European Education Area Progress Report 2021

Education and Training Monitor 2021


1. Key indicators

Figure 1 – Key indicators overview
Finland EU-27
2010 2020 2010 2020
EU-level targets 2030 target
Participation in early childhood education
(from age 3 to starting age of compulsory primary education)
≥ 96% 80.0%13 88.8%19 91.8%13 92.8%19
Low achieving eighth-graders in digital skills < 15% : 27.3%18 : :
Low achieving 15-year-olds in: Reading < 15% 8.1%09,b 13.5%18 19.7%09,b 22.5%18
Maths < 15% 7.9%09 15.0%18 22.7%09 22.9%18
Science < 15% 6.0%09 12.9%18 17.8%09 22.3%18
Early leavers from education and training (age 18-24) < 9% 10.3% 8.2% 13.8% 9.9%
Exposure of VET graduates to work based learning ≥ 60% : : : :
Tertiary educational attainment (age 25-34) ≥ 45% (2025) 39.2% 43.8% 32.2% 40.5%
Participation of adults in learning (age 25-64) ≥ 47% (2025) : : : :
Other contextual indicators
Education investment Public expedienture on education as a percentage of GDP 6.5% 5.6%19 5.0% 4.7%19
Expenditure on public and private institutions per FTE/student in € PPS ISCED 1-2 €7 55712 €8 31618 €6 07212,d €6 35917,d
ISCED 3-4 €6 56312 €5 96918 €7 36613,d €7 76217,d
ISCED 5-8 €13 63412 €12 55318 €9 67912,d €9 99517,d
Early leavers from education and training (age 18-24) Native 9.7% 7.7% 12.4% 8.7%
EU-born :u :u 26.9% 19.8%
Non EU-born 21.0%u 20.3%u 32.4% 23.2%
Upper secondary level attainment (age 20-24, ISCED 3-8) 84.2% 89.1% 79.1% 84.3%
Tertiary educational attainment (age 25-34) Native 40.2% 45.2% 33.4% 41.3%
EU-born 23.0u 31.7% 29.3% 40.4%
Non EU-born 25.9% 32.2% 23.1% 34.4%

Sources: Eurostat (UOE, LFS, COFOG); OECD (PISA). Further information can be found in Annex I and in Volume 1 ( Notes: The 2018 EU average on PISA reading performance does not include ES; the indicator used (ECE) refers to early-childhood education and care programmes which are considered by the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) to be ‘educational’ and therefore constitute the first level of education in education and training systems – ISCED level 0; FTE = full-time equivalent; b = break in time series, d = definition differs, u = low reliability, := not available, 09 = 2009, 12 = 2012, 13 = 2013, 17 = 2017, 18 = 2018, 19 = 2019

Figure 2 - Position in relation to strongest and weakest performers

Source: DG Education, Youth, Sport and Culture, based on data from Eurostat (LFS 2020, UOE 2019) and OECD (PISA 2018).

2. Highlights

  • Students’ well-being is embedded in the school curricula and well monitored. The pandemic particularly affected the well-being of secondary students.
  • Finnish students perform well overall in basic skills, but results are deteriorating; challenges persist regarding the attractiveness of the teaching profession and learning foreign languages.
  • The education budget is increasing; the ambitious reforms planned at all education levels will require additional funding; it will be supported by the National Recovery and Resilience Plan.
  • Participation in VET and adult learning is one of the highest in the EU, but the latter requires modernisation to attract adults with low skills.

3. A focus on well-being in education and training

Students’ well-being is monitored by regular nationwide surveys They include questions with regard to physical and mental health, lifestyle, self-perceived well-being, social relationships, students’ ability to study and related support needs. The main national survey of pupils’ well-being is the biennial School Health Survey (SHS) (Saaristo, 2016) conducted by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare’s (THL). It was launched in 1996 for students in lower secondary education, (8th and 9th grades), expanded to upper secondary in 1999, to upper VET students in 2008 and to pupils in primary education (4th and 5th grades) and their guardians in 20171. The SHS reaches over 70% of the target population and covers living conditions, schoolwork, and health-related behaviour and services. Its results are disseminated to schools and to the public. The SHS offers schools a reliable source of information on the effectiveness of their policies to foster a safe and engaging learning environment. In addition, many education providers use additional monitoring tools. Although most students have few problems with well-being, the need for psychologic help has been increasing over the past twenty years. The Trade Union of Education in Finland (OAJ) also monitors teachers’ well-being (Salmela-Aro et al., 2020).

