15.8.2022 valid documentation

Basic data of the statistics

Data description

The statistics on students and qualifications describe pupils and students in pre-primary and basic education and post-comprehensive education leading to a qualification or degree, as well as those who complete degrees and qualifications. The statistics contain data on the age, regional mobility, nationality and native language of pupils, students, and those who have completed degrees and qualifications. Post-comprehensive education means general upper secondary education, vocational education, university of applied sciences education and university education. The data are used for purposes such as planning, research and assessment of education, and for international education statistics.

Students means students in education leading to a degree or qualification on 20 September of the statistical year. Students in basic education on 20 September are also considered students in education leading to a qualification or degree. The data for vocational education are for a calendar year from 2013 onwards; for apprenticeship training and preparatory education for a skills examination from 2004 onwards.

Those who complete degrees and qualifications mean individuals that have taken a matriculation examination, vocational qualification, university of applied sciences degree or university degree during the statistical year from 1 January to 31 December. Individuals who have completed basic education are also considered to have completed degrees and qualifications.    
The data on pupils and students in pre-primary and basic education give the number of pupils and students in pre-primary and basic education, and in basic adult education on 20 September of the statistical year. The data on the number of individuals that have completed basic education give the situation in the school year ending during the spring of the statistical year.

The data on students in general upper secondary education give the number of students on 20 September of the statistical year, whereas the data on examinations give the number of examinations taken during the entire statistical year.

The data on students and qualifications in vocational education are for a calendar year.  The data describe initial vocational education, education for further vocational qualifications and education for specialist vocational qualifications. The skills required for the education can be acquired in education given in educational institutions, apprenticeship training or training agreement education, or the education may include education in educational institutions, apprenticeship training and/or training agreement education. Cross-sectional data (20 September) can also be provided.

The data on students in university of applied sciences education and university education give the number of students on 20 September of the statistical year, whereas the data on degrees give the number of degrees taken during the entire statistical year.
 

Statistical population

The statistics on students and qualifications are based on individual-based data (statistics on pre-primary and basic education on data by educational institution up to the 2019 statistical year) on students, qualifications and degrees that Statistics Finland has collected from educational institutions through organisers of education, directly from educational institutions, from the KOSKI data resource, the VIRTA higher education achievement register and the matriculation examination register. The data on students in general upper secondary education and on students and qualifications in vocational education (from the 2019 statistical year onwards), and data on pre-primary and basic education (from the 2020 statistical year onwards) are based on the data reported by organisers of education/educational institutions to the KOSKI data resource of the Finnish National Agency for Education. In addition, data collections supplementing the KOSKI data resource have been used. The data represent total data.

Pupils and students in pre-primary and basic education, and those who have completed basic education, comprise the pre-primary and basic education population. Data on the number of pupils and students in basic education and on completers of basic education are collected for the statistics. As a rule, the data on the number of pupils and students describe the situation at the cross-sectional point (20 September) in the year in question, and the completion data the preceding school year. The statistics also contain data on persons of compulsory education age who are not attending basic education (who are outside Finland, receive home schooling or have been granted postponement).

Students studying the general upper secondary education syllabus and students taking examinations comprise the general upper secondary education population. Students in general upper secondary education mean students studying the syllabus of general upper secondary education (a right to study the syllabus in effect on 20 September). New students mean students registered to study for the examination in question in the educational institution in question as present or as absent on 20 September.

Students in vocational education leading to a qualification and those who have completed vocational qualifications comprise the population of vocational education. A student in vocational education means a person who has taken part in vocational education leading to a qualification during a calendar year. New students mean students who have registered to study the qualification in question in the educational institution in question as present or as absent during a calendar year.  The data on students and new students at the cut-off point (20 September) are also available. In vocational education, a student may study for a qualification or for parts of it.

All students who are registered as students studying for a university of applied sciences degree or a higher university of applied sciences degree on 20 September in the statistical year as present or absent comprise the university of applied sciences education student population.
All persons who have obtained a university of applied sciences degree or a higher university of applied sciences degree during the statistical year comprise the population of individuals who have obtained a university of applied sciences degree.

The data on university of applied sciences education also include the following non-degree studies: students in vocational teacher education, students in specialisation education and training, and those who have completed such education and training.

These data on non-degree studies of students and those who have completed qualifications and degrees are not needed for statistical releasebut they are used to describe teacher qualification data in the Register of Completed Education and Degrees, and they can be used as a basis for data service material.

All students who are registered as students studying for a university degree on 20 September of the statistical year as present or absent comprise the university education student population. Each university gives the student’s primary right to study, but the student may also be included in the annual data more than once if they are studying in more than one university.

All persons who have obtained a university degree during the statistical year comprise the population of those who have completed university education. A person who has obtained a degree can be included in the annual data more than once if they have obtained more than one degree during the statistical year.
The data on university education include the following non-degree studies: students in medical specialist and dental specialist education, students in specialisation education, and those who have completed such education.
These data on non-degree studies of students and those who have completed degrees are not needed for statistical releases, but they are used in the qualification and degree register, and they can be used as a basis for data service material.

Statistical unit

A person (new student, student, one who has completed a qualification or a degree) and a qualification/degree are used as statistical units.

Unit of measure

The number of pupils and students and completers of qualifications and degrees, and the percentage of pupils, students and those who have completed qualifications and degrees are used as the measurement units in the statistics on students and qualifications.

Reference period

Data contained in the statistics on students and qualifications are published annually for a calendar year. A calendar year or the cross-sectional point (20 September) is used as the reference period.

The number of pre-primary and basic education pupils and students gives the situation at the cross-sectional point (20 September).

The data on general upper secondary education give the number of students at the cross-sectional point (20 September) of the statistical year and the number of examinations for the entire calendar year.

For vocational education data, a calendar year or the cross-sectional point (20 September) is used as the reference period.

The data on university of applied sciences education give the number of students at the cross-sectional point (20 September) of the statistical year, and the number of qualifications and degrees for the entire calendar year.

The data on university education give the number of students at the cross-sectional point (20 September) of the statistical year and the number of degrees for the entire calendar year.

Reference area

The reference area is the whole of Finland. The data are available for all regional data at the disposal of Statistics Finland.

Sector coverage

The statistics contain the data on pupils and students in pre-primary and basic education and post-comprehensive education leading to a qualification or degree in Finland. The data contained in the statistics are total data and give the data on all organisers of education.

Time coverage

The comparability between years is affected by changes in the education system, classifications and the compiling of statistics. Data on students have been produced to a varying degree, depending on the sector of education. The collection of comprehensive individual-based student data covering all education sectors after basic level was launched in 1999. The basic education data are individual-based from the 2020 statistical year onwards. Data on qualifications and degrees are available from the Register of Completed Education and Degrees from 1971 onwards.

Times series data on basic education are available from the 1980s onwards. The data on basic education are school-specific for the period from 1998 to 2019.

Time series data on general upper secondary education are available from 1980 onwards. Data on matriculation examinations are available from 1910 onwards. Person-based student data are available from 1999 onwards. The data on students in general upper secondary education for 2019 are not fully comparable with data for previous years due to changes in the data source.

Statistics Finland has collected data on vocational education since the early 1970s. Comprehensive time series data are available from 1999 onwards, and all data are person-based from that year. From 2004 onwards, the student data on education preparing for a skills examination have been for the entire calendar year, whereas before that year, they were only given for the cross-sectional point (20 September). The data on curriculum-based initial vocational education for 2013 cover the entire calendar year. Before then, the data reflected the situation on 20 September. In 2018, apprenticeship training provided as part of initial vocational education was not included in the number of students on 20 September. The cross-sectional data on all other students and types of education (initial vocational education, education for further vocational qualifications and for specialist vocational qualifications) are available because the Act on Vocational Education and Training (531/2017), which entered into force at the beginning of 2018, no longer provides for the separation of education into education aimed at young people and education aimed at adults (education preparing for skills examination). The number of students at the cross-sectional point is not comparable with the number of students in previous years because before 2018, the cross-sectional data (for 20 September) only comprised students in curriculum-based initial vocational education aimed at young people.

