Preparatory Education for Immigrants

Children and young people immigrating to Finland, as well as pupils with a migrant background, may receive instruction preparing for basic education. The goal with preparatory education is to give the pupil abilities to transfer into a preschool or school. The education promotes integration and language skills, and helps the pupil to absorb the contents in various teaching subjects.

Instruction preparing for basic education usually takes one school year. It is also possible for children and young people who possess the abilities necessary for taking part in basic education to transfer into a school earlier.

The institution organizing the education makes the decision to build classes for preparatory education. The goal is to set up classes that conform to the pupils’ ages and abilities.

To whom and on what terms

Instruction preparing for basic education may be given to pupils with an immigrant background whose Finnish and Swedish skills and other capabilities are not adequate for studying in pre-primary and basic education groups.

Basic information and legislation

Instruction preparing immigrants or children with an immigrant background for basic education promotes integration, language proficiency and learning of the content areas of subjects. Potential studies of the pupil’s native language promote learning skills and reinforce cultural identity as well as lay a foundation for learning Finnish and/or Swedish.

For pupils aged 6 to 10 years, a minimum of 900 hours of this instruction is provided, and for pupils older than this, a minimum of 1,000 hours. Pupils participating in the instruction have the right to transfer to basic education even before these hours have been completed if permitted by their skills and capabilities. Municipalities organise instruction preparing immigrants for basic education on a voluntary basis.