Basic education

The overall distribution of lesson hours for basic education and the minimum number of lessons for core subjects during basic education are decided by the Government. The present distribution of lesson hours was confirmed in 2012 and will be implemented together with the new core curriculum in August 2016.

The new distribution of lesson hours in basic education

The distribution of lesson hours stipulate the core subjects taught to all pupils, and the distribution of teaching hours between various subjects.

The national core curriculum is determined by the Finnish National Board of Education. It includes the objectives and core contents of different subjects, as well as the principles of pupil assessment, special-needs education, pupil welfare and educational guidance. The principles of a good learning environment, working approaches as well as the concept of learning are also addressed in the core curriculum. The present national core curriculum for basic education was confirmed in January 2004 and it was introduced in schools in August 2006.

The education providers, usually the local education authorities and the schools themselves draw up their own curricula for pre-primary and basic education within the framework of the national core curriculum. These curricula may be prepared for individual municipalities or institutions or include both sections.

The national core curriculum has been reformed and the new curriculum will be gradually implemented in schools starting August 2016.

Core curriculum for basic education 2004

(the English translation of the new core curriculum will be available in the summer)

Publication in pdf format can be printed from these pages. Some web browsers may experience difficulties in opening larger attachments online. In case of difficulties, please try downloading the files on your computer for browsing.

The publication is divided into five parts

Part I: Index and chapters 1–6 (pdf, 19 Mt)
1. Curriculum
2. Starting points for provision of education
3. Implementation of instruction
4. General support for studies
5. Instruction of pupils needing special support
6. Instruction of cultural and language groups

Part II: Chapters 7, 7.1–7.3 (pdf, 34 Mt)
7. Learning objectives and core contents of education
7.1 Integration and cross-curricular themes
7.2 Studies in mother tongues and the second national language
7.3 Mother tongue and literature

Part III: Chapters 7.4–7.9 (pdf, 25 Mt)
7.4 Second national language
7.5 Foreign languages
7.6 Mathematics
7.7 Environmental and natural sciences
7.8 Biology and geography
7.9 Physics and chemistry

Part IV: Chapters 7.10–7.21 (pdf, 16 Mt)
7.10 Health education
7.11 Religion
7.12 Ethics
7.13 History
7.14 Social studies
7.15 Music
7.16 Visual arts
7.17 Crafts
7.18 Physical education
7.19 Home economics
7.20 Optional subjects
7.21 Educational and vocational guidance

Part V: Chapters 8–9 and Appendix (pdf, 18 Mt)
8. Pupil assessment
9. Instruction in accordance with a special educational task or special pedagogical system or principle
Appendix 1–5
National core curriculum for instruction preparatory to basic education
National core curriculum for voluntary additional basic education

Amendments and additions

Amendments and additions to the National Core Curriculum for Basic Education (pdf)