360x240-finland-flagCompulsory Education Age

7 - 16 years old 

Estimated Number of Homeschoolers

250 families

Legal Status

Present Basic Education Act 628/1998 is moderate about home education. The Section 26 subsection 2 addresses that the local authority of the pupil’s place of residence shall supervise his or her progress. This is in line with the superior statute of the Constitution. Parents have the right to organize their education and the municipality has no mandate to force supervision, procedure must be agreed in equal terms.

The New Constitution 731/1999 entered in to force on 1 March 2000. It no longer explicitly mentions home education. However, in the Travaux Préparatoires it is said that this does not bear intention to change the position of home education.[8] The Constitution Section 16, subsection 1: “Everyone has the right to basic education free of charge. Provisions on compulsory education are laid down by an Act.”[9] Compulsory education includes home education. Basic Education Act Section 26 Completion of compulsory education, subsection 1: “A child of compulsory education age must … otherwise obtain knowledge corresponding to the basic education syllabus.”[10]

The Basic Education Act states that it is on the responsibility of the guardian to see that compulsory education is completed. Moreover, it states that in case when a child of compulsory education age does not participate in education provided under Basic Education Act, the local authority of the pupil’s place of residence shall supervise his or her progress home schooling is  addressed in  the Constitution.  the National Board of Education has given legally non-binding guidelines (hereafter NBE Guidelines 2010). These guidelines serve as the primary source of information for the rest of this chapter. 

Home schooling does not require permission from public authorities. The guardian of the child is liable for the education of the child. Parents who fail to comply with this duty may become subject to imposition of fines. Decisions on how the supervision of home schooling is organized are made on the municipality level. Usually, the responsible local authority assigns a teacher to assess the progress of the child. Nothing is stipulated about how often assessment should be done, but according to the NBE common practice is that assessment takes place once or twice a year.

The progress of home-schooled children is assessed and monitored in relation to the objectives of those subjects which the basic education syllabus contains. Progress may be assessed by means of discussions, verbal and oral examinations, and skill demonstrations. Diverse types of skill demonstrations or portfolios are used when assessing progress in art and physical education. The Constitution Section 16 is absolute about basic education to be free of charge. Funding does not need lower level regulations. (Parliamentary Ombudsman 14202010 of 13 January 2014) The NBE Guidelines 2010 spell out that, because a homeschooled child is not registered as pupil in any school, the municipality has no duty to offer school books, meals, travels, health care, or any other entitlement prescribed by the law for children attending education in schools. Nonetheless, it is also mentioned in the Guidelines that no law provision prohibits municipalities from providing free school books or other services to home-schooled children. Thus, the decision is left to the discretion of local authorities.

Finland is rechtsstaat, rule of law is confirmed in the Constitution Section 1 Subsection 3. The municipalities must abide to the law, not NBE without obligation given Guidelines. NBE has the mandate to give obligatory ordinances but has decided not to in relation to home education. (The District Court of Varsinais-Suomi 14/146872 5 of November 2014)

Contact Information 

Suomen kotiopettajat
POC: Juhani Paavolainen
Finnish Home Educators Association
Website: http://suomenkotiopettajat.fi/
Email(s): posti@suomenkotiopettajat.fi or posti@skory.fi
Särkiniementie 21 A17, 00210 Helsinki
Tel. + 358 506 4800