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Basic education in different languages

The language of instruction in Finnish basic education is either Finnish or Swedish. Some schools run by the City of Helsinki offer instruction in other languages, either partly or entirely. All schools follow the Finnish National core curriculum for basic education.

Click on the titles for more detailed descriptions of different options.

Options in English

Basic education in English: Also referred to as English-medium basic education. Instruction is entirely in English (some compulsory studies in Finnish language and literature are required).

Bilingual Finnish-English education: 25-50 % of instruction is in English and the rest is in Finnish.

English-enriched education: 10-25 % of instruction is in English and the rest is in Finnish.

Options in other languages

Bilingual education in other languages: 25-50 % of instruction is in the target language, and the rest is in Finnish. Available in the following language combinations: Finnish-Spanish, Finnish-Chinese, Finnish-Estonian, Finnish-Russian, and Finnish-Northern Sami.

Swedish-language immersion: Instruction is partly in Swedish and partly in Finnish. Aimed at Finnish-speaking pupils and takes place in Finnish-speaking schools. Starts in early childhood education and continues in basic education.

Good to know

In Finland, everybody has a constitutional right to basic education free of charge. City of Helsinki fulfils this right by offering all residents a place in Finnish or Swedish-language instruction at their local school.

Children and young people with no previous Finnish or Swedish skills are offered a place in preparatory education to help them acquire basic skills in one of the national languages. For more information on preparatory education, see Preparatory education.

In Helsinki, pupils whose mother tongue is not Finnish or Swedish can also participate in additional mother tongue instruction in their own language, or in a language they have acquired while living in another country. For more information on additional mother tongue instruction, see Mother tongue studies.

17.11.2020 09:36

Introduction to school guide

Has your family recently moved to Finland? In this guide you find information on the education system and basic education in Helsinki.