Under the Basic Education Act, local authorities have a statutory duty to organise comprehensive school education in their area for all children in the age range when education is compulsory. The Government may also grant registered associations, foundations and the State the right to organise comprehensive school education.
The local authorities appoint a catchment area local school for each pupil, which provides teaching in the pupil's mother tongue if the education provider is obligated by law to provide teaching in that language. Pupils can also apply for admission to a school other than their catchment area’s local school.
The Government participates in funding the costs related to comprehensive school education by allocating central government transfers to education providers as laid down in the Act on Central Government Transfers to Local Government for Basic Public Services.
Objectives, curricula and distribution of lesson hours
The purpose of education within the meaning of the Basic Education Act is to enable pupils to evolve into humane and ethically responsible members of society as well as to provide them with the knowledge and skills needed in life.
The Government makes all decisions on the common national objectives for basic education, the division of time used for teaching lessons in different subjects and subject areas in basic education as well as the distribution of time used for guidance counselling.
The Finnish National Agency for Education makes decisions on the objectives and key content of the different subjects and subject areas in basic education and guidance counselling, on the key principles for cooperation between the home and school and for pupil welfare, as well as on the objectives for student welfare in education (i.e. the national core curriculum).
Curricula based on the national core curriculum are drawn up individually by each municipality and/or each school. A curriculum steers and develops the school's teaching activities.