The national Student Health and Well-being Survey (KOTT) found that the pandemic negatively affected the well-being of tertiary students. In tertiary education, the monitoring tool is the KOTT2. In 2021, the study gathered information on how the COVID-19 epidemic affected students. It found that remote studies and loneliness put a strain on higher education students. Half of the students felt that during the pandemic their workload increased. More than half of the students mentioned feelings of loneliness, and 40% of students stated that their financial situation deteriorated. The Ministry of Education and Culture (MINEDU) provided MEUR 6 for 40 initiatives to reinforce the well-being and guidance/counselling of students who have been following remote learning since the lockdown. MINEDU asked each university to present three actions to support students’ well-being by mid-April 2021 (HS, 2021b).

Well-being is embedded in the curricula and in the daily activities of schools. Well-being is addressed in the Finnish National Core Curricula (NCC) for all levels of education. The subject of health education addresses physical and mental well-being. Each school has to plan prevention and remediation measures to protect pupils against violence, bullying and harassment. Multi-professional welfare teams, led by the principals, support schools in that endeavour (Thuneberg et al., 2013; Vainikainen et al., 2015). In tertiary education, the universities provide counselling and psychological services through their student health services (FSHS).

Bullying is less frequent in Finnish schools and the school disciplinary climate is close to EU average. According to the 2018 PISA report (OECD, 2019a), 18% of students reported being bullied at least a few times a month (EU: 22%) and only 13% of students had skipped a day of school (EU 25%). Other indicators of the disciplinary climate correspond broadly to the EU average: 27% of pupils reported that their teachers have to wait a long time to quiet them down (EU 31%); 45% had arrived late for school in the 2 weeks prior to the PISA test (EU 41%). Boys and girls react differently to well-being issues. Substance abuse, absenteeism, and dropout during upper secondary education are more prevalent among boys, and they perform worse than girls in the school subject health education (Kupiainen, 2016, 2019).

Several programmes support well-being at school. The KiVa programme3 is an anti-bullying programme developed by the University of Turku - with funding from MINEDU - that offers a wide range of tools and teaching materials for schools. The programme is also distributed by licence to several countries around the world. Mieli 2.0 (Mind 2.0.)4 is a new mental health and anti-addiction programme. The Mannerheim League for Child Welfare5 and local actors such as the Aseman Lapset6 (Children of the Railway Station) in Helsinki offer peer tutoring for bullied pupils and students and their guardians.

The COVID-19 pandemic affected schools’ well-being. To monitor the impact of the pandemic, several targeted surveys have been launched with the support of MINEDU. The largest one, conducted from spring 2020 until autumn 2021, is a follow-up study covering over 100 000 pupils, students, guardians, principals, teachers, and other school staff (Ahtiainen et al., 2020, Vainikainen et al., 2021). In another survey by the Union of General Upper Secondary School Students, conducted in spring 2020 during the school lockdown, 60% of the respondents felt that their studies were mentally stressful (as compared to 40% a year earlier). Half of the respondents also reported that their workload increased due to remote learning (HS 2020b; Yle, 2020). The reduced capacity of school health services during the pandemic, in spring 2020, may have aggravated students’ well-being situation (Hietanen-Peltola et al., 2020; HS, 2020a). Another academic survey on the well-being of teachers and principals showed that half of the teachers felt exhausted, with 10% having burnout (Salmela-Aro et al, 2020).

The COVID-19 pandemic affected secondary education more than ECEC and primary education. There were no general closures in early childhood education and care (ECEC) and primary education during the pandemic (except for a nationwide school closure in spring 2020 for grades 4-6 of primary education), although there were differences between schools in the way instruction was organised. A large-scale survey (FNAE, 2020) with over 10 000 respondents reported that 29% of primary students followed the daily schedule exactly, 61% only partially and 10% not at all. Slightly over 50% of principals and teachers admitted that support for weak students has been less than usual. Secondary students were the most affected by the pandemic, with a nation-wide school closures in spring 2020 and another shorter one affecting many regions in winter 2020r/spring 2021. The Finnish Parents’ League (2021) called on the government to take prompt action regarding young people’s well-being. They argued that young people were not only burdened by uncertainty and lack of future perspective, but also with the economic and psychological stress put on families, the repercussions of remote education, and lack of sufficient support for learning.

