General Upper Secondary
education in Finland
Principal Pasi Syrjä
Valkeakoski Upper Secondary School
3.10.2015
The Education System of Finland
Features of Upper Secondary School
• The admission requirement for the upper secondary school
is the completion of comprehensive school
– Upper secondary schools select their students mainly on the basis
of previous study record
– Application takes place through the national joint application
procedure
• Upper secondary school offers general education for
students of about 16-19 years of age
• Upper secondary school gives students eligibility for all
studies at the tertiary level
• Upper secondary school ends with the matriculation
examination
• More than half of each age group complete upper
secondary school
Syllabus
• Syllabus is planned for three years, possible to finish in two
years, maximum four years
• Since 1982, instruction in upper secondary schools has
been divided into courses, each consisting of about 38
lessons (each 45 minutes)
• The school year is usually divided into five or six periods. A
separate timetable is drawn up for each period,
concentrating on certain subjects
• Students' progress and the composition of teaching groups
thus depends on the students' choice of courses
• Consequently, year classes have been abolished in all
upper secondary schools, which now function without fixed
forms
Distribution of lesson hours 1
• Studies consist of compulsory, specialisation and applied
courses.
• Applied courses may be either further studies in subjects
already studied or other subjects. The provision of applied
courses can be decided independently by each school.
They can also be offered in co-operation with other
educational institutions, such as vocational or music
institutions.
Compulsory courses
National Specialization courses (minimum)
Applied courses
Total number of courses (minimum)
Courses
47-51
10
75
Distribution of lesson hours 2
Subjects
Compulsory
courses
Finnish and Literature
Language starting in grades 1-6 of
basic education (A)
Language starting in grades 7-9 of
basic education (B1, B2)
Other languages (B3)
Mathematics (advanced)
Mathematics (basic)
Biology
Geography
Physics
Chemistry
6
National
specialization
courses
3
6
2
5
2
16
3
2
3
2
7
4
10
6
2
2
1
1
Distribution of lesson hours 3
Subjects
Compulsory
courses
Religion or Ethics
Philosophy
Psychology
History
Civics
Physical Education
Music
Visual Arts
Health Education
Careers counselling
3
1
1
4
2
2
1-2
1-2
1
1
National
specialization
courses
2
3
4
2
2
3
3
3
2
1
Matriculation examination
• The purpose of the examination is to discover whether
students have assimilated the knowledge and skills
required by the curriculum for the upper secondary school
and whether they have reached an adequate level of
maturity in line with the goals of the upper secondary
school
• The Matriculation Examination is held twice a year, in
spring and in autumn, in all Finnish upper secondary
schools, at the same time
• A candidate must complete the examination during not
more than three consecutive examination periods. The
examination can also be completed in one examination
period
Matriculation examination
the tests
• The examination consists of at least four tests; one of
them, the Test in the candidate's Mother Tongue, is
compulsory for all candidates
• The candidate then chooses three other compulsory tests
from among the following four tests: the Test in the Second
Domestic Language, a Foreign Language Test, the
Mathematics Test, and the General Studies Test
• The candidate may include, in addition, as part of his or her
examination, one or more optional tests
Valkeakoski Upper Secondary School
History in brief
• The Upper Secondary School of Valkeakoski continues the
traditions of the Co-educational School of Valkeakoski founded
in 1923
• Official permission for the first five classes of the Co-educational
School (lower secondary school) was granted in 1928
• In 1943 the school was changed into an eight-class secondary
school leading to university studies
• In 1975 the town of Valkeakoski took ownership of the school
and a year after the upper secondary classes of Roukko were
incorporated into the Co-educational School of Valkeakoski
• The new school was named Valkeakosken lukio
• Today there are about 350 students and 30 teachers in the
school
Valkeakoski Upper Secondary School
New premises
• During nearly its entire history the upper secondary school has
been located by the beautiful stream of Apia in the town centre
• The school building was built in four different periods of time
between 1937 and 1967
• According to the decision of the City Council Valkeakosken lukio
will no longer serve in its present premises after spring 2008
since the new school year will be started in the new school
facilities, a few kilometres north of the centre of the town
• Valkeakosken lukio will be part of Campus Valkeakoski, which
already includes Häme Polytechnic, Valkeakoski Vocational
Institute and UPM Industrial Institute
• New possibilities for co-operation will arise between these
various institutions and the Upper Secondary School. The
planning of the new school building is already in full swing
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