Monday, 27 July 2009

Basic or Compulsory School

Basic or compulsory school covers nine years and begins at the age of seven. Some 99.7% of students complete basic school in Finland, which gives it one of the lowest dropout rates in the world. In the 2006-2007 school year, the entire country had 350 school dropouts.  

The government finances the education, but the municipalities control the spending of the money for local schools.  

Local authorities assign a place in school for each student, close to their homes. However, the students have school choice and can apply for a place at another school. Basic education is the responsibility of the municipalities.  

The system has full, public financing. 

The current system of education comes from the reforms on the 1970s (see previous post). The reforms combined the Finnish equivalent of primary school, secondary modern school, and middle school into the nine-year compulsory school.

You can read more about secondary modern school here and here.  

Compulsory school breaks down into two sections, the lower stage and the upper stage.  The lower stage lasts six years and the upper stage lasts three years.  In the first six years of compulsory school, students have classroom teachers, and in the last three years, they have subject teachers.  In the upper stage, students have both mandatory and optional subjects.  

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