Box 1: Digi-Winner - Strengthening digital well-being to promote social inclusion

The main objective of the 2018-2020 project, was to promote the digital well-being of young people, aged 15-29 and at risk of marginalisation, to prevent their social exclusion. The project involved around 450 participants and had a total budget of EUR 520 944 (ESF funding EUR 410 888).

Among the key results of the project are:

  1. Multidisciplinary working methods and operative environments were implemented in regional and online training pilots to support young people's digital welfare skills
  2. A training programme on digital well-being was developed and embedded into the activities of the pilot organisations and partner organisations.
  3. A digital well-being assessment toolkit was made available to everyone and disseminated regionally and nationally.
  4. Improved competencies and multi-disciplinary cooperation skills of professionals working with young people (according to the feedback of participants).

5. Strengthened digital skills and competencies of the young people participating in digital well-being training pilots, thus enhancing their digital well-being, according to the feedback of participants.

4. Investing in education and training

Overall funding for education is increasing, reversing the investment decrease during the last decade. In 2010-2019, there was a decrease in general government expenditure on education (in deflated values) of 5.5% (EUR 0.7 billion less), notably in tertiary education (10.2%, EUR 0.4 billion less). This contrasts with an average EU spending increase of 6.4% (4.2% in tertiary education). The major real expenditure reduction during this period took place in compensation of employees (minus 10%), whilst there was a 22% increase in gross capital formation (29% and 46% at primary and secondary level respectively). In 2020, the budget for education increased from EUR 6.4 billion to 6.9 billion, and this trend will continue also in 2021 with a planned budget of EUR 7.3 billion. In 2019, spending in education was 5.6% of GDP, similar to 2018 and above EU average (4.7%): almost fifty-fifty between central and local governments. In pre-primary and primary education, spending was 1.2% of GDP (1.2% by local government), 2.3% in secondary education (1.2% by central and 2% by local governments) and 1.7% in tertiary education (1.6% by central government)7.

Education funding in Finland is above the EU average, but lags behind that of its Nordic neighbours. In its opinion to the Parliamentary Education Committee on the 2021 Education Policy Report (MINEDU, 2021a), the Trade Union of Education in Finland (OAJ) calls on the Parliament to ensure an adequate level of funding for education, training and research. According to the OAJ, the report on education policy contains ambitious objectives, but the measures and the necessary funding are largely inadequate (OAJ, 2021a). It calls for a plan for a continuous increase in education investment to raise it up to the level of the other Nordic countries (6.9% in Sweden, 6.3% in Denmark, Iceland 7.1% and Norway 5.6%).

Box 2: The National Recovery and Resilience Plan

The EU will disburse EUR 2.1 billion in grants to Finland under the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) to help the country emerge stronger from the COVID-19 pandemic. Investments related to education and skills represent about 7% of the total budget of the Finnish Recovery and Resilience Plan. The Plan aims to contribute to the implementation of the ongoing continuous learning reform to enhance skills for the labour market, especially in the context of the twin transitions, including for those in the under-represented groups with low skills. The Plan also proposes an increase of at least 600 new places in general universities and universities of applied sciences in sectors suffering labour shortages (e.g. engineering, ICT, social and healthcare professions).

5. Modernising early childhood and school education

Although ECEC participation keeps growing, challenges persist in further extending it. Following the trend of the last few years, ECE participation of children above 3 years old was much higher in 2019 than in 2014 (88.8% vs 79.7%), but still considerably below EU average (92.8%) and the EU-level target (96%)8. ECEC participation is partly subsidised, and its fees depend upon family income. The Education Policy Report, presented to the Finnish Parliament in April 2021, stresses the need to increase attendance in ECEC and improve the availability of certified teaching staff especially for children with special educational needs (MINEDU, 2021a). The report lists the following key reasons for the relatively low ECEC attendance: the home care allowance and its possible municipal supplements, the fees charged for ECEC (even if subsidised and low compared to most other countries), and factors related to the quality of ECEC facilities. The Right to Learn 2020–2022 programme (MINEDU, 2020a) aims at increasing the ECEC participation rate by allowing smaller group sizes9, promoting professional development10 and conducting research in ECEC. The Forum for Developing Education and Training Provision and Programmes in Early Childhood Education and Care recommends (MINEDU, 2021b): a) stronger professional competence in a fast-changing ECEC environment; b) foresight and flexible education and training paths to meet the needs of the ECEC workforce; c) developing ECEC education and training programmes ; and d) better quality and cooperation in education and training provision and work environments to make it a more attractive profession and retain talent.

