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Concepts and definitions

Additional education

Voluntary, general education lasting one school year intended for those having attained a primary or lower secondary education certificate in the same or previous year.

Comment:

Additional education also includes pupils receiving special support in extended compulsory education.

Bachelorís degree

Lowest degree completed at university.

Bachelorís degree

Lowest degree attained at a university of applied sciences.

Comprehensive education

General education intended for everyone, with a statutory extent of the syllabus of nine years.

Comment:

Comprehensive education is provided in comprehensive schools. In addition, it can also be provided in folk high schools, general upper secondary schools for adults or other educational institutions. By participating in comprehensive education or acquiring the corresponding knowledge in other ways, the statutory syllabus of the Basic Education Act 628/1998 is completed.

Comprehensive education for adults

Education aiming at a primary and lower secondary education certificate intended for persons over the compulsory school age who have not completed the comprehensive education syllabus.

Comment:

In comprehensive education for adults, people over the compulsory school age can also supplement their comprehensive education qualification or improve their grades in the subjects of comprehensive education.

Comprehensive school

An educational institution providing basic general education to an entire age cohort.

Comprehensive school leaver

Pupils in compulsory school age who have satisfactorily completed the full syllabus of comprehensive school education and received a school-leaving certificate from comprehensive school education.

Doctoral degree

Highest third-cycle degree obtained at university.

Education

Education refers here to education leading to a qualification or degree.

Education leading to a qualification or degree (qualification or degree-oriented education) refers to education leading to the completion of the full syllabus of comprehensive school (school-leaving certificate), completion of the full syllabus of upper secondary general school (matriculation examination certificate), International Baccalaureate certificate, ReifeprŁfung certificate, European Baccalaureate certificate, Gymnasieexamen certificate, initial vocational qualification, basic vocational qualification, specialist vocational qualification, university of applied sciences degree, higher university of applied sciences degree or university degree.

Education leading to a qualification or degree is classified by the classification of education.

Education

An organised activity, the aim of which is to produce competence based on teaching.

Comment:

Education can be divided into education and training leading to a qualification or degree and non-qualification studies.

Educational system

The Finnish educational system is comprised of the following:

Pre-primary education is provided in Finland to 6-year-old children, usually at children's day care homes. Some 6-year-old children receive pre-primary education in comprehensive schools. Attendance of pre-primary education has been compulsory since 2015.

Comprehensive school education is general knowledge education provided for entire age cohorts. All children permanently resident in Finland must attend compulsory education. Compulsory education starts in the year of the child's seventh birthday.

Compulsory education finishes when the syllabus of comprehensives school education has been completed (9-year comprehensive school), or 10 years from the start of compulsory education. In exceptional cases compulsory education may start already at the age of six and last 11 years due to a disability or illness. A student who has received a leaving certificate from comprehensive school in the same year or in the year before it may continue to attend optional additional education (10th grade).

Post-comprehensive school education, or upper secondary general education and vocational education represent secondary level of education. Upper secondary general school education is education leading to a matriculation examination. Its scope is three years and it gives general eligibility to further education. Vocational education can be either educational institution-based or apprenticeship training. In apprenticeship training, most of the studying is comprised of learning through practical work tasks at a workplace. The qualifications are initial vocational qualifications attained in three years, which also give general eligibility to further polytechnic or university studies.

Further and specialist vocational qualifications represent further vocational education. They, as well as initial vocational qualifications can be attained in a skills examination that can be taken irrespective of the way of acquisition of professional skills, and in which skills can be proven on the basis of preparatory education for a skills examination or work experience.

Attainment of university of applied sciences degrees takes 3.5 to 4.5 years and higher university of applied sciences degrees requiring work practice 1-1.5 years. Attainment of lower university degrees takes three years while higher university degrees take two years longer. Attainers of higher level university degrees may continue their studies to licentiate and doctorate level degrees.

Foreign student

In the statistics on students and qualifications of educational institution, university of applied sciences education and university education foreign students refer to persons registered in educational institutions on 20 September of the statistical reference year as students of education leading to a qualification or degree whose nationality is not Finnish. In addition, students without information about nationality are counted as foreign students. Up to 2001, data on foreign students in university education describe the situation on 31 December and include attainers of a degree in autumn.

Further vocational qualification

A vocational qualification demonstrating professional competence tailored to the needs of working life, which is more advanced than an initial vocational qualification or targeted at more limited tasks.

