The Finnish education system
As the Ministry of Education states it: Education is one of the cornerstones of the Finnish welfare society. The educational system offers equal opportunities for education for all. Education from pre-primary to higher education is free of charge in Finland. The new core curricula for pre-primary and basic education adopted in 2016 focus on learning, not steering. Teachers in Finland are highly educated and strongly committed to their work.
The Finnish education system consists of:
- early childhood education and care which is provided for children before the compulsory education begins,
- pre-primary education which is compulsory and provided for children in the year preceding the beginning of basic education,
- nine-year basic education (comprehensive school), which is compulsory,
- upper secondary education, which is either general upper secondary education or vocational education and training, and
- higher education provided by universities and universities of applied sciences.
- Furthermore, adult education is available at all levels.
You can choose either or Swedish or a Finnish path. Most of the children how start their early childhood education in Swedish will continue the education path in Swedish at least until upper secondary education. A vast majority continue the Swedish path at higher education as well.
Swedish preparatory education
If you recently moved to Finland you can start your Finnish educational path with preparatory education. Preparatory education is available for children and young people of immigrant backgrounds aged 6–17 years whose Swedish or Finnish language skills are not adequate to study in Swedish or Finnish speaking groups in comprehensive education.
During preparatory education, within the Swedish schools in the Capital region, the pupils learn Swedish and the skills necessary for basic education, most of the time they are in the same class as their classmates. Every pupil receives their own education plan. Preparatory education is offered for a maximum of one year from the start of the preparatory education. Within the Swedish schools the preparatory education is offered in the school, in the same class as your peers.
Here you will get more information on how to enroll into the Swedish preparatory education in Helsinki
If you want to get more information on preparatory education in Espoo, please contact Svenska bildningstjänster
For more information about the Swedish schools in Vantaa please phone 040 631 8731 and for Grankulla/Kauniainen contact the headmaster from the Swedish school Hagelstamska skolan.
Comprehensive, or basic, education continues for at least nine years.
You can also contact Luckan for more information.
Religion and ethics
Religion and ethics is a compulsory subject in comprehensive school. In all schools Pupils and students participate in religious studies conducted in accordance with the mainstream religion Lutheran, Orthodox religious studies or ethical studies.
Pupils and students who are members of other religious communities can choose to study their own religion. As a parent you need to be active and choose which alternative you prefer for your child. When you visit the school for registration you should be handed a from to fill in your choice. If not, please ask for it.
Swedish as a second language
The subject ‘mother tongue and literature’ involves different syllabuses. The guardian selects a suitable syllabus for the pupil.
In the Swedish school the pupils can study Swedish as a second language and literature (S2) if their mother tongue is not Swedish or they have a multilingual background. The selection of the syllabus is always based on the pupil’s needs as assessed by the pupil’s teachers.
Mother tongue studies
The school offer studies for maintaining the pupil’s mother tongue, home language or language skills obtained abroad. Remember to ask for the form about mother tongue studies. It’s up to the family to ask for this service!
The language studies are organized according to the number of pupils enrolled in these studies. Studies can be offered at the pupil’s own school, or they may have to take the lessons at another school. The language studies complement the comprehensive education, and the pupil will receive a separate verbal assessment for these studies.
Participation in the mother tongue studies is optional; however, once the pupil has enrolled in the studies, they are required to attend the lessons regularly. The pupil will enroll in mother tongue studies when they enroll in school or in the 7th grade. Enrollment at other times is also possible.
The application form for mother tongue studies in Helsinki
Swedish Comprehensive schools in Helsinki
The Swedish schools in Helsinki are divided in four main districts. Within each district there is one school for pupils in classes 6th or 7th – 9th grade. To find out the school that the children in your area belongs to you could visit the servicemap and type in your home address.
Swedish Comprehensive schools in Esbo
In Esbo you have three Swedish schools grade 7 – 9. Here you will find more information about the Swedish schools in Esbo.
Swedish Comprehensive schools in Vanda
In Vanda there is one Swedish school for the grades 7 – 9, Helsinge skola.
