General Upper Secondary Education guides the students towards drawing up plans for the future, growing into global citizens, and continuous learning (National Core Curriculum for General Upper Secondary Education, NCC GUSE 2019).
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The Finnish National Agency for Education is responsible for many aspects of education under the remit of the Ministry of Education and Culture. The Finnish National Agency for Education draws up the national core curricula, including the national core curriculum for general upper secondary education. Local authorities build the local curricula accordingly. This page introduces Finnish general upper secondary as in the most recent national core Curriculum for general upper secondary education of 2019, which is to be implemented as of fall 2021.  


General upper secondary is a three to four years of education following basic education. Its purpose is to strengthen transversal general knowledge and prepare for future studies. Within the 2019 national core curriculum, general knowledge and abilities refer to values, knowledge, skills, and attitudes, as well as individual’s capability of critical and independent thinking to act in a responsible and compassionate manner, and engage in self-development.   


General upper secondary education is built on the basic education syllabus. The education is offered by general upper secondary schools, general upper secondary schools for adults, and other educational institutions with the authorisation to organise general upper secondary education.  


On average, students complete general upper secondary in three years, but they can choose to shorten or extend their studies. The maximum time to complete general upper secondary is four years, unless granted an extension due to well-founded reasons. 


Students have completed the general upper secondary syllabus when they have passed the syllabi and the required number of credits. 


During general upper secondary education, students build their identity, perception of humanity, worldview, and philosophy of life as well as find their place in the world. The studies also advance the students’ interest in the world of science and the arts as well as develops their capabilities for life management and worklife skills. 


Finnish general upper secondary has no tuition fees and offers free school meals.