31.5.2018

Majority of pupils with special needs are boys in primary education in Finland

Boys are a majority in special needs education in most countries. According to the data collected by the European Agency Statistics on Inclusive Education (EASIE) the situation in Finland is close to the European average.

Compared to neighbouring countries Denmark shows the highest proportions of boys in special needs education and Sweden the lowest.

Proportion of boys in special needs education in the Nordic countries and Estonia at primary level in 2015

Graph: Proportion of boys in special needs education in the Nordic countries and Estonia at primary level in 2015

In 2016 there were altogether 41 000 pupils (7.6 %) in special needs basic education (ISCED 1 & 2). The number of boys was 28 900 (70 % of SN pupils). The total number of students was 538 800.

Number of pupils in separate special needs schools had decreased

The objective in Finland has for the last few years been to integrate as many pupils with special needs as possible. A positive trend can be observed during the last five years. In 2016 the number of pupils in special needs institutions was 15 per cent lower than in 2011. The proportion of pupils in such institutions of all pupils receiving special needs support was circa 10 per cent in 2016.

Comparing to neighbouring countries, Iceland and Norway show very low proportions of pupils in special institutions. In Sweden the proportion is very high, nearly 90 per cent.

Proportion of special needs pupils in special needs institutions at primary level in 2015

Graph: Proportion of special needs pupils in special needs institutions at primary level in 2015

Sweden, however, differs from the other neighbouring countries in that only one per cent of all primary education pupils receive special needs support.

Rate of inclusion has improved

The proportion of pupils who have been partly integrated into mainstream education has grown in Finland. In 2016 circa 62 per cent of pupils with special needs studied at least partly in mainstream groups. Compared to neighbouring countries, however, Finland is not at the top.

Proportion of special needs pupils in primary education studying more than 80 % of their instruction time in mainstream classes

Graph: Proportion of special needs pupils in primary education studying more than 80 % of their instruction time in mainstream classes

The inclusion rate is very high in Iceland and Norway. Over 90 per cent of Norwegian and Icelandic pupils study at least 80 per cent of their instructions time in mainstream classes.

The corresponding figure for Finland is 35 per cent. In Denmark only 6.1 per cent mainly study in mainstream classes.

Sources

European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education

Vipunen – Education Statistics Finland | Special and intensified support

Boys are a majority in special needs education in most countries. According to the data collected by the European Agency Statistics on Inclusive Education (EASIE) the situation in Finland is close to the European average.