General education

Education intended to provide information and skills which facilitate functioning and influencing in society.

Comment:

General education comprises pre-primary education, comprehensive education, general upper secondary education and other non-vocational studies, for example, at liberal adult education institutions.

Grade

Pupils at the same stage of education.

Comment.

Comprehensive school is divided into grades 1 to 9.

Additional education, i.e., the 10th grade, is also considered part of comprehensive school.

Initial vocational qualification

A vocational qualification demonstrating broad-based basic vocational skills for different tasks in the field, as well as more specialised skills and professional competence required in working life in at least one sub-area related to working life.

Level of education

Category into which programmes leading to a qualification or degree are divided on the basis of the requirement level.

Comment:

Selection to education on a particular level of education often requires completion of a lower level of education.

The level of education is measured on the basis of both the overall duration or target time of the education and the requirement level.

Levels of education: early childhood education and care and pre-primary education (duration varies), primary education (6 years), lower secondary education (3 years, in total 9 years from the beginning of comprehensive education), upper secondary education (3 years, in total 12 years from the beginning of comprehensive education), post-secondary non-tertiary education (1-2 years, in total 13-14 years from the beginning of comprehensive education), lowest tertiary education (2-3 years, in total 14-15 years from the beginning of comprehensive education), bachelor's or equivalent level (3-4 years, in total 15-16 years from the beginning of comprehensive education), master's or equivalent level (5-6 years, in total 17-18 years from the beginning of comprehensive education) and second stage of tertiary education (2-4 years, in total 19-22 years from the beginning of comprehensive education).

The level of education indicator cannot be calculated directly on the basis of the duration presented in this concept.

Licentiate degree

Lower third-cycle degree obtained at university.

Comment:

A licentiate degree is the second highest university degree as an intermediate qualification in third-cycle education. Exceptions are the fields of medicine, dentistry and veterinary science, where a licentiate degree is a masterís degree.

Masterís degree

University degree obtained at a university of applied sciences based on a university of applied sciences degree or other applicable university degree.

New student

In the statistics on students and qualifications of educational institutions, new students refer to students who during the statistical reference year had registered for certain studies in a certain educational institution. In basic comprehensive school education new students refer to all pupils attending the first class. Statistical data are no collected on new students in basic education of adults.

The data concerning new students in 2012 was revised for university education: prior to 2012, only data on enrolment at a particular university was available for university students, from 2012 onwards, data on students that started a particular training programme at a university is available.

Up to 2001, only students having reported themselves as present were included as new students in university of applied sciences education.

Population

The resident population of Finland on 31 December is derived from the Population Information System maintained by the Population Register Centre. Since the data for 1993, Statistics Finland and the Population Register Centre have had the same reference period, the turn of the year at midnight, which means that the number of population has been the same.

Pre-primary education

General education, in which children mainly take part in the year preceding the start of compulsory education and the aim of which is to improve the childís learning prerequisites.

Comment:

Pre-primary education can be provided at a day-care centre or comprehensive school.

Programme leading to a qualification or degree; formal education

Programme leading to a qualification or degree refers to education comprising the comprehensive education syllabus, the general upper secondary education syllabus, the matriculation examination, the international diplomas, the Gymnasieexamen diploma, or education and training leading to an initial vocational qualification, a further vocational qualification, a specialist vocational qualification, a bachelorís degree, a masterís degree, a licentiate, a doctoral degree, or a specialist degree in veterinary medicine.

Pupil

A learner studying in pre-primary or comprehensive education.

Comment:

Pupils refer to all pupils registered in comprehensive school: pupils in pre-primary education, pupils attending grades 1 to 9 and pupils in additional education (10th grade pupils).

Pupils also refer to persons receiving pre-primary education in day-care centres.

Qualification or degree

In the statistics on students and qualifications of educational institutions attainers of qualifications or degrees refer to completers of matriculation examination, international matriculation examinations (IB and ReifeprŁfung examination), Gymnasieexamen examination, attainers of vocational qualifications, polytechnic degrees, higher polytechnic degrees or university degrees between 1 January and 31 December of the statistical reference year. In comprehensive school education, attainers of qualifications refer to recipients of school-leaving certificates from comprehensive school. Qualifications and degrees completed and attained in the military field and abroad are not included.

