more than 20 points above average on reading, math and science performance tests (PISA). Source: OECD (2016), Reading performance (PISA) (indicator)


15-19 years old enroll to higher education


Graduate Upper secondary school. Source: OECD (2016), Graduation rate (indicator).

Finnish Education System

In Finland, pre-primary education, basic education and upper secondary education and training, complemented by early childhood education and before- and after-school activities, form a coherent learning pathway that supports children’s growth, development and well-being. Students’ opportunities to progress from one level of education to the next is safeguarded by legislation. Both general and vocational upper secondary certificates provide eligibility for further studies.

Higher education is offered by universities and polytechnics. Both sectors have their own profiles. Universities emphasise scientific research and instruction. Polytechnics, also known as universities of applied sciences, adopt a more practical approach. In a nutshell, Finnish Education System includes these levels: