Compulsory Education

Basic education is general education free of charge. Every child permanently residing in Finland is subject to compulsory education. Compulsory education begins the year a child turns seven years of age. However, it is also possible to start school one year earlier or postpone the starting by a year.

Ninth-graders completing comprehensive school must apply for a place in an upper secondary school, vocational school or preparatory education for the aforementioned institutions. Pupils in need for special support can apply for a place in special vocational education.

Compulsory education ends when a pupil turns 18 years of age or when they complete a degree in upper secondary institution (matriculation exam or a vocational degree).

Applying for education after comprehensive education happens via Opintopolku. It is intended for applicants who are completing or have completed comprehensive school and who have not completed a vocational qualification, upper secondary school syllabus or a higher education degree.

You can apply for the following degrees in the joint application system:

  • vocational qualifications
  • upper secondary school education
  • TUVA preparatory education for upper secondary qualifications 
  • upper secondary qualifications organised on the basis of demanding special support
  • TELMA preparatory education for work and independent living
  • folk high school education for compulsory education pupils

Studying free of charge

School transportation subsidy

Guidance and monitoring of compulsory education

Suspension of compulsory education for a fixed or indefinite period

More information