28.03.2014

Schools - more information

If you are moving to Finland with school-aged (7–16) children, education is compulsory for them. Comprehensive education begins during the year when the child turns seven and ends when all courses have been completed, or 10 years have elapsed from the beginning of the compulsory education.

Lower stage comprehensive school takes six years, classes 1–6, and upper stage comprehensive school comprises years 7–9. Basic education, including textbooks, tools, etc., is free of charge. In addition, pupils are offered a free daily meal.

Bilingual schools and preparatory education

In Jyväskylä, basic education is usually arranged in Finnish but there are also schools that offer bilingual teaching. All comprehensive school age children (7–17 years) who have recently moved to Finland and cannot get by in the Finnish language are entitled to preparatory education. This allows pupils to get acquainted with Finnish schooling, its customs and teaching methods. Immigrant pupils are also entitled to get education in their own language for a couple of hours a week. Pupils can also learn Finnish as a second language in some schools. Information leaflets on education for immigrants is available in several languages.

Allocation of a school and enrolment

Children are usually given a place in a school near where you live or in some other suitable place which makes school travel as short and safe as possible. Local authorities have a statutory duty to provide education for children of compulsory school age living in their areas. For a justified reason, the parents can also apply for a place in other school than the nearest one. The child may be admitted to the school if there are places available. If there are more applicants than available places, certain qualification criteria will be applied. Please note that in this case the parents are responsible for covering any possible school transportation costs.

Typically, a child needs to be enrolled to school (for the first grade) in late January or early February. If your child is at a higher grade or you move to Finland during the school year, please contact the education department of the City of Jyväskylä

Fees and curriculum

Schools up to university level are almost exclusively funded and administered by the municipalities in Finland (local government). There are few private schools. Public schools are uniformly of a high quality. The school curriculum is based on a national core curriculum. As a rule, all teachers have a master’s level university degree. There is relatively little extracurricular activity, and children’s free-time activities are often quite separate from those during the school day.

School year

The school year begins in mid-August and ends in late May or early June. The school year is interrupted by several vacations: the Fall break (sometime in October), the Christmas vacation, the winter vacation (typically week 9 in Jyväskylä), and the Easter break. Students attend school Monday through Friday.