1. Mature students number 1.7 million

In 2006 a total of 1.7 million persons participated in adult education or training, that is, education arranged and organised especially for mature students. This equals one-half of the 18 to 64-year-old population. Participation in adult education and training increased clearly at the turn of the 1980’s and 1990’s and again upon entering the 2000's, but now the increase in the number of participants has stopped. In 2006 the number of participants was roughly the same as in 2000.

Table 1. Participation in adult education and training by gender in 1980, 1990, 1995, 2000 and 2006 (population aged 18-64) Participants of population (thousand)

  1980 1990 1995 2000 2006
1 000 % 1 000 % 1 000 % 1 000 % 1 000 %
Males 400 27 698 43 706 43 799 49 758 45
Females 541 37 829 52 850 53 955 59 949 58
Total 941 32 1 526 47 1 556 48 1 754 54 1 707 52

Women are more active participants in adult education and training than men

Women were more eager mature students than men. In 2006 nearly three-fifths of women and fewer than one-half of men took part in education and training for mature students. Women’s participation rate has been at least 10 percentage points higher than that of men since 1980.

Figure 1. Participation in adult education and training by gender in survey years 1980, 1990, 1995, 2000 and 2006 (population aged 18-64)

Figure 1. Participation in adult education and training by gender in survey years 1980, 1990, 1995, 2000 and 2006 (population aged 18-64)

The most active participants in adult education and training were aged 25 to 54. Nearly 60 per cent of them had participated in adult education and training in 2006. Participation amounted to some 40 per cent among the under 25-year-olds and the over 55-year-olds. Participation rate among the youngest mature students, that is, the 18 to 24-year-olds, decreased between the years 2000 and 2006. In other age groups the participation rate has remained on level with the first years of the 2000s.

The educated participate in adult education and training more often than others

Persons with a high level of educational attainment were the most active in participating in adult education and training. One-third of the persons who have completed comprehensive school, elementary school or middle school, nearly one-half of the persons who have completed upper secondary level education and two-thirds of persons who have completed tertiary level education participated in adult education and training in 2006. The participation of persons with upper secondary and tertiary level education decreased somewhat from the year 2000.

Figure 2. Participation in adult education and training by highest level of educational attainment in 1990, 1995, 2000 and 2006 (population aged 18-64)

Figure 2. Participation in adult education and training by highest level of educational attainment in 1990, 1995, 2000 and 2006 (population aged 18-64)

Participation was most active in Southern Finland

In Southern Finland more than every second person participated in adult education and training. In the other provinces the participation rate ranged between 45 and 50 per cent of the 18 to 64-year-olds.

Figure 3. Participation in adult education and training by province of residence in 2006 (population aged 18-64)

Figure 3. Participation in adult education and training by province of residence in 2006 (population aged 18-64)

Some 46,000 Finnish residents studied abroad in 2006

One in a hundred 18 to 64-yeal-olds, or some 46,000 persons, studied abroad in 2006. Fifteen per cent of the persons in this age group had studied abroad at some point. The proportion of persons having studied abroad has varied very little during 1980–2006.


Source: Adult Education Survey 2006, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Kirsti Pohjanpää (09) 1734 2604, Helena Niemi (09) 1734 2488, Timo Ruuskanen (09) 1734 3620

Director in charge: Riitta Harala


Updated 31.12.2008

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Participation in adult education [e-publication].
ISSN=2489-6926. Participation in adult education and training 2006, 1. Mature students number 1.7 million . Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 27.5.2019].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/aku/2006/01/aku_2006_01_2008-12-31_kat_001_en.html