From 2019 onwards, the cross-sectional data have comprised all students in initial vocational education, irrespective of how the students acquire their skills. The skills can be acquired through education received in educational institutions, apprenticeship training or a training agreement. Comprehensive data on the region of education were unavailable for 2019, and the region in which the educational institution is located is therefore given as regional data.

Data on universities of applied sciences have been collected on the summary level since 1991. Collection of person-based data on permanent universities of applied sciences began in 1997. Qualification and degree data (from 1999 until the 2013 statistical year) and student data (until the 2014 statistical year) were collected directly from educational institutions on a person basis. Data on university of applied sciences qualifications and degrees (from the 2014 statistical year onwards) and student data on universities of applied sciences (from the 2015 statistical year onwards) have been obtained from the VIRTA higher education achievement register.

University data have been collected on the summary level (by university, faculty and degree) since 1938. Individual-based data were collected from 1966 until the 2013 statistical year directly from educational institutions, and from the 2014 statistical year onwards, from the VIRTA higher education achievement register. Time series in electronic form are available from 1984 onwards. The data on the National Defence University have been included in the university statistics since 2010. From 2012 onwards, new students have been students starting studies for the degree in question in the university in question for the first time. Before that, new students were students registered in the university in question for the first time.
The statistics are final.

Frequency of dissemination

Data contained in the statistics on students and qualifications are released several times during the year. The data on pre-primary and basic education are published in March, data on universities of applied sciences in April, university education data in May, data on general upper secondary education and vocational education in June, and data on all education sectors in October and November on the website of Statistics Finland.

Concepts

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.

Bachelor’s degree

Lowest degree attained at a university of applied sciences.

Bachelor’s degree

Lowest degree completed at university.

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

In the statistics on pre-primary and comprehensive school education, subject choices of students, special education, and students and qualifications of educational institutions comprehensive schools refer to educational institutions providing basic, general knowledge teaching to an entire age cohort (basic comprehensive school education, compulsory education school). All children of the compulsory school age of 7 to 16 must complete the comprehensive school. Completion of the comprehensive school takes nine years.

Educational institutions of the following types classify as comprehensive schools:
Comprehensive schools
Comprehensive school level special schools
Comprehensive and upper secondary level schools

The full comprehensive school syllabus or subject studied within it can also be completed in upper secondary general schools and folk high schools but the basic teaching they provide is aimed at students over the compulsory school age (basic education of adults). These educational institutions and their students are not usually included in the statistics describing comprehensive schools.

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.

Curriculum-based basic vocational education

In the statistics on vocational education, curriculum-based basic vocational education refers to education for which a curriculum has been specified (targets, entity and scope of studies, core contents, assessment). Qualifications obtained in the education are initial vocational qualifications for which the required prior education is completion of the syllabus of comprehensive school education.

Doctoral degree

Highest third-cycle degree obtained at university.

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.

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 institution

An educational institution refers to an administrative unit with a principal or other head, which has teachers and other personnel in its service (role of employers), and which is liable to keep books and compile other documentation, in which students are registered, whose activities are regulated by a legal act or decree, which follows a national curriculum, and which is financed and controlled by a public authority. An educational institution does not refer to a school building or facility. A new educational institution is established, an educational institution is abolished or merged with another educational institution at the decision of the organiser of education (maintainer of the educational institution) or a public authority.

Statistics Finland has assigned an individualised educational institution ID to each educational institution. Educational institutions are classified according to a classification of types of educational institutions.

Educational level

The category in which education leading to a qualification or degree is divided on the basis of the requirement level.

