The extension of compulsory education

Nuoria lukiolaisia Etelä-Tapiolan lukiossa

What does the extension of compulsory education mean for those who are now in the 9th grade?  

This is a big change, because until 2020 compulsory education ended with comprehensive school.  

From now on, compulsory education will continue until the age of 18 or until the person has completed upper secondary education.   

Ninth-graders must apply in the joint application from 23 February to 7 April 2021 for either upper secondary education or transitional studies, such as 10th grade or preparatory education for general upper secondary education (LUVA), vocational education (VALMA) or special vocational education (TELMA).  

Where to get information about educational options?  

At school, the young people get acquainted with upper secondary studies and their selection with a guidance counsellor.  

At home, you can browse the selection together with your teenager in the service or on the websites of educational institutions, for example.  

Is upper secondary education free of charge for students starting in the autumn of 2021?

All these things are free of charge for students who finish basic education after 1 January 2021 and continue their studies in e.g. vocational training or general upper secondary school:  

  • teaching  
  • daily meals  
  • learning materials and computers  
  • tools, clothing and materials needed for the studies  
  • the five exams required for the completion of the matriculation examination at the end of general upper secondary school and the retests of these exams if failed  
  • school trips of at least seven kilometres  

These must be provided by the student:  

  • Personal equipment, such as musical instruments or sports equipment, required in training that emphasises active pursuit  
  • Reasonable fees may be charged for voluntary activities (e.g. trips or visits).  

A young person can study free of charge until the end of the calendar year in which they turn 20. The entitlement to free education ends when the student has completed an upper secondary degree or, if a student is completing two degrees, both of these degrees.  

The compulsory and statutorily free education does not apply to young people who completed basic education before 1 January 2021, such as those who are currently  

  • without a study place,  
  • in additional basic education, i.e. the 10th grade,   
  • in preparatory education for general upper secondary education,   
  • in preparatory education for vocational education or in upper secondary education.   

However, an education provider may decide to offer free education to a wider set of students than statutorily required.  

What is the purpose of the reform?  

  • At least upper secondary education guaranteed for all young people.  
  • Reduction of differences in learning.   
  • Increase in educational equality and non-discrimination and the well-being of children and young people.  

Further information of the extension of compulsory education: 

Espoo is preparing for the extension of compulsory education  

Tapio Erma, Executive Superintendent of Upper Secondary Education, City of Espoo, 

Barbro Högström, Director of Svenska bildningstjänster, City of Espoo,  

Maija Aaltola, Principal, Omnia, 

Compulsory education will be extended: Information for guardians (pdf, 291 Kt)