The Finnish school system has been intentionally developed towards the comprehensive model which guarantees equal educational opportunities to everyone irrespective of domicile, gender, financial situation or linguistic and cultural background (section 25 Basic Education Act, herein BEA). With this objective in mind, accessibility of education is ensured throughout the country. Finland does not have segregated educational services for different genders, i.e. no girls’ and boys’ schools. Basic education is provided completely free of charge (including teaching, learning materials, school meals, health care, dental care and school transport – section 29 to 33 BEA).
Basic education is an integrated nine-year structure intended for the entire age group (section 9 BEA). Schools do not select pupils; instead, every pupil is guaranteed access to a school within their own domiciled area. Even children with the most severe intellectual disabilities fall within the framework of common basic education (section 15, 16 and 17 BEA).
At the same time responsibility for basic education was given almost exclusively to the providers of education, i.e. in practice to municipalities (section 4 BEA). Only a few special schools and university training schools remained as state maintained schools. Schools continued to follow the nationally accepted curriculum defined and approved by The Finnish National Board of Education (herein FNBE).
The education system is flexible and its administration is based on intense delegation and provision of support. Steering is based on objectives set out in the Basic Education Act and Decree and within the National Core Curriculum for Basic Education. Responsibility for provision of education and implementation of objectives rests with local authorities (municipalities). FNBE gave only very broad aims and contents for the teaching of different subjects. The providers of education and finally schools set up their own... [continues]
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