Note 1: selection to education on a particular level of education often requires completion of a lower level of education.
Note 2: the level of education is measured on the basis of both the overall duration or target time of the education and the requirement level.
Note 3: levels of education: early childhood education (duration varies), primary education (6 years), lower secondary education (3 years, in total 9 years from the beginning of primary education), upper secondary education (3 years, in total 12 years from the beginning of primary education), post-secondary non-tertiary education (1-2 years, in total 13-14 years from the beginning of primary education), lowest level tertiary education (2-3 years, in total 14-15 years from the beginning of primary education), Bachelor's or equivalent level (3-4 years, in total 15-16 years from the beginning of primary education), Master's or equivalent level (5-6 years, in total 17-18 years from the beginning of primary education) and doctoral or equivalent level (2-4 years, in total 19-22 years from the beginning of primary education).
Note 4: the level of education indicator cannot be calculated directly on the basis of the duration presented in this concept.

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 master’s degree.

Master’s 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 child’s 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 bachelor’s degree, a master’s 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/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 Reifeprüfung 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.

Sector of education

In the statistics on educational institutions, education is divided into the following sectors of education:
- Comprehensive school education
- Upper secondary general education
- Vocational education
- University of applied sciences education
- University education.

Specialist’s degree in medicine

Specialist’s degree in veterinary medicine and specialist’s degree in medicine and dentistry completed before 1 February 2015.

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.

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.

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 master’s 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

Tertiary education provided by universities.

Comment:
The objective of the education is a bachelor’s or master’s 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 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 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, Reifeprüfung 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 Reifeprüfung 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.

Accuracy, reliability and timeliness

Overall accuracy

Inadequacies of the data provided by educational institutions and errors in the source material affect the quality of the statistics. Errors may arise when educational institutions enter the data on their students in the KOSKI or VIRTA data resource, or when the data are collected at Statistics Finland from the data resource interface.

Timeliness

The period between data accessibility and the event or phenomenon described by the data.
The data on pre-primary and basic education are released with a delay of three months. 
Data on upper secondary general school and vocational education are released at a lag of six months.
Data on university of applied sciences education are released at a lag of four months.
Data on university education are released at a lag of five months.
Data concerning all sectors of education are published at a lag of 10 months.
There are no delays between the release date according to the release calendar and the actual date of release.

Punctuality

There are no delays between the release date according to the release calendar and the actual date of release.

Comparability

Comparability - geographical

The statistics use the National Classification of Education 2016, which is based on the UNESCO International Standard Classification of Education 2011 (ISCED 2011). The statistics are internationally comparable and cover the whole of Finland. The data contained in the statistics are available with all municipality-based grouping information covering the whole of Finland.

Comparability - over time

The national classification of education was adopted under an agreement between Statistics Finland and the Finnish National Agency for Education starting with the statistics for 2016. The classification is based on UNESCO’s International Standard Classification of Education 2011 (ISCED 2011). The classification differs from the previously used classifications of education (Statistics Finland’s classification of education and  the educational administration's Classification of Education 1995 and 2002).

The comparability between years is affected by changes in the educational system, classifications and the compiling of statistics.

Data on students have been produced to a varying degree, depending on the educational sector. Person-based collection of student data and preliminary data covering all education sectors was started in 1999. Data on qualifications and degrees can be obtained from the register of qualifications and degrees from 1971 onwards.

Times series data on basic education are available from the 1980s onwards. The data on comprehensive schools are school-specific for the period from 1998 to 2019. From 2020 onwards, the data contained in the statistics are individual-based and obtained from the KOSKI data resource.

The time series for students in general upper secondary education is comparable from 2001 onwards, and the time series for matriculation examinations from 1910 onwards. Database tables of the statistics contain comparable time series data from 2002 onwards. Older data can be found in paper publications.

The data on students in general upper secondary education for 2019 are not fully comparable with data on previous years due to changes in the data source. The student data for 2019 are based on the KOSKI data resource of the Finnish National Agency for Education. In the past, Statistics Finland collected the student data on general upper secondary education directly from educational institutions. It was noted during the transition that some of the educational institutions had not given all data requested during the data collection. A number of educational institutions had failed to supply the right to study of absent students and possibly also of students studying for vocational qualifications at the same time.

