Concepts and definitions

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, Reifeprüfung 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.

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.

Full-time and part-time student

In the statistics on university and tertiary education, the statistical definition of full-time and part-time students is based on the number of completed credits. The data on numbers of completed credits derive from data collected by Statistics Finland on credits completed in the previous year. The data on credits are collected from all universities and university of applied sciences. Students having completed 30 or more credits during the academic year are classified s full-time students while students having completed fewer than 30 credits are classified as part-time students. All students having registered as absent are classified as part-time students.

First-year students do not yet have data on credits, so they are regarded as full-time students in the academic year concerned. Due to the nature of studies, data on the credits of students completing higher university degrees (licentiate, doctorate, medical specialist, veterinary specialist, dental specialist and students completing further university og applied sciences degrees) are not descriptive of full-timeness of studies. In computerised calculation of numbers of full-time and part-time students, all students studying for higher tertiary degrees are classified as part-time students.

New student

From 2012 onwards, new students in the statistics on university education refer to students having started studies leading to the current university degree at the university concerned and studying on 20 September.

Previously, new students referred to students that had enrolled at the university concerned for the first time to study for a lower or upper university degree in any field of education and studying on 20 September.

Up to 2001, a new student in university education was one who had started studies at the university concerned during the calendar year.

Part-time student

In the statistics on university and university of applied sciences education, the statistical definition of tertiary full-time and part-time studying is based on the number of completed credits. The data on numbers of completed credits derive from data collected by Statistics Finland on credits completed in the previous year. The data on credits are collected from all universities and university of applied sciences. Students having completed 20 or more credits during the academic year are classified s full-time students while students having completed fewer than 20 credits are classified as part-time students. All students having registered as absent are classified as part-time students.

First-year students do not yet have credits, so they are regarded as full-time students in the academic year concerned. Due to the nature of studies, data on the credits of students completing higher university degrees (licentiate, doctorate, medical specialist, veterinary specialist, dental specialist and students completing further university of applied sciences degrees) are not descriptive of full-timeness of studies. In computerised calculation of numbers of full-time and part-time students, all students studying for higher tertiary degrees are classified as part-time students.

Qualification/Degree

In the statistics on university education data on degrees describe the full calendar year (1 January - 31 December). Degrees attained in universities comprise lower and upper university degrees, licentiate degree, doctorate degree, and specialist's degrees in medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine. Completions of separate studies for special education teacher and study counsellor are also regarded as lower university degrees.

Student

In the statistics on university education, students refer to the students attending education leading to a degree. Students attending education leading to a degree comprise students studying for lower and upper tertiary degrees, licentiate degrees, doctorate degrees and vocational further degrees. Since statistical reference year 1993, students studying separate educational science subjects for a subject teacher's qualification have been included in statistics on education not leading to a degree.

As of 2002, data on students describe the situation of 20 September and include students having enrolled at universities during the autumn term. Up to 2001, the data on students described the situation on 31 December.

University

In the statistics on university education universities refer to educational institutions belonging to type 42 of educational institutions. 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. Universities also provide continuing education and open university teaching.

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.

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): University education [e-publication].
ISSN=2324-0148. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 18.11.2018].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/yop/kas_en.html