Free education in Swedish or Finnish

In Finland all children are obliged to complete basic education comprising grades 1- 9. Education is free and each child has the right to attend school in one of the official languages, Finnish or Swedish. It is thus possible to attend all education in Swedish, from day care centres and schools up to university and polytechnics. The basic education starts during the year a child turns 7 and it is preceded by a voluntary pre-primary school year. In some municipalities pre-primary education is organised together with day care whereas it in others is organised together with the school. It is up to the parents to choose a child’s school language. For example, in bilingual families where both Finnish and Swedish are spoken the parents should carefully consider their choice of school language. If the parents have other native languages than Finnish or Swedish they may choose in which language the child should be educated. The basic education is often preceded by day care or pre-primary education in the same language. There are about 280 Swedish-language schools offering basic education in Finland. The number of pupils amounts to some 33 000.