Statistics Finland has collected data on vocational education since the early 1970s. Comprehensive time series data are available from 1999 onwards, and all data are individual-based from that year. From 2004 onwards, the student data on education preparing for a skills examination have been for the entire calendar year, whereas before that year, they were only given for the cross-sectional point (20 September). The data on curriculum-based initial vocational education for the year 2013 cover the entire calendar year. In earlier years, the data were collected for the situation on 20 September. In 2018, apprenticeship training provided as part of initial vocational education was not included in the number of students on 20 September. The cross-sectional data on all other students and types of education (initial vocational education, education for further vocational qualifications and for specialist vocational qualifications) are available because the Act on Vocational Education and Training (531/2017), which entered into force at the beginning of 2018, no longer provides for the separation of education into education aimed at young people and education aimed at adults (education preparing for skills examination). The number of students at the cross-sectional point is not comparable with the number of students in previous years because before 2018, the cross-sectional data (for 20 September) only comprised students in curriculum-based initial vocational education aimed at young people.

From 2019 onwards, the cross-sectional data have comprised all students in initial vocational education, irrespective of how the students acquire their skills. The skills can be acquired by means of education received in educational institutions, apprenticeship training or training agreement. Comprehensive data on the region of education were unavailable for 2019 and 2020, and the region in which the educational institution is located is therefore given as regional data.

Database tables of the niversity of applied sciences education statistics contain comparable time series data based on the national educational classification from 2002 onwards. Data on the previous years can be found in the publication on educational institution statistics (from 1997 onwards).

University data have been collected on the summary level (by university, faculty and degree) since 1938. Individual-based data were collected from 1966 until the 2013 statistical year directly from educational institutions, and from the 2014 statistical year onwards, from the VIRTA higher education achievement register. Time series in electronic form are available from 1984 onwards.
The data on the National Defence University have been included in the university statistics from the year 2010 onwards. From 2012 onwards, new students have been students starting studies for the degree in question in the university in question for the first time. Before that, new students were students registered in the university in question for the first time. Other changes in the compilation of statistics may also affect comparability between years.
Database tables of the statistics contain comparable time series data based on the national educational classification from 2001 onwards.
Old paper-form educational statistics have been digitised in the Doria publication archive of the National Archives of Finland.

 

Coherence - cross domain

The data contained in the statistics on students and qualifications are based on the same data sources and they are compiled according to the same principles as other education statistics of Statistics Finland. These statistics can be used in parallel, provided that the specific characteristics of the statistics are taken into account.

Coherence - internal

The data for individual statistical years contained in the statistics on students and qualifications are internally coherent. However, the comparability between years is affected by changes in the education system, classifications and statistics.

In 2004, the student data on education preparing for a skills examination covered the entire calendar year, whereas before that, they were only given for the cross-sectional point on 20 September.

The data on curriculum-based initial vocational education for the year 2013 cover the entire calendar year. In earlier years, the data were collected for the situation on 20 September.


In 2018, apprenticeship training provided as part of initial vocational education was not included in the number of students on 20 September. The cross-sectional data on all other students and types of education (initial vocational education, education for further vocational qualifications and for specialist vocational qualifications) are available because the Act on Vocational Education and Training (531/2017), which entered into force at the beginning of 2018, no longer provides for the separation of education into education aimed at young people and education aimed at adults (education preparing for skills examination). The number of students at the cross-sectional point is not comparable with the number of students in previous years because before 2018, the cross-sectional data (for 20 September) only comprised students in curriculum-based initial vocational education aimed at young people.

From 2019 onwards, the cross-sectional data have comprised all students in initial vocational education, irrespective of how the students acquire their skills. The skills can be acquired by means of education received in educational institutions, apprenticeship training or training agreement. Comprehensive data on the region of education were unavailable for 2019, and the region in which the educational institution is located is therefore given as regional data.

In the data on university of applied sciences education, new students mean persons studying in universities of applied sciences on 20 September of the statistical year, persons accepting a study place in the degree programme in question in the university of applied sciences in question from 1 January to 20 September, and persons registering as present or absent for the first time.

Until 2001, a new student in a university of applied sciences was a student who had registered as present for the first time.