Figure 3 - Participation in early childhood education of pupils from age 3 to the start of compulsory primary education, 2014 and 2019 (%)

Source: UOE, educ_uoe_enra21

Overall performance in basic skills is good, but maintaining good performance is a key challenge (MINEDU, 2021a). The 2018 OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) confirmed that levels of basic skills remain close to the top for participating countries (OECD, 2019b). Nevertheless, there has been a negative trend in average basic skills performance since 2006, the sharpest decrease among PISA-participating countries (OECD, 2019c).

The teaching profession is becoming less attractive. The numbers applying to become class teachers nearly halved between 2013 and 2019 (HS, 2019). This negative trend may contribute to reducing teaching quality. High workload and staff turnover have become issues for concern. A new Teacher Training Forum was established in 2019 with the objective of improving the attractiveness of teacher education programmes, developing the professional competences of teacher trainers and strengthening the research base (MINEDU, 2019). OAJ calls for the establishment of a teacher register to provide a sufficient database for the foresight needs of the sector (OAJ, 2021b)

Implementation of the new national core curriculum (NCC) for upper secondary education starts in the academic year 2021/2022. The NCC 2019 for general upper secondary education (EDUFI, 2019) came into effect in August 2021. The quality and attainability of the general upper secondary education programme (MINEDU, 2021c), providing MEUR 15 in funding for 2021–2022, supports upper secondary schools in the adoption of the new NCC and in quality enhancement.

Measures are being taken to strengthen the quality and inclusiveness of ECEC and compulsory education. The Right to Learn 2020–2022 Programme11 has three goals: 1) to create equal conditions for learning paths (MEUR 120); 2) to provide better support for children’s learning, develop special needs support and effectively use nationwide measures to promote inclusion (MEUR 50); and 3) to strengthen the quality of teaching (MEUR 10). The programme provides for an equality fund aimed at reducing socio-economic, regional and gender gaps in learning (MINEDU, 2020b).

The extension of compulsory education until the students turn 18 will require further financial resources. Act 1214/2020 extended compulsory education to the end of secondary education (usually at age 18 or 19). MINEDU has calculated that the reform will cost MEUR 120 per year, while the Association of Finnish Municipalities estimates that the costs might be up to MEUR 150 (Aamulehti, 2021). Trade unions criticise the lack of concretely planned steps for action and sufficient financial resources to implement the education roadmap until 2040. They also note the lack of suitable indicators for monitoring it. They call for regular education policy reports, so that Parliament can monitor whether objectives are being met and, if necessary, need to be reoriented (OAJ, 2020).

Swedish-language education differs from education provided in Finnish12. An evaluation of Swedish-language education in Finland (Oker-Blom, 2021), pointed out that educational provision in Swedish differs from that in Finnish in many respects. This concerns in particular the number of teaching hours allocated to the instruction of the other national language (Finnish) in the early grades, the poorer availability and quality of learning materials, and the limited availability of qualified teachers, notably in ECEC and special education (Svedlin et al., 2013).

Foreign language studies are becoming less attractive. Since 2016, teaching of the first foreign languages starts in grade 1 (formerly grade 3) and that of the other national language in grade 6 (formerly grade 7). Students can start learning other foreign languages in lower secondary (EDUFI, 2019). The Ministry considers multilingualism as a strength (MINEDU, 2017a), while many students quit the language courses as they find them too demanding or time-consuming (HS, 2021a). This results in fewer students studying a foreign language other than English in general upper secondary school (notably German and French).

6. Modernising vocational education and training and adult learning

VET continues to be a popular study path. In 2020, 73.3% of all learners at upper secondary level enrolled in VET, including adult students. Upper secondary general education is more popular among students after comprehensive school (54 % vs 40 % VET)13. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the employment rate of recent VET graduates (aged 20-34) dropped from 80.4% in 2019 to 74.6% in 2020.

