Country information for Finland - Financing of inclusive education systems

Municipalities offer pre-primary education free of charge to every six-year-old (Source: IECE – Finland Country Survey Questionnaire, p. 2).

In early childhood education and care (ECEC) services, responsibility for educational funding is divided between the state (25%), local tax revenues and client fees. Client fees cover about 15% of ECEC costs. Fees are based on the size and income of the family and ECEC services are free of charge for low income families. In 2017, one ECEC place cost EUR 12,300 for the year.

ECEC teachers and child carers are employed by the municipalities or private ECEC providers. Their salaries are based on the collective salary agreement between Trade Unions and local government employers in Finland.

Local authorities and government co-finance basic education. Local authorities or joint municipal boards (consortia of municipalities) maintain most institutions providing basic and upper-secondary level education. Private institutions are under public supervision: they follow the national core curricula and qualification guidelines confirmed by the National Agency for Education. They also receive the same level of public funding as publicly-funded schools. Local authorities have a statutory duty to provide education for children of compulsory school age living in their areas.

Responsibility for educational funding is divided between the state and local authorities. The local authorities pay about 58% of the cost of basic education, general upper‑secondary education, vocational education and training and polytechnic education. In addition to providing about 42% of statutory funding, the government grants discretionary subsidies to education and its development and, in basic and general upper‑secondary education, funding for construction.

Teachers and principals are employed by the municipalities. Their salaries are based on the collective salary agreement between the teachers’ union and representatives of the local employers (Source: Financing of Inclusive Education – Finland Country Report).

From 2010, the quality of basic education was enhanced with the help of government subsidies. Funding was allocated to reduce the size of teaching groups, for example. The frequency of bullying or falling victim to bullying at school almost halved, thanks to the KiVa-koulu (cool school) project. This programme, aimed at enhancing safety at school, increased school satisfaction and motivation and reduced depression and anxiety. The Ministry of Education and Culture also granted special government subsidies to support education providers in adopting basic education quality criteria. Many programmes were launched to ensure the availability of competent and knowledgeable teaching staff. The aim was to increase participation in staff development training, enhance its impact and improve job satisfaction.

Every pupil has the right to receive their education, interpretation and assistance services, teaching and pupil welfare services (including the services of the school doctor and psychologist, dentist, therapists and social and health care) and any special aids required for participation in education free of charge. In addition, textbooks, other learning materials, tools, work materials, school transport, daily school meals, accommodation and full board, and the treatment of injuries sustained in accidents at school or during travel to school are free for all pupils.

Every pupil in Finland is assigned a place in a nearby school. Their parents can, however, choose another school, provided there is space in that school. The funding follows the pupil if the school is in another municipality (Source: Financing of Inclusive Education – Finland Country Report).

All students in vocational education and training are entitled to receive free instruction, free daily meals every school day and free accommodation in a hall of residence assigned by the educational institution. Students with disabilities are entitled to receive assistance services, other student welfare services and any special aids required for studying. Some services are offered by the educational institution, whereas others are organised as services provided by the student’s municipality of residence, in accordance with the Act on Services and Assistance for the Disabled.

The Upper-Secondary Schools Act provides that learners with disabilities and those who need special support for some other reason are entitled to assistance services, other teaching and learner welfare services and special aids, as required in their studies.


Last updated 24/03/2020            

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