In the data on university education from 2002 onwards, student data have reflected the situation on 20 September. Before then, the data reflected the situation on 31 December. The data from 2002 onwards are therefore not fully comparable with data from earlier years.

From 2012 onwards, new students in university education has meant individuals starting university education, and persons studying on 20 September whose right to study in the university in question started with the degree in question. Before that, new students referred to persons studying for a lower or higher university degree who had registered in any degree programme in the university in question and who were studying on 20 September. Until 2001, a new student in university education referred to an individual who had started education in the university in question during the calendar year.

Source data and data collections

Source data

The statistics are based on person-based (in basic education, educational institution-based until 2019) data on students, qualifications and degrees. The student data are based on data collected by Statistics Finland from the organisers of education and obtained from the KOSKI and VIRTA data resources. The data on completed qualifications and degrees are mostly based on the qualification and degree register data collected by Statistics Finland from the organisers of education, and obtained from the KOSKI and VIRTA data resources, as well as from the matriculation examination register. Employment data are based on the employment statistics of Statistics Finland, and the data for these statistics are mostly obtained from administrative registers and other register-based data sets. The data represent total data.

Until 2019, the statistics on pre-primary and basic education were based on direct data collection from the organisers of education. As of 2020, the data are obtained from the KOSKI data resource of the Finnish National Agency for Education.

The national KOSKI data resource is used as the source data for statistics on vocational education coming under the education administration. The data on education outside the education administration are obtained from the student registers of the Emergency Services Academy Finland, Arctic Vocational Foundation, and the Training Institute for Prison and Probation Services, as well as the student registers of Åland.

The student data on general upper secondary education are based on the data kept in the KOSKI data resource of the Finnish National Agency for Education to which organisers of education transfer individual-based student data, and the data supplied by Ålands Gymnasium to Statistics Finland. The student and degree data on European Baccalaureate (EB) education are based on the data supplied by the educational institutions to Statistics Finland. Matriculation examination data are based on the matriculation examination register maintained by the Matriculation Examination Board.

Individual-based student and degree data obtained from the VIRTA data resource are used as the data source for the statistics on universities of applied sciences.

From the 2016 statistical year, the data on the Police University College operating under the auspices of the Ministry of the Interior have also been obtained from the VIRTA data resource. Högskolan på Åland is the only university of applied sciences supplying its student and degree data separately.

Individual-based student and degree data obtained from the national VIRTA data resource are used as the data source for university education statistics.
The National Defence University supplies its student and degree data separately.

Data collection

Under an agreement between Statistics Finland and the Finnish National Agency for Education, Statistics Finland obtains from the KOSKI data resource, through an interface, data on pupils and students in pre-primary and basic education, individuals who have received the comprehensive school-leaving certificate, students in vocational education and those who have completed vocational qualifications, and students in general upper secondary education. The data on matriculation examinations are obtained from the Matriculation Examination Board.

The data on university of applied sciences education and university education are obtained from the VIRTA data resource. Data on education outside the auspices of the Finnish National Agency for Education are obtained separately in addition to the above data.

Frequency of data collection

The data on pre-primary and basic education, general upper secondary education and vocational education are collected from the KOSKI data repository, once for each statistical year. The data are supplemented by means of separate data collection once a year. The data on matriculation examinations are obtained from the Matriculation Examination Board twice a year. The data on university of applied sciences education and university education are obtained from the VIRTA data resource twice a year, and the student data on 20 September, as described at the cross-sectional point in the autumn of the statistical year, and the data on degrees are collected in the spring following the statistical year.

Methods

Data compilation

Such matters as missing data, logical errors and data appearing twice are checked in the data on pre-primary and basic education, general upper secondary education and vocational education. The data are also compared with the corresponding data for the previous year. If corrections are required, the organisers of education and teaching are asked to enter the corrections in the KOSKI data resource. Following this, the data are retrieved again from the data repository. The checks are run again after the corrections have been received and entered in the correction program. This ensures that the corrections are correctly placed in the data. A small number of corrections must also be made directly to the data entered in the statistics if the educational institution has not yet entered them in the data resource. Statistics Finland has removed rights to study from the KOSKI data that it has received if the educational institution has notified Statistics Finland that the individuals in question have not started their studies. Corrections to the KOSKI data have involved changes to study start dates and missing financial data. A student who has obtained a vocational qualification is only entered in a single educational institution in the final statistics. A general upper secondary education student who has taken a matriculation examination can no longer study the entire general upper secondary education syllabus. 

