It is important that children and young people who have fled the war in Ukraine to Finland have a possibility to continue to go to school as soon as possible. This page contains information on the different support measures available in preparatory education and basic education.
Students descending stairs

Children and young people from Ukraine are arriving in different parts of Finland, and the number of people fleeing the country will certainly increase. Some Ukrainians will move on from Finland to elsewhere in Europe, some will move within Finland's borders from one place of residence to another, and some have found a more permanent place of residence straight after arriving. Most of the refugees will certainly want to return to their homeland as quickly as possible, but no one knows the timetable for their return. 

Those who have fled Ukraine have the opportunity to apply for temporary protection. For more information on policies concerning Ukrainians’ entry into the country, see the websites of the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Education and Culture. 

Given the uncertainty and unpredictability caused by the war, flexibility must be prioritised in teaching arrangements for basic education. It is important that children and young people arriving in Finland are quickly offered the opportunity to attend school. The everyday life of the school, with its routines and interactions, brings coherence to their life and strengthens their sense of safety.

Under section 4 of the Basic Education Act, a municipality is obliged to arrange basic education for children of compulsory school age, as defined in section 26(1) of the Act, as well as pre-primary education for the year preceding the start of compulsory education. This provision applies to persons enjoying temporary protection and to asylum seekers who are entitled to basic and pre-primary education. For a child to be counted as living in a municipality, it is not necessary that the municipality is also their municipality of residence as defined in the Municipality of Residence Act. It is sufficient for a child to be residing in a municipality in such a way that it can be regarded as their place of residence. 

Under the Basic Education Act, the education of Ukrainian children and young people arriving in the country is arranged as either pre-primary education, basic education or instruction preparing immigrants for basic education (preparatory education). Under this same Act and on the same basis as other pupils, these pupils have the right to education, pupil counselling and adequate support for learning and school attendance as soon as particular needs arise. 

All school pupils – including newcomers – have the right to pupil welfare services. School health care and psychologist's and school social worker’s services provide each student with personalised support according to their needs.

Situations at school can be difficult to predict. The starting point must therefore be that the school provides children, young people and their carers with safe, inclusive structures and a sense of continuity in everyday life, amidst the chaos caused by war and becoming a refugee. Schooling is a positive thing for everyone. It is also positive that many teaching providers, schools and teachers have the skills and experience to arrange teaching and respond to unforeseen situations in the best possible way.

The following describes in more detail the forms of support for basic education and instruction preparing for basic education.