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Challenges and tendencies - Finland

National Evaluation and Equality

The tendency in Finnish Basic Education is to implement inclusive settings as broadly as possible. It requires an extensive support system in schools to provide adequate help for diverse learners. According to the results of PISA-investigations, the Finnish educational system has succeeded to support the weakest pupils very well in basic education. It seems that the support has been provided mostly in the form of special needs education. 22% of the pupils in basic education participated in part-time SNE in the school year 2004- 2005. In the school year 2005-2006 7, 3 % of the pupils had an official decision concerning SNE (Finnish Statistics). There is no extensive statistical information about remedial lessons. About 15 % of the pupils received remedial lessons during the autumn season 2004 (The Finnish Education Evaluation Council). When interpreting the statistics, please take into account that it is possible for a single pupil to be enrolled in or transferred into SNE, achieve part-time special education and also receive remedial lessons during the same school year. In other words the statistical figures presented above are partly overlapping.

The amount of pupils with SEN receiving lessons in mainstream settings has increased during recent years. The mode of part-time SNE is very inclusive in its practises. Also the decreased number of special schools relates the tendency of inclusion. The provision of special needs education in Finnish schools is adequate with a large participation of pupils. One could perhaps ask, are all the pupils receiving SNE in actual need of it? Could some of them gain adequate help by remedial lessons or differentiated lessons in mainstream settings instead of SNE?

We need more scientific data about the actual special educational needs of the pupils in basic education. The information we have is about pupils’ participation in SNE. According to the latest reviews (Kuusela, J. 2006) concerning support for studies in Finnish basic education, the provision of support varies remarkably between different municipalities. This means that the system has not fully achieved a state of educational equality. Pupils with the same educational needs are supported in different ways and to a different extent depending on their place of residence. We need to know more about the adequacy and extent of the provision of SNE. We also need more precise information on the adequacy and the quality of support services for different groups of pupils with SEN.

 

Sources:

  • Arvioimalla laatua koulutukseen- Ajatuksia paikalliseen ja seudulliseen arviointiin (2006). Niemi, E.K.. Opetushallitus.
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