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Published: 22 October 2021

Students in education leading to a qualification or degree number 1.3 million

The total number of students in education leading to a qualification or degree was 1.35 million in 2020. The number of students grew in upper secondary general education, university of applied sciences education and university education and decreased in comprehensive school education and vocational education. These data derive from education statistics compiled by Statistics Finland.

Students in education leading to a qualification or degree 2013–2020 1)

Students in education leading to a qualification or degree 2013–2020 1)
1) The data describe the situation on 20 September, except for data on vocational education, which are from the calendar year. Data on pre-primary education relate to all years of pre-primary education organised in connection with both early childhood education and school. Data on adults' comprehensive and additional education are included in the figures for 2020 for all categories of educational institutions, previously only for educational institution categories 11, 12 and 19.

In 2020, the number of new students totalled 301,100, which is 3.7 per cent higher than in the previous year. The number of new students declined by one per cent in comprehensive school education, in the other sectors of education the number grew: in upper secondary general education by 0.1 per cent, in vocational education by one per cent, in universities of applied sciences education by 16 per cent and in university education by 13 per cent.

In 2020, the number of attainers of qualifications or degrees was 219,800, which is 0.4 per cent lower than in the previous year. In comprehensive school education, upper secondary general education, university of applied sciences education and university education more qualifications or degrees were completed than in the year before, in vocational education fewer than in the year before.

Women the majority in post-comprehensive school education

A total of 54 per cent of new students and 55 per cent of attainers of qualifications or degrees were women. Fifty-one per cent of all students were women. Women were the majority in new students, students and attainers of qualifications or degrees in all post-comprehensive level educational sectors.

Women made up 59 per cent of completers of the matriculation examination and 55 per cent of those having completed a vocational qualification. Altogether 52 per cent of attainers of initial vocational qualifications, 61 per cent of attainers of further vocational qualifications and 59 per cent of attainers of specialist vocational qualifications were women.

Fifty-nine per cent of those having completed a university of applied sciences degree and 70 per cent of those having completed a higher university of applied sciences degree were women. Women accounted for 59 per cent of those having completed basic university education and 53 per cent of those having completed postgraduate university education.

Qualifications and degrees completed by women and men in 2020

Qualifications and degrees completed by women and men in 2020

Every tenth student is a foreign-language speaker

In 2020, altogether 10 per cent of the students were foreign-language speakers. Foreign-language speaking pupils and students in comprehensive school education numbered 55,700 and in post-comprehensive education leading to a qualification or degree 82,200. Foreign-language speaking student refers to a person whose mother tongue is not Finnish, Swedish or Sami. In comprehensive school education the share of foreign-language speaking students was five per cent, in upper secondary general education seven per cent, in vocational education 14 per cent and in university of applied sciences and university education 10 per cent in both.

In 2020, there were 30,500 foreign students in comprehensive school education and 52,600 in post-comprehensive education leading to a qualification or degree. Foreign students refer to persons whose nationality is other than Finnish. In comprehensive school education, five per cent were foreign students, in upper secondary general education two per cent, in vocational education nine per cent, in university of applied sciences education six per cent and in university education seven per cent.

The statistics on students and qualifications apply harmonised concepts and classifications to draw an overall picture of education leading to a qualification or degree. The statistics contain data on all sectors of education.


Source: Education, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Heli Hiltunen 029 551 3314, koulutustilastot@stat.fi

Head of Department in charge: Hannele Orjala

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Updated 22.10.2021

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Students and qualifications [e-publication].
ISSN=2737-0410. Students and qualifications 2020. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 29.6.2022].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/opiskt/2020/17/opiskt_2020_17_2021-10-22_tie_001_en.html