Study and find schools in Finland




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Finland, or officially, the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country located in Northern Europe, with a total geographic land area of approximately 131,000 square miles.  Situated in what is called the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe, the country shares borders to the west with Sweden, to the north with Norway, to the east with Russia, and to the south with the Gulf of Finland, which separates Finland from Estonia.  Finland is home to 5.4 million people, most of whom live in the southern region of the country, of which Helsinki, the capital and largest city in Finland is a part.  Although Finland is the eighth-largest country in Europe in terms of total land area, it is not very densely populated; in fact, it is the most sparsely populated country in the European Union.
 
Of all the countries in the European Union, Finland is by far the most ethnically homogenous, with nearly 98 percent of the population being native Finns.  Only 2.5 percent of the population is foreign, and of that total, most are from Russia, Sweden and Estonia.  Both Finnish and Swedish are considered national official languages in Finland.  However, Finnish is overwhelming predominant, spoken throughout the country and used in all official capacities, including the language of instruction in Finnish schools.  Swedish is spoken in some of the coastal regions of the country, particularly in the west and south. 
 
Over 78 percent of the Finnish people are members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, while the remaining 22 percent are non-affiliated (19.2%), Finnish Orthodoxy (1.1%) or something else altogether (1.3%).
 
Education in Finland
 
The education system in Finland is widely regarded as one of, if not the best education system in the world; an egalitarian system, with no tuition fees and free meals served to full-time students.  The education system is overseen and administered by the national government and implemented at the local level.  It begins with one year of pre-school, also called kindergarten, for 6-year old children, followed by a nine-year compulsory basic education, which is divided between primary school (7 years) and the first two years of secondary education.  This compulsory stage of education provides students instruction through a wide and far-reaching curriculum, one developed by the government and tweaked as needed by school officials when the need arises.  Subject areas taught include courses in language arts, basic technology, mathematics, geography, history, science, art, music and physical education.
 
Although not legally compelled to do so, the majority of Finnish students continue their education past the compulsory stage and into secondary school.  Here students are offered the choice of continuing on a general academic educational track for two years, or entering a two-year vocational education program, in which they receive instruction and training directly related to a particular occupation or career.  Those who choose the general education track, usually with the goal of entering a university upon graduation, receive advanced instruction in many of the same subjects highlighted above, but also in more complex courses such as biology, chemistry, physics, advanced computer technology and more.
 
Higher education in Finland is provided by two types of institutions:  universities and polytechnics, with the university being the more prestigious of the two.  The type of institution a Finnish student is permitted to attend is dependent on a number of factors, including his or her Grade Point Average (GPA) in the upper-secondary school, the national matriculation examination administered prior to graduation and the entrance examination administered by each higher education institution.
 
Finland’s exemplary education system is perhaps best evidenced by the national adult literacy rate in the country:  100 percent for both males and females, and the highest in the world.

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