Finland Best Colleges and Universities

Finland Education Facts


The school system in Finland is similar to Swedish but has better results. Finland’s schools are among the best in the world. There is a voluntary one-year preschool for six-year-olds. The children start primary school at the age of seven. The nine-year compulsory school is compulsory and free of charge.

After elementary school, 95 percent of students continue to the three-year high school or vocational school for at least two years. Bachelor’s degree from upper secondary school or completed three-year vocational education gives admission to higher education.

Most schools are run by municipal authorities, but there are also private ones. About 8 percent of compulsory schools are Swedish-speaking. Teaching Swedish is compulsory in the Finnish-speaking schools.

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Finland has on several occasions been named the best educational country in the world. The elementary school has shown good results in international surveys of 15-year-olds reading comprehension and knowledge of mathematics and physics. One explanation is that the teachers are well educated and that the teaching profession is generally of high status.

The quality of teaching is consistent, which means that even children in socially vulnerable areas or those who do not receive as much support from home do well in school. Special efforts have also been made to train special teachers who can support students in need of extra help. A comparison between Western countries in 2010 showed that Finland offers the most equal opportunities for higher education economically, socially and sexually.

There are about 20 universities and colleges. The oldest is the Turku Academy, which was founded by Queen Kristina in 1640 and still conducts teaching in Swedish. The University of Helsinki (with teaching in both Finnish and Swedish) is the largest with around 35,000 students. Other important universities are in Tampere, Oulu, Vaasa, Joensuu and Jyväskylä.

There are also about 90 public colleges and extensive adult education.

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Proportion of children starting primary school

99.1 percent (2016)

Number of pupils per teacher in primary school

13 (2016)

Public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP

12.5 percent (2015)

Public expenditure on education as a percentage of the state budget

12.5 percent (2015)



Foreign Minister Soini manages to vote in confidence

September 21

A vote of no confidence is being held in Parliament against Foreign Minister Timo Soini from the New Alternative. Four opposition parties have asked for the vote since the Chancellor of Justice after an investigation called it “problematic” that May in May participated in a demonstration against abortions in Canada in connection with an official visit. Soini is supported by 100 members of Parliament, while 60 want him to resign. Four female members of the Assembly Party, who sit in the government together with the Center and the New Alternative, abstain from voting.


Trials of basic income end

April 23

The government decides that a two-year test in which a couple of thousand unemployed citizens have received a basic income instead of the traditional welfare support should end after the end of the year (see also January 2017).


Russian diplomat expelled

March 26

Finland expels a Russian diplomat as a result of a nerve poisoning attack on a Russian former spy and his daughter in the UK in early March. It is taking place in concerted action with some 20 countries, mainly in the EU, in solidarity with the British government accusing Russia of being behind the attack. In total, over 100 Russian diplomats are expelled, 60 of whom are from the United States. Moscow denies all involvement in the poison attack and threatens with countermeasures.


Strike against deteriorating conditions for the unemployed

February 2

Between 7,000 and 8,000 wage workers strike in protest against tougher conditions for unemployment benefits. The strike strikes the country’s ports and other transport systems as well as garbage collection, for example.


President Niinistiö is re-elected

January 28

President Sauli Niinistiö will be re-elected with a full 63 percent of the votes already in the first round of the presidential election. This is the first time since the system of two electoral rounds in the presidential election was introduced in 1994 that a second round is not needed. Niinistiö has been far ahead of its seven challengers in opinion polls before the election and in the media, the electoral movement has been described in terms such as “Niinistiö and the Seven Dwarfs”. Pekka Haavisto from the Green Party received the second most votes with 12 percent. The popularity of the incumbent president among Finns is partly due to his being considered to have done a good job during his six-year term, and partly to his good relations with Russia and its President Vladimir Putin. Many Finns traditionally see the President as a guarantor of national security by trying to strike a balance between the West and Russia.

Finland Best Colleges and Universities