Published: 14 October 2021

Share of pupils studying English continued growing in lower grades of comprehensive school

According to Statistics Finland, studying English in grades 1 to 6 increased in 2020 compared with the previous year. A total of 93 per cent of pupils in grades 1 to 6 studied English. The share of pupils studying English in grades 1 to 6 increased by 10 percentage points from the previous year. Almost all students in grades 7 to 9 studied English. The share of those studying Spanish and German went up in grades 7 to 9, while the share of those studying French and Russian remained almost unchanged.

Studying languages in comprehensive school grades 7 to 9 in 2008 to 2020, percentage of pupils

Studying languages in comprehensive school grades 7 to 9 in 2008 to 2020, percentage of pupils
Data on studying Spanish as from 2011

The data on subject choices were produced for the first time mainly based on the KOSKI database maintained by the Finnish National Agency for Education. Due to the data collection change, the data are based on languages completed by comprehensive education pupils by the end of the school year in the school year 2020/2021, while previously the data collection inquired about the language choices made by pupils in autumn. The language selection data of basic education for adults are based on the languages studied by adult completers of basic education in 2020.

Eighteen per cent of pupils in grades 1 to 6 and 92 per cent of pupils in grades 7 to 9 studied Swedish as a foreign language. German was studied by ten per cent and French by five per cent of the pupils attending grades 7 to 9, mainly as an optional or elective foreign language. Altogether 98 per cent of those who had completed the curriculum in basic education for adults studied English.

A total of 364,461 pupils completed grades 1 to 6, of whom 186,424 were boys and 178,037 girls. The number of pupils having completed grades 7 to 9 was 179,635, of whom 91,969 were boys and 87,666 girls. Altogether 1,299 completed basic education for adults.


Source: Education. Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Vesa Hämäläinen 029 551 2594, koulutustilastot@stat.fi

Head of Department in charge: Hannele Orjala


Updated 14.10.2021

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Subject choices of students [e-publication].
ISSN=1799-1056. Subject choices of completers of upper secondary general school education 2020. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 26.10.2021].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/ava/2020/01/ava_2020_01_2021-10-14_tie_001_en.html