With regard to universities of applied sciences and universities, check and error lists for students and degree data are run separately for each educational institution. The check programs (separately available for students and degrees) verify the data on all universities of applied sciences and universities, and produce key-based lists of errors for each university of applied sciences and university, and a PDF report on the students/ degrees of each educational institution. The error lists and reports are sent to each university of applied sciences/university. If the error list of the higher educational institution is empty, only the PDF report is sent with a comment that no errors were found. The educational institutions return details of the corrections in the error list to Statistics Finland and enter the corrections in the data resource. At Statistics Finland, corrections are entered in the data using correction software. If the data on the educational institution contain a large number of errors, Statistics Finland can retrieve the data again from the VIRTA data resource after the educational institution has entered the corrections in the resource.
The checks are run again after the corrections have been received and entered in the correction program. This ensures that the corrections are correctly placed in the data.


When the data (students and degrees) are ready, direct breakdowns are run from the data using SAS, and they are compared with the data lists, and any erroneous values are written down. Erroneous values are corrected so that the data are identical with the variable list description.

The data are supplemented with classifications and registers. Classifications from the educational classification and register of educational institutions are incorporated in the data. A nationality, municipality of residence and native language for the individuals are obtained from the data resource after the population register is complete. Data obtained from the educational institutions and the Population Information System are used for erroneous personal identity codes.

The data are final after the statistics have been published.

Data validation

The data contained in the statistics on students and qualifications are validated in many stages during the statistical process. During the processing of the data, the high quality of the data on students and qualifications is ensured through various statistical verification programs, data requests addressed to data suppliers, and by comparing the data with comparable previously studied statistics, and other data sources.

Principles and outlines

Contact organisation

Statistics Finland

Contact organisation unit

Social statistics

Legal acts and other agreements

The compilation of statistics is guided by the Statistics Act. The Statistics Act contains provisions on collection of data, processing of data and the obligation to provide data. Besides the Statistics Act, the Data Protection Act and the Act on the Openness of Government Activities are applied to processing of data when producing statistics. 

Statistics Finland compiles statistics in line with the EU’s regulations applicable to statistics, which steer the statistical agencies of all EU Member States.  

Further information: Statistical legislation 



The data contained in the statistics are used in the reporting of data to Eurostat as required under Commission Regulation (EU) No 912/2013 implementing Regulation (EC) No 452/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the production and development of statistics on education and lifelong learning, as regards statistics on education and training systems.

Confidentiality - policy

The data protection of data collected for statistical purposes is guaranteed in accordance with the requirements of the Statistics Act (280/2004), the Act on the Openness of Government Activities (621/1999), the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679 and the Data Protection Act (1050/2018). The data materials are protected at all stages of processing with the necessary physical and technical solutions. Statistics Finland has compiled detailed directions and instructions for confidential processing of the data. Employees have access only to the data essential for their duties. The premises where unit-level data are processed are not accessible to outsiders. Members of the personnel have signed a pledge of secrecy upon entering the service. Violation of data protection is punishable. 

Further information: Data protection | Statistics Finland (stat.fi) 

Confidentiality - data treatment

The basic publications follow Statistics Finland’s official guidelines on the protection of tabulated personal data based on the principles of statistical ethics and legislation. The key guideline in data protection activities is to avoid publishing statistical data in a form from which an individual person can be identified. Data on students and qualifications belonging to the organisers of education or educational institutions are otherwise in the public domain because the education or training they organise is funded or supervised by a public authority (section 12 of the Statistics Act).

