Finnish Education System in a Nutshell

Updated: Sep 3, 2018

Finland is one of the few countries that do not follow global education principles. Finnish education system is based on quality and equality. What are other aspects of this system that keeps Finland rank among the top countries in PISA tests over many years?


A typical Finnish comprehensive school classroom (Photo by REX)

Education Principle

Finnish education is based on the principle of equality and inclusion.

Finnish education is based on the principle of equality and inclusion. The ultimate goal is to support personal development of each children with unique talent and personality in every possible ways.


Education Administration

Finnish education administration is comprised of several layers, for the creation and implementation of education policies

  • Finnish Parliament makes decisions on education policies

  • Finnish Government pays the statutory government transfer to education provider

  • Finnish Ministry of Education creates education guidelines and share budget

  • Finnish National Board of Education makes decision on national core curriculum


School Autonomy

Local schools have significant leverage in deciding what is included in the curricula.

Because national core curriculum is created as broad objectives and not detailed contents, local schools have significant leverage in deciding what is included in the curricula. The actual curricula in used is thus collectively created by national, municipal and local authorities.


Trusted accountability

Children do not have to take any exam until the end of post primary school year.

Finnish education system is built on Nordic strategy that is based on quality and equality. It tries to avoid external assessment of school's teaching quality, placing trust in the accountability of teachers. Teachers can choose to assess their student progress in which ever way they want, without worry about external assessment from outside parties. Children do not have to take any exam until the end of post primary school year. Standardised tests and ranking of schools based on test results for competition purpose are generally avoided. The differences between Finnish schools remain negligible. However, national core curriculum provides quality standards for teaching, which is used by schools for their regular self-evaluation.


Highly educated teachers

Teaching is one of the most respected profession in Finland.

Teaching is one of the most respected profession in Finland. Teachers are carefully selected from potential candidates who have a master's degree. They are required to complete annual pedagogical development. Teachers can decide local curricula, teaching methods and student assessment criteria.


An education system that is based on basic equality and implied responsibility is the key foundation for support of students with learning disability in general and Nonverbal Learning Disability (NLD) specifically. For more information, please refer to our blog articles.

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