Skip to content

Minister of Education Henriksson: Improving students' basic skills by introducing more lessons and restructuring support measures

Ministry of Education and Culture
Publication date 5.12.2023 12.36
Press release

Findings of the OECD’s PISA 2022 (Programme for International Student Assessment) show that the learning outcomes of young people in Finland have deteriorated. Anna-Maja Henriksson, the Finnish Minister of Education, says restructuring of educational policies and resources for implementing the changes will be needed to improve learning outcomes.

While mathematical, reading and scientific literacy among Finnish students still rank above the OECD average, learning outcomes in Finland have weakened. 

Performance fell in most OECD countries. PISA 2022 took place during the COVID-19 pandemic. Students who took part in the assessment were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic throughout their lower secondary education, at least indirectly if not otherwise. 

"Even though schools on the whole managed to provide teaching and instruction in line with the national curriculum during COVID-19, it was unavoidable that the prolonged pandemic affected the wellbeing, support needs, social competences and learning motivation of an entire cohort. Distance education posed challenges especially among those who needed support, among speakers of minority languages and among students for whom parental support for learning was unavailable," says Minister of Education Anna-Maja Henriksson.

According to Minister Henriksson, it is now time to bring the learning outcomes of Finnish young people into special focus and reverse the declining trend. The Government will improve basic skills by bringing in restructuring measures, and it will invest EUR 200 million in primary and lower secondary education.

"As outlined in the Government Programme, we will raise the minimum number of lessons in primary and lower secondary education by three weekly lessons per year, but in such a way that it does not expand the national curriculum. Two of these weekly lessons will be added for Finnish or Swedish language and literature at grade levels 1 and 2 and one lesson for mathematics at grade levels 3 to 6," says Henriksson. This will help improve reading, writing and mathematical literacy," says Minister Henriksson.

The plan is for the statutory amendments to enter into force in comprehensive schools from 1 August 2025 onwards.

"Legislation on learning support will be completely overhauled in order to reduce the administrative burden on teachers and to make sure enough support measures are available. Every student must have equal opportunities to receive learning support, both as members of their group and as individuals. The different types of support will be harmonised and clarified nationally. We will also ensure that sufficient resources and competences will be made available to implement the support measures. In addition, the Government will set the appropriations for positive discrimination funding at a level of around EUR 50 million a year for a two-year period from 2024 to 2026," says Henriksson.

Inquiries: Alexander Junell, Special Adviser, tel. +358 295 330 055