Like much of the world, Finland recently witnessed significant growth in homeschooling.
In 2011 there were 222 Finnish homeschoolers; in 2020 there were 501, amounting to a growth rate of 15 percent for that year.
These figures do not include those 448 pupils who were homeschooled by their parents because of COVID-19. There were 566,600 children in basic education in 2020.
Contrary to the trend of more parents expressing a positive view of home education, the Ministry of Education and Culture considers home education extremely unusual. The ministry has arbitrarily adopted the role of interpreting the constitution in this matter, although the Constitutional Law Committee is tasked with issuing statements on the constitutionality of legislative proposals.
In his expert opinion to the Constitutional Law Committee, University of Eastern Finland adjunct professor Pauli Rautiainen wrote that he finds it
constitutionally problematic in general, the way in which the government and the Ministry of Education and Culture approaches the interpretation of the fundamental cultural rights of the constitution. Even now, the government's proposal rather resists the statement of the Constitutional Law Committee on the interpretation of Section 16.1 of the constitution, than regard the opinion of the Constitutional Law Committee as a starting point for its argument.
I would like to draw the attention of the Constitutional Law Committee in general to the fact that the guidelines of the content of Section 16.1 of the constitution are, because of the fundamental nature of the subjective right of the provision, constitutionally extremely relevant. EDK-2020-AK-337546.pdf (eduskunta.fi)
These following arguments posed by the government are particularly harmful to home education: a) the constitutional right to education means right to education at school, b) the extension of compulsory education is not inclusive to the constitutional right to education (Section 16.1).
Both arguments have failed in the committee. The Parliament explicitly added a statement to the new Compulsory Education Act that allows home education all the way through the age of compulsory education (Section 15.5).
The Finnish Home Educators Association, founded in 2009, is grateful and honored to be heard as an expert at the Parliament during the legislative process. We thank you for your prayers and support.