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July 17, 2012

Finland: Homeschooling Launched to the Political Agenda

By Suomen kotiopettajat

Homeschooling has been launched to the political agenda in Finland. The Social Democratic Party passed a proposal on May 25th to make homeschooling subject to licensing. According to Juhani Paavolainen, chairman of Suomen kotiopettajat, the Finnish Home Educators Association, this means that homeschoolers would have to gain permission to homeschool.

At the Finnish National Board of Eduation.
From left: Tarja Paavolainen, Juhani Paavolainen, Jonas Himmelstrand and Mischa Hammarnejd
(Photo credit: Johan Sjöblom)

“If this proposal became law, it opens the door for Finland to follow in the footsteps of Sweden,” states Paavolainen. “The ban on homeschooling in Sweden had its roots in the authority of municipal authorities to grant or deny permission to families to homeschool.”

Homeschooling is currently legal and protected by both the Finnish Constitution and education law.

Suomen kotiopettajat met with the leadership of the Finnish National Board of Education (FNBE) at a traditional biannual meeting on May 30th. Director General of the FNBE, Aulis Pitkala, reassured Finnish homeschool leaders that there is nothing in the government’s plan of action this term about licensing for homeschoolers. Other government sources close to Suomen kotiopettajat confirmed that the other parties in the current six-party coalition government will not support the Social Democrats in their intention to restrict homeschooling. Nevertheless, it is desirable that other political parties strongly support the freedom of education in the upcoming municipal elections on October 28, 2012. Suomen kotiopettajat will encourage policymakers to stand firm for freedom of education.

Paavolainen sums up their meeting with Director General Pitkala:

“Suomen kotiopettajat is very pleased and grateful that our relations with the Finnish National Board of Education were established on such a durable foundation with the former FNBE Director General, Timo Lankinen,” states Paavolainen. Our meeting with Mr. Pitkala was similarly warm and frank. He welcomed Jonas Himmelstrand, President-in-exile of the Swedish Association of Home Education, to Finland, and there was a genuine sense of empathy as Jonas reported on the homeschool climate in Sweden and his family’s flight to Finland. Our next meeting with the FNBE will be held in six months.”

Suomen kotiopettajat is the national Home Educators Association in Finland.

 More Information

Learn more by visiting HSLDA’s Finland page.