Adult education has become an important part of Finnish education policy, particularly during the last twenty years. The education level of older generations is lower than that of the younger generations, so there is clear need for supplementary and further education. When the post-war baby boom generation retires from the labor market over the next few years, there will probably be even more need for adult education. The Ministry of Education provides funding for adult education and is responsible for developing it.Adult education is arranged at universities, polytechnics, vocational schools, vocational adult education centers, folk high schools, adult education centers and summer universities. The types of study offered include teaching for basic qualifications, open access to studies which are part of degree programs, training for competence-based tests (e.g. language tests and vocational qualifications), apprenticeship training, and supplementary training in support of vocational skills. Adult education which leads to a qualification is free of charge.
Most other types of training are subject to at least a partial fee, but there are also free courses and courses at free-market prices. Adult education may also include studies on civic skills, social studies or the student's special interests. Adults may also complete basic (comprehensive school) or upper secondary school, or take part in the matriculation examination, in special upper secondary schools for adults or in courses for adults at an ordinary upper secondary school. Upper secondary schools for adults also provide education for foreign students. Most adult education students work. The instruction mostly takes place in the evening and is course-based. Some courses are distance based. Many people study individual subjects, mainly languages, as so-called subject students.
A national core curriculum for adult education has been devised. There is also instruction geared to foreign students in general upper secondary schools. Adult re-employment training is an important form of adult education. Its aim is to improve the supply of skilled labor and make it easier for the unemployed to re-enter the labor market. The long-term unemployed are a special group in re-employment training, which increased particularly rapidly during the 1990s, when the worldwide recession reached Finland , causing a rise in unemployment. The Ministry of Labour is responsible for re-employment training, procuring courses and training from different educational institutions for the unemployed or for people under threat of unemployment. Re-employment training is free of charge for students.
Office for Information and Education
European Association for the Education of Adults (EAEA)
Ammatillisten Aikuiskoulutuskeskusten Liitto
(Association of Vocational Adult Education Centres)
(Association of Secondary Evening Schools)
Vapaan Sivistystyön Yhteisjärjestö
(Finnish Adult Education Association)
Västra Nylands folkhögskola Folkakademin
(The Further Education College of Västra Nyland)
See also our article on Language courses.