The tables in the database are more standardised and more specific than the tables used in the statistical release. Background variables are also typically more detailed than those used in the tables of the statistical release. To ensure data protection, the classification was already changed to less detailed at the table design stage; the database tables are not published using the most detailed possible classification variables for data protection reasons. Information services based on the statistics on students and qualifications follow the principles of the data protection guidelines for the publication of statistics on students and qualifications. However, when information service assignments are prepared, the case-specific nature of assignments and in particular, the impact of small numbers of observations and (possibly) more precise background variables on data protection should be taken into account. If the data service table contains sensitive variables such as nationality or main type of activity, rougher classifications must be used for other variables (such as regional data). Alternatively, data on the nationality of foreigners can be provided at educational institution level with the accuracy of region and language classification Finnish-Swedish-other. If it is inconvenient to make the variables less detailed, a threshold rule can be applied.

Release policy

Statistics Finland publishes new statistical data at 8 am on weekdays in its web service. The release times of statistics are given in advance in the release calendar available in the web service. The data are public after they have been updated in the web service. 

Further information: Publication principles for statistics at Statistics Finland 

Data sharing

Data contained in the statistics on students and qualifications are supplied for the use of the education administration.

Data contained in the statistics are reported to UNESCO, the OECD and Eurostat in the UOE education statistics survey, and in related separate surveys.

Accessibility and clarity

Statistical data are published as database tables in the StatFin database. The database is the primary publishing site of data, and new data are updated first there. When releasing statistical data, existing database tables can be updated with new data or completely new database tables can be published.   

In addition to statistical data published in the StatFin database, a release on the key data is usually published in the web service. If the release contains data concerning several reference periods (e.g. monthly and annual data), a review bringing together these data is published in the web service. Database tables updated at the time of publication are listed both in the release and in the review. In some cases, statistical data can also be published as mere database releases in the StatFin database. No release or review is published in connection with these database releases. 

Releases and database tables are published in three languages, in Finnish, Swedish and English. The language versions of releases may have more limited content than in Finnish.   

Information about changes in the publication schedules of releases and database tables and about corrections are given as change releases in the web service. 

Data revision - policy

Revisions – i.e. improvements in the accuracy of statistical data already published – are a normal feature of statistical production and result in improved quality of statistics. The principle is that statistical data are based on the best available data and information concerning the statistical phenomenon. On the other hand, the revisions are communicated as transparently as possible in advance. Advance communication ensures that the users can prepare for the data revisions. 

The reason why data in statistical releases become revised is often caused by the data becoming supplemented. Then the new, revised statistical figure is based on a wider information basis and describes the phenomenon more accurately than before. 

Revisions of statistical data may also be caused by the calculation method used, such as annual benchmarking or updating of weight structures. Changes of base years and used classifications may also cause revisions to data. 

Quality assessment

The principles of the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM principles) are employed by Statistics Finland as its the overall framework for quality management. The quality management framework of the field of statistics is the European Statistics Code of Practice (CoP). The frameworks complement each other.
The quality criteria of Official Statistics of Finland are also compatible with the European Statistics Code of Practice.

The quality of the statistics on students and qualifications is assessed at several different stages of the statistical process. During the processing of the data, the quality of the data on students and qualifications is ensured through various statistical verification programs, data requests addressed to data suppliers, and by comparing the data with comparable previously published statistics and other data sources.

Quality assurance

Quality management requires comprehensive guidance of activities. The quality management framework of the field of statistics is the European Statistics Code of Practice (CoP). The frameworks complement each other. The quality criteria of Official Statistics of Finland are also compatible with the European Statistics Code of Practice. 

Further information: Quality management | Statistics Finland (stat.fi) 

 

User access

Data are released to all users at the same time. Statistical data may only be handled at Statistics Finland and information on them may be given before release only by persons involved in the production of the statistics concerned or who need the data of the statistics concerned in their own work before the data are published. 

Further information: Publication principles for statistics 

Unless otherwise separately stated in connection with the product, data or service concerned, Statistics Finland is the producer of the data and the owner of the copyright. The terms of use for statistical data. 

Statistical experts

Heli Hiltunen
Senior Statistician
029 551 3314