Following the 2018 VET reform, over MEUR 270 have been allocated for the period 2020-2022. The funding supports implementation of a three-year Programme on Quality and Equality in VET, adopted in June 2020. It aims to improve learning opportunities and outcomes, increase well-being and the sense of community, and support education providers in reforming their practices and responding to the changes in their operating environment. In 2020, MEUR 80 was allocated to 109 VET providers across Finland for either recruiting new teachers or increasing their teaching time, to ensure that all students are given the support they need. (Cedefop; ReferNet, 2021).

The flexibility of the VET system with its modular qualification structure and individual learning pathways has enabled an adaptation to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, it affected entry exams, guidance and validation of skills. The VET legislation was temporarily amended regarding the assessment of learner skills and competences in authentic work situations for the period from 1 July 2020 to 31 July 2021. (Cedefop; ReferNet, 2021). In October 2020, additional funding of almost MEUR 29 was allocated to VET providers to address the impact of the pandemic and for the organisation of tailor-made support and guidance for the most affected VET students.

The major reform to increase the minimum school leaving age from 16 to 18 adopted in 2020 came into effect in August 2021. It aims to increase competences, reduce learning gaps, boost equality and non-discrimination in education, improve the well-being of young people and raise the employment rate. The VET providers will have a clear guidance and supervisory role in ensuring that all learners find a suitable study place and acquire upper secondary level qualifications.

Participation in adult learning in Finland continues to be the second highest in Europe. In 2020, 27.3% of all adults aged 25-64 engaged in learning. However, the adult training system faces challenges due to a strong focus on formal education, limited alignment of training provision with labour market needs and suboptimal incentives to promote learning participation. Furthermore, Finland continues to have the largest gaps in learning participation between adults with low basic skills and adults with higher skills14.

Finland is implementing a parliamentary reform of the continuous learning system to address the identified challenges. A parliamentary working group adopted the policy directions for the reform in December 2020. The priority is to ensure a close link between education and employment services, so that all working-aged people can develop their skills and competences in response to the changes in the world of work. While well-being is not a specific reform priority, it is addressed through various reform measures. The strategy aims to increase opportunities for retraining, continuing professional development and professional specialisation education throughout working life, developing apprenticeship training as a channel for reskilling, and providing flexible opportunities to study in higher education institutions. Study leave and financial aid for adult students will be developed, and the opportunities for people to study while looking for work will be improved. The Parliament will monitor the achievement of the reform objectives annually. A separate action plan will be prepared.

In June 2021, the Parliament adopted the Act on the Service Centre for Continuous Learning. The service centre, which will be an independent unit within the Finnish National Agency for Education, will coordinate and develop training services and guidance for working age people, analyse skill development needs, support regional networks, and finance training activities. It is expected to start its operations in 2021.

7. Modernising higher education

Finland has set an ambitious national target of 50% for tertiary educational attainment by 2030. The tertiary education attainment rate is high, at 43.8% in 2020 (1.8 pps more than in 201915). The strategic vision for higher education and research 2030 aims to increase it further to 50% by 2030, above the EU-level target of 45% (MINEDU, 2017b). Free tertiary education, study allowances (in 2020, EUR 253 per month), and social support (such as housing allowance, subsidised meals and healthcare, and state-backed loans) makes higher education easily accessible to all, irrespective of social background. This also means that a further increase in enrolments in higher education would have significant budgetary implications. The Universities of Finland Association (UNIFI) calls for an increase of 100 MEUR per year to finance the expected increase in student enrolment, to provide all students with guidance and support, and respond to the growing students’ diversity (UNIFI, 2021).


Figure 4 -Tertiary educational attainment  (25-34) by sex, 2020

Source: Labour Force Survey, edat_lfse_03.

The higher education sector adapted well to the pandemic. Tertiary education functioned almost exclusively in remote mode from March 2020. Courses varied from traditional lectures with several hundred participants (always online) to smaller seminar groups or even individual counselling (mostly online).

The entry requirements to both general universities and universities of applied sciences have been reformed, raising concerns among students. The recent reform of the entry requirements for higher education is challenging upper secondary students. The reform gives more weight to the matriculation examination, based on the academic syllabus (see Pekkarinen & Sarvimäki, 2016; Kupiainen et al., 2016; Karhunen et al., 2021). However, an unexpected consequence of the reform has been the pressure put on students when choosing study subjects and the development of an unofficial ‘ranking’ of subjects according to the credit they yield in the application process (penalising foreign language learning). Another challenge is that results of the matriculation exams are published on a date close to the entrance exams (additional subject-specific tests are required for certain study fields), which leaves little time for preparation.

