1.7.2022 valid documentation

Basic data of the statistics

Data description

The statistics on the subject choices of students, produced by Statistics Finland, contains data on the subject choices made by the pupils in comprehensive schools and the students in upper secondary education. The data are used in the planning of education and for research and evaluation purposes. The statistics also include data on the subject choices of students in upper secondary general school and vocational education.

The data on the subject choices in comprehensive school education describe the subject choices of comprehensive school pupils on 20 September and the subject choices in upper secondary general school education made during the previous term by those who have completed their studies in upper secondary general school education. The subject choices of students in upper secondary general school or vocational education are from 20 September (for vocational education, the time at which the statistics are compiled changed as of 2018; see Section 6). The statistics on the subject choices of students include classifications describing the educational institution, various regional classifications as well as national and international classifications of the fields and levels of education.

Statistical population

The population of the statistics is the subject choices of pupils in comprehensive education and upper secondary general school or vocational education as well as the subject choices of those who have completed upper secondary general school education.

Statistical unit

The statistical unit is students and their subject choices.

Unit of measure

The data of the statistics on subject choices are released as the numbers and percentages of students’ language choices.

Base period

No indices are used in the statistics.

Reference period

The reference period of statistics is a calendar year. The data on the subject choices in comprehensive school education describe the subject choices of comprehensive school pupils on 20 September and the subject choices in upper secondary general school education made during the previous term by those who have completed their studies in upper secondary general school education. The subject choices of students in upper secondary general school or vocational education are from 20 September.

Reference area

The reference area for the statistics is the whole country (Finland).

Sector coverage

The statistics on subject choices cover data on the subject choices of pupils in comprehensive schools, those who have completed their studies in upper secondary general school education and, as of 2018, also on the subject choices of students in upper secondary general school or vocational education.

The statistics on subject choices are based on the educational institution-specific data reported by the organisers of the tuition/education, collected by Statistics Finland with online forms. The population of the statistics on the subject choices in comprehensive education is composed of educational institutions providing comprehensive education and the statistics on upper secondary general school education of educational institutions providing upper secondary general school education. The data represent total data. As of 2020, the data are produced from the national Koski data resource.

In terms of 2018, the cross-sectional data cover all students in initial vocational education, because the Act on Vocational Education and Training (531/2017), which entered into force at the beginning of 2018, no longer provides for the separation of education into education aimed at young people (curriculum-based initial vocational education) and education aimed at adults (preparatory vocational education). The number of students in the cross-sectional data is not comparable with the number of students in previous years, because, before 2018, the cross-sectional data (of 20 September) only covered students in curriculum-based vocational education aimed at young people.

Time coverage

The data have been released on the website of Statistics Finland as of 2004.

Frequency of dissemination

The statistics on the subject choices of students are released twice a year, in May and December, on the website of Statistics Finland.

Concepts

Completers of full upper secondary general school syllabus

In the statistics on upper secondary general education a completer of full upper secondary general school curriculum refers to a student who has completed satisfactorily the national syllabi contained in upper secondary general school curriculum and received for it a school-leaving certificate from upper secondary general school. Full upper secondary general school syllabus can be completed in upper secondary general schools or folk high schools.

Comprehensive school

In the statistics on pre-primary and comprehensive school education, subject choices of students, special education, and students and qualifications of educational institutions comprehensive schools refer to educational institutions providing basic, general knowledge teaching to an entire age cohort (basic comprehensive school education, compulsory education school). All children of the compulsory school age of 7 to 16 must complete the comprehensive school. Completion of the comprehensive school takes nine years.

Educational institutions of the following types classify as comprehensive schools:
Comprehensive schools
Comprehensive school level special schools
Comprehensive and upper secondary level schools

The full comprehensive school syllabus or subject studied within it can also be completed in upper secondary general schools and folk high schools but the basic teaching they provide is aimed at students over the compulsory school age (basic education of adults). These educational institutions and their students are not usually included in the statistics describing comprehensive schools.

Education

An organised activity, the aim of which is to produce competence based on teaching.

Comment:
Education can be divided into education and training leading to a qualification or degree and non-qualification studies.

Education

Education refers here to education leading to a qualification or degree.

Education leading to a qualification or degree (qualification or degree-oriented education) refers to education leading to the completion of the full syllabus of comprehensive school (school-leaving certificate), completion of the full syllabus of upper secondary general school (matriculation examination certificate), International Baccalaureate certificate, Reifeprüfung certificate, European Baccalaureate certificate, Gymnasieexamen certificate, initial vocational qualification, basic vocational qualification, specialist vocational qualification, university of applied sciences degree, higher university of applied sciences degree or university degree.

Education leading to a qualification or degree is classified by the classification of education.

Educational institution

An educational institution refers to an administrative unit with a principal or other head, which has teachers and other personnel in its service (role of employers), and which is liable to keep books and compile other documentation, in which students are registered, whose activities are regulated by a legal act or decree, which follows a national curriculum, and which is financed and controlled by a public authority. An educational institution does not refer to a school building or facility. A new educational institution is established, an educational institution is abolished or merged with another educational institution at the decision of the organiser of education (maintainer of the educational institution) or a public authority.

Statistics Finland has assigned an individualised educational institution ID to each educational institution. Educational institutions are classified according to a classification of types of educational institutions.

Educational system

The Finnish educational system is comprised of the following:

Pre-primary education is provided in Finland to 6-year-old children, usually at children's day care homes. Some 6-year-old children receive pre-primary education in comprehensive schools. Attendance of pre-primary education has been compulsory since 2015.
Comprehensive school education is general knowledge education provided for entire age cohorts. All children permanently resident in Finland must attend compulsory education. Compulsory education starts in the year of the child's seventh birthday.
Compulsory education finishes when the syllabus of comprehensives school education has been completed (9-year comprehensive school), or 10 years from the start of compulsory education. In exceptional cases compulsory education may start already at the age of six and last 11 years due to a disability or illness. A student who has received a leaving certificate from comprehensive school in the same year or in the year before it may continue to attend optional additional education (10th grade).

Post-comprehensive school education, or upper secondary general education and vocational education represent secondary level of education. Upper secondary general school education is education leading to a matriculation examination. Its scope is three years and it gives general eligibility to further education. Vocational education can be either educational institution-based or apprenticeship training. In apprenticeship training, most of the studying is comprised of learning through practical work tasks at a workplace. The qualifications are initial vocational qualifications attained in three years, which also give general eligibility to further polytechnic or university studies.

Further and specialist vocational qualifications represent further vocational education. They, as well as initial vocational qualifications can be attained in a skills examination that can be taken irrespective of the way of acquisition of professional skills, and in which skills can be proven on the basis of preparatory education for a skills examination or work experience.

Attainment of university of applied sciences degrees takes 3.5 to 4.5 years and higher university of applied sciences degrees requiring work practice 1-1.5 years. Attainment of lower university degrees takes three years while higher university degrees take two years longer. Attainers of higher level university degrees may continue their studies to licentiate and doctorate level degrees.

Grade

In the statistics on comprehensive school education, subject choices of students and special education, comprehensive school education is divided into nine grades from one to nine. In addition to these, pre-primary education of pupils of pre-primary education registered in comprehensive schools and additional education (10th class) of comprehensive school education are included in comprehensive school education.

Statistics on pupils are compiled by grade. If pupils cannot be allocated to a certain grade, e.g. in special education, they are included in the statistics of the grade that corresponds their age.

Pupil

In the statistics on comprehensive school education, on subject choices of students and on special education, comprehensive school pupils refer to all pupils registered at comprehensive schools: pupils of pre-primary education, pupils of grades 1 to 9 and pupils of additional education (10th class).

Data on the number of comprehensive school pupils describe the situation on 20 September.

School-leaving certificate from upper secondary general school

In the statistics on upper secondary general education and on subject choices of students, a school-leaving certificate from upper secondary general school refers to a certificate issued to a student who has completed satisfactorily the full upper secondary general school syllabusiculum. A school-leaving certificate from upper secondary general school can be issued by an upper secondary general school or a folk high school.

Sector of education

Comprehensive education, general upper secondary education, vocational education, university of applied sciences education, university education.

Sector of education

In the statistics on educational institutions, education is divided into the following sectors of education:
- Comprehensive school education
- Upper secondary general education
- Vocational education
- University of applied sciences education
- University education.

Subject choices

In the statistics on subject choices the point of departure for language choice is the student's choice. Language choices are reported according to the length of studies in a language.

A1 language is a common (compulsory) language started in grades 1 to 6.
A2 language is an optional language started in grades 1 to 6.
B1 language is a common (compulsory) language started in grades 7 to 9.
B2 language is an optional language started in grades 7 to 9 (at least six courses in upper secondary general school).
B3 language is an optional language started in upper secondary general school (at least six courses).
"Optional language, less than six courses" is a language started in upper secondary general school and studied for fewer than six courses.

Accuracy, reliability and timeliness

Overall accuracy

The data represent total data. The deficiencies and errors in the data reported by the data providers may have a negative impact on the quality of the statistics.

Timeliness

The data are completed approximately nine months