Right to study

The right to complete a qualification or degree or participate in education or teaching.

School-leaving certificate

Certificate of completing the full syllabus of a certain education.

Comment:

School-leaving certificates include, for example, school-leaving certificates from comprehensive school or general upper secondary education certificates.

Sector of education

Comprehensive education, general upper secondary education, vocational education, university of applied sciences education, university education.

Specialistís degree in medicine

Specialistís degree in veterinary medicine and specialistís degree in medicine and dentistry completed before 1 February 2015.

Student

A learner studying in other than pre-primary or comprehensive education.

Comment

Students include persons studying in general upper secondary school, vocational upper secondary education and training, tertiary education and liberal adult education.

Adults studying in comprehensive education are also referred to as students.

In Statistics Finland's statistics the concept refers to upper secondary and tertiary level students.

In Statistics Finland's statistics students are required to be registered at an educational institution.

Student

In the statistics on students and qualifications of educational institutions, on progress of studies, on employment of students and on transition from school to further education and work, students refer to the students attending upper secondary general, vocational, university of applied sciences education and university education leading to a qualification or degree and registered at educational institutions on 20 September and, since 2004, in respect of preparatory education for a skills examination and apprenticeship training, between 1 January and 31 December of the statistical reference year. In the statistics on students and qualifications of educational institutions, students also include comprehensive school students according to the situation on 20 September. Up to 2001, data on students in university education describe the situation on 31 December and include attainers of a degree in autumn.

Syllabus

Scope and content of studies included in education or teaching.

Comment:

In comprehensive and general upper secondary education, it can also refer to the subject syllabus.

Tertiary education

Post-upper secondary education to be given at higher education institutions or at institutes.

Comment:

Tertiary education includes lowest tertiary education, lower tertiary education, higher tertiary education and doctorate or equivalent education.

Third-cycle degree

University degree obtained at university after a masterís degree.

Comment:

Third-cycle degrees are doctoral degrees and licentiate degrees apart from licentiate degrees in medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine.

University degree, university of applied sciences degree

Degree completed at university of applied sciences or university after upper secondary qualification.

University education

University education refers to education provided by universities. Lower (bachelor's) and higher (master's) level university degrees can be attained in universities, as well as further academic degrees, e.g. licentiate's or doctor's degrees.

University education

Tertiary education provided by universities.

Comment:

The objective of the education is a bachelorís or masterís degree or a scientific postgraduate degree, which are licentiate's and doctoral degrees.

Education not leading to a qualification or degree can also be completed.

University of applied sciences education

University of applied sciences education refers to education organised in university of applied sciences. Students of university of applied sciences can obtain university of applied sciences degrees and higher university of applied sciences degrees.

Up to 2002 some university of applied sciences education was organised in temporary, experimental university of applied sciences, but even the last experimental university of applied sciences was given permanent status as of the beginning of 2003.

Upper secondary education

Post-comprehensive vocational education or general upper secondary education.

Upper secondary general education

In the statistics on upper secondary general education, upper secondary general education refers to general knowledge education leading to the completion of the full upper secondary general school syllabus (matriculation examination) or a comparable examination (IB examination, ReifeprŁfung examination, EB examination or Gymnasieexamen). Individual upper secondary general school subjects can also be studied as a subject student in educational institutions providing upper secondary general education.

Upper secondary general education is provided in educational institutions of the following type:

15 Upper secondary general schools

19 Comprehensive and upper secondary level schools

63 Folk high schools.

Upper secondary qualification

Qualification attained in upper secondary education.

Comment:

Upper secondary qualifications are such as general upper secondary education qualifications, matriculation examination, EB diploma (European Baccalaureate), IB diploma (International Baccalaureate), German International Abitur Diploma (former ReifeprŁfung diploma) and vocational qualification.

Vocational education and training

Education and training completed after the comprehensive education syllabus, aimed at producing vocational competence.

Comment:

Initial, further and specialist vocational qualifications can be obtained in vocational education and training.

In addition to completing a qualification, parts of a qualification can also be completed in vocational education and training.

Vocational qualification

A qualification intended to increase and maintain professional skills and demonstration of professional competence.

Comment:

Vocational qualifications are initial, further and specialist vocational qualifications.

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Students and qualifications [e-publication].
ISSN=2737-0410. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 10.8.2022].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/opiskt/kas_en.html