Swedish Comprehensive schools in Grankulla
In Grankulla there is one Swedish comprehensive school, Hagelstamska skolan.
Upper secondary institutes
After the basic och comprehensive education you can continue your educational path either in a vocational school or in upper secondary school. General upper secondary education studies are more theoretical in nature than vocational education.
You apply to these schools in the early spring. At Studyinfo you will find more information.
Upper secondary schools
There are four Swedish vocational schools in Uusimaa: Yrkesinstitutet Prakticum, Yrkesinstitutet Inveon, Folkhälsan Solvalla and Axxell. The teaching language is Swedish. Prakticum and Axxell offer programmes specifically for students who need more support with language learning.
Prakticum also provides Valma education, for newcomers and youngsters who need a push forward.
Youth service provider Sveps assists persons aged 16-28 years that are currently not in school or has a job. The assist can concern finding a study place, a job or just getting motivation of moving on with life. The service is in Swedish, free of charge and has a low-threshold.
Leisure time activities
Youth Information, Chat, Counseling, Guidance and Training offered at the Information and Cultural centre Luckan for youths between 13 and 29. Most of the activities are online and all of them free of charge.
Follow different Event Calendars to find out what is going on in the Capital Region.
At Kulturforum you will find a range of Swedish activities throughout Finland.
Events at Luckan are found on Facebook.
Luckan maintains the search engine www.servicekatalogen.fi. From the servicekatalogen you can find information about Swedish speaking associations, hobbies, cultural institutions and more. However, the service is only in Swedish at the moment.
In the Capital Region there are a few Swedish Youth Centres, Youth centers offer diverse activities, opportunities to meet friends, courses, clubs, excursions and events – or you can just hang out. They give you assistance, information and support when you are faced with challenges. All youth centre activities are drug and alcohol free.
In Drumsö the Youth Center is opened on Wednesdays.
The youth centre in Sandels in Tölö is a house filled with happenings.
Rastis, in Nordsjö, is open Wednesday and Friday evenings.
In Esbo the Swedish youth centre is situated in Sökö.
In Vanda there are two Swedish youth centres in Helsinggård and Mårtensdal.
The youth centre Grani klubben in Grankulla is situated in the library.
The Theater school DOT offers Swedish drama pedagogy for persons aged 13 – 16 years at Luckan. Visit their website for more information.
Gymnastics and sports
Helsingfors IFK (HIFK) has over 540 children, from the age of 4 and up, practicing football with them. HIFK offers practice for boys and girls. Fill in HIFK’s application form at their website, and they will be in touch with you.
Helsingfors IFK offers also a lot of opportunities for people interested in a broad spectrum of athletics. They usually practice at Liikuntamylly in Kvarnbäcken (Myllypuro), and from April to September also at Djurgården (Eläinpuisto), both in Helsingfors.
In Helsinki you can find 14 Swedish corps. From this website you can find the corp that is suitable for you and their contact details.
Esbo has four corps:
- Södrik Stigfinnare http://sodrikstigfinnare.com/
web/in Esbo Center
- Sea Scouts, Sjöscoutkåren Stormfågeln http://www.stormfageln.fi/
start/ at Nokkala Udd
- Scoutkåren Tre Björkar https://trebjorkar.wordpress.
com/ in Dalsvik
- Scoutkåren MuHö https://www.muho.fi/ in Olars
Social and health issues
Navigatorn (Ohjaamo) Ohjaamo Helsinki is a place for every 15- to 29-year-old. If you, for example, feel like talking to a caring adult, discussing your career or receiving guidance in the Finnish welfare system, come to Ohjaamo Helsinki! In Ohjaamo Helsinki you can ask anything and we’ll help you. No matter how big or small the issue, Ohjaamo Helsinki is there for you!. On Mondays from 12 – 17 there is a Swedish drop in point.
Questions concerning contraceptive
Helsinki offers free-of-charge contraception for those under the age of 25.
Espoo offers free-of-charge contraception for those under the age of 25.
Grankulla offers free-of-charge contraception for those under the age of 21.
Vanda offers free-of-charge contraception for those under the age of 20.