Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Tertiary Education

At the tertiary level, students can attend a polytechnic or a university.  

Polytechnics focus on a more practical training of professionals for their careers.  Currently, Finland has 29 polytechnics, most having good connections to business and industry.  

Finland's first university was founded in 1640 in the city of Turku.  When the capital moved to Helsinki in the early 19th century, the university moved as well.  Not until independence did more universities emerge.  The university network today includes nearly every subject and enjoys geographical distribution all around Finland.

The state administers the universities, but they have widespread autonomy.  Polytechnics have municipal or private administration.  

Students enter university through entrance exams.  The polytechnics differ from universities as they have a more practical focus.  For example, doctors receive their education through universities, while nurses do so through polytechnics.  Engineers can take either path, and they are referred to as insenoori or diplomi-insenoori indicating whether they have studied at a polytechnic or university, respectively.  

The education reforms of the 1990s upgraded the polytechnics to the higher education level.  Polytechnics also gained the ability to grant master's degrees, undertaken after three years of work experience by the candidate.  

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