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Concepts and definitions

Educational structure of the population

Educational structure of the population describes distribution of the population aged 15 and over to attainers of primary, secondary and tertiary level qualifications and degrees. Attainers of tertiary degrees are further divided into attainers of lowest level tertiary, lower university level, higher university level and doctorate level degrees.

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.

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.

Level of education

In the statistics on the educational structure of the population, the population's level of education is measured with the average length of the highest level of completed education per capita. For example, level of education indicator 246 means that the theoretic duration of education per capita is 2.5 years after completion of comprehensive school education. The population's level of education is calculated from the population aged 20 and over. This is because many under the age of 20 have not yet completed their studies. The measure of level of education allows easy comparisons between regions in levels of education and monitoring of temporal changes.

Up to the end of 1997, the population's level of education was calculated from the levels of educational qualifications and degrees attained by the population aged 15 and over. The indicator of level of education can range from 150 to 800. The higher the indicator figure, the higher the level of education. In the group with level of education indicator 150, everybody has completed only elementary school, middle school or comprehensive school, whereas in the group with level of education indicator 800, everyone holds a licentiate or doctorate level degree.

Locality

An urban settlement is a cluster of dwellings with at least 200 inhabitants. The delimitation is based on the population information of the previous year. Urban settlements are defined and delimited in co-operation with the Finnish Environment Institute using geographic information methods that utilise the building and population data of Statistics Finland's 250 m x 250 m grid data. The population size of grids containing buildings and their neighbouring grids, as well as the number of buildings and their floor area, are reviewed in the definition. From the uniform clusters of dwellings generated in the defining stage, the ones with at least 200 inhabitants are selected.

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.

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.

Qualification or degree

In statistics on the educational structure of the population, transition form school to further education and work and progress of studies attainers of qualifications or degrees refer to completers of matriculation examination, international matriculation examinations (IB, Reifeprüfung or Gymnasieexamen examination), and attainers of vocational qualifications, university of applied sciences degrees, higher university of applied sciences degrees or university degrees by the end of the statistical reference year. Attainers of qualifications or degrees also include attainers of qualifications or degrees in the armed services, frontier guard service or abroad. One qualification or degree per person is included in statistics: vocational qualification attained at the highest level of education/most recently attained.

The data are obtained from Statistics Finland's Register of Completed Education and Degrees. Data can only be entered into the Register for persons who have a Finnish personal ID number. For this reason data on the qualifications or degrees of persons without a personal ID number, e.g. many foreign persons, are missing from the Register.

Sector of education

Comprehensive education, general upper secondary education, vocational education, university of applied sciences education, university education.

University degree, university of applied sciences degree

In the statistics on the educational structure of the population, tertiary degrees comprise all lower, higher and doctorate level tertiary degrees.

Up to the end of 2001, only degrees obtained at universities and experimental or permanent university of applied sciences in accordance with the decree on universities (464/1998) were included in tertiary degrees.

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.

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.

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Educational structure of population [e-publication].
ISSN=2242-2919. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 7.7.2022].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/vkour/kas_en.html