The expansion of study places cannot keep up with the increased demand, delaying entry to higher education for many students. There is a longstanding backlog of applicants (OECD, 2020a). In 2020, 85.5% of general upper secondary graduates applied for a place in higher education, but only 38.1% succeeded in being accepted in the same year (23% in general universities and 15.1% in universities of applied sciences). The rate were above 2019 figures (82% applicants, success rate 28%) (SVT, 2019). The change was mostly due to expansion of study places and reform to entry system. The figures for 2021 seems to be about same size. In spring 2021, of almost 157 000 applicants only 53 400 were accepted. For 2021-22, around 6 000 new study places were made available which amount up to 10 200 new places created in 2020-2022 (MINEDU, 2021d). An additional challenge is the students’ low rate of progress throughout their studies. In 2019, two thirds of the students at universities of applied sciences, but only one third of the students in research universities, received their degree within the intended time frame.

Gender disparities persist in higher education enrolment. Due to girls’ higher achievement in compulsory education, they are overrepresented in both general upper secondary education and in higher education, in particular in the fields of social sciences and humanities. However, girls shy away from STEM subjects and are, therefore, underrepresented in the technical fields. In 2019, women represented 27.2% of total STEM graduates (almost the same as in 2018), below EU average (32.3%)16.

8. References

Aamulehti (2020). Kuntaliitto: Oppivelvollisuusiän noston hinta 150 miljoonaa vuodessa – 20 miljoonaa enemmän kuin hallitus arvioi (The cost of raising the compulsory school age is 150 million a year - 20 million more than the government estimates). M. Liiten.

Ahtiainen, R., Asikainen, M., Heikonen, L., Hienonen, N., Hotulainen, R., Lindfors, P., Lindgren, E., Lintuvuori, M., Oinas, S., Rimpelä, A., & Vainikainen, M.-P. (2020). Koulunkäynti, opetus ja hyvinvointi kouluyhteisössä koronaepidemian aikana: Ensitulokset (School attendance, instruction and well-being in school communities during the COVID10 pandemic: Preliminary results).

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Finnish Parents’ League (2021). Nuorten hyvinvointi vaatii hallitukselta kiireisiä toimenpiteitä (The well-being of young people needs urgent action from the Government).

FNAE (2020). Distance education in Finland during the COVID-19 crisis. Initial observations. Finnish National Agency for Education.

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HS (2019). Luokanopettajakoulutukseen hakevien määrä romahti, mutta opettajapula ei vielä ole näköpiirissä (The number of applicants to teacher education collapsed but there is no teacher shortage in view yet). Helsingin Sanomat, H. Korpela,

HS (2020a). Koronaepidemian vaikutukset näkyvät nuorisolääkärin vastaanotolla: ‘Toinen toistaan kipeämpiä nuoria’. (The effects of the COVID19 pandemic can be seen in the youth doctor’s clinic: ‘Each youth is more ill than the next’) Helsingin Sanomat, Pauliina Grönholm

HS (2020b). Etäopetukseen siirtyminen huolettaa lukiolaisia – 60 prosenttia kokenut käytännön henkisesti raskaana (Return to remote education worries upper secondary students – 60 per cent have found the it mentally hard). Helsingin Sanomat, P. Grönholm.

HS (2021a). Koulutusselonteolle tuli tuoreeltaan kiitosta ja moitteita kansanedustajilta (The Education policy report received commendations and critique). Helsingin Sanomat, M. Liiten,

HS (2021b). Ministeri Saarikko vaatii kaikilta korkeakouluilta kolme toimenpidettä opiskelijoiden hyvinvoinnin kohentamiseksi huhtikuun puoliväliin mennessä. (Minister Saarikko requires all tertiary education institutes to take three measures before mid-April to improve students’ well-being) Helsingin Sanomat Marjukka Liiten.

Karhunen, H., Pekkarinen, T., Suhonen, T., & Virkola, T. (2021) Opiskelijavalintauudistuksen seurantatutkimuksen väliraportti. (Interim report of the follow-up study of the tertiary student selection reform). Valtion taloudellinen tutkimuskeskus VATT Muistiot 62.

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Kupiainen, S., Marjanen, J., & Ouakrim-Soivio, N. (2018). Ylioppilas valintojen pyörteissä. Lukio-opinnot, ylioppilastutkinto ja korkeakoulujen opiskelijavalinta. (Students in the whirlwind of choices. Upper secondary studies, the matriculation examination, and higher education student selection).  Suomen ainedidaktisen tutkimusseuran julkaisuja. Ainedidaktiikan tutkimuksia 14.

Kupiainen, S. & Hotulainen, R. (2019). Erilaisia luokkia, erilaisia oppilaita (Different classes, different students). In J. Hautamäki, I. Rämä, & M.-P. Vainikainen (Toim.) Perusopetus, tasa-arvo ja oppimaan oppiminen. Valtakunnallinen arviointitutkimus peruskoulun päättövaiheesta. Kasvatustieteellisiä tutkimuksia 52/2019, 139–165. Helsingin yliopisto.

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MINEDU (2017b). Vision for higher education and research in Finland 2030.

MINEDU (2019). Opettajankoulutuksen kehittäminen jatkuu Opettajankoulutusfoorumissa (The development of teacher education continues in the Teacher Education Forum). Ministry of Education and Culture. Tiedote

MINEDU (2020a). The Right to Learn. An equal start on the learning path: Early education and care. Ministry of Education and Culture.

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MINEDU (2021a). Education Policy report: Equitable education of high quality essential for growing skills requirements and shrinking age cohorts in Finland. Ministry of Education and Culture. 

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MINEDU (2021c). Lukiokoulutuksen laatu- ja saavutettavuusohjelma (Programme for the quality and attainability of general upper secondary education). Available in FI, SWE.

MINEDU (2021d). Runsaat 10 200 aloituspaikkaa lisää korkeakouluihin vuosina 2020–2022. (Over 10 200 additional study positions in higher education in 2020–2022). Ministry of Education and Culture. 

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OAJ (2021a). OAJ sivistysvaliokunnalle: Koulutustason nosto ei ole mahdollista ilman riittäviä resursseja. (The Trade Union of Education Finland to the Parliamentary Education and Culture Committee: Raising the education level is not possible without adequate resources). The Trade Union of Education in Finland. 

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Annex I: Key indicators sources

Indicator Eurostat online data code
Early leavers from education and training educ_uoe_enra21
Low achieving eighth-graders in digital skills IEA, ICILS.
Low achieving 15-year-olds in reading, maths and science OECD (PISA)
Early leavers from education and training Main data: edat_lfse_14.
Data by country of birth: edat_lfse_02.
Exposure of VET graduates to work based learning Data for the EU-level target is not available. Data collection starts in 2021. Source: EU LFS.
Tertiary educational attainment Main data: edat_lfse_03.
Data by country of birth: edat_lfse_9912.
Participation of adults in learning Data for the EU-level target is not available. Data collection starts in 2022. Source: EU LFS.
Public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP gov_10a_exp
Expenditure on public and private institutions per student educ_uoe_fini04
Upper secondary level attainment edat_lfse_03

Annex II: Structure of the education system

Source: European Commission/EACEA/Eurydice, 2021. The Structure of the European Education Systems 2021/2022: Schematic Diagrams. Eurydice Facts and Figures. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.

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2 survey-kott-?redirect=%2Fen%2Fweb%2Fthlfi-en%2Fresearch-and-expertwork%2Fprojects-and-             programmes%2Fcurrent-research-and-projects





7 Eurostat: gov_10a_exp

8 Eurostat: educ_uoe_enra21

9 In all-day care currently, 4 children per adult for 0–3-year-olds with a group-size of max 12 children, 7 per adult for over 3-year-olds with a group size of max. 21 children.

10 Trade unions OAJ suggest raising the academic requirement for ECEC teachers from Bachelor to Master degree.


12 Education in Finland is provided in both Finnish and Swedish at all education levels. In 2020 the share of Swedish-speaking population was 5.2%.


14 OECD (2020), Continuous learning and Working Life in Finland, Getting Skills Right, OECD Publishing, Paris

15 Eurostat:  edat_lfse_03

16 Eurostat: Educ_uoe_grad02