Basic education

Distribution of lesson hours

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 distribution of lesson hours stipulates the core subjects taught to all pupils and the distribution of teaching hours between different subjects.

The present distribution of lesson hours was confirmed in 2012 and will be implemented together with the new core curriculum in August 2016.

Core curriculum for basic education 2014

The national core curriculum is drawn up 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 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 for basic education was renewed in 2014, and the new curriculum will be gradually implemented in schools starting from August 2016.

You can purchase printed copies of the core curriculum on our online bookstore. The user interface is currently only available in Finnish and Swedish. Copies are also available through international bookstores. The core curriculum can also be purchased in electronic format on, Amazon, Ingram and iTunes.

Core curriculum for basic education 2004

The previous national core curriculum for basic education was confirmed in January 2004 and introduced in schools in August 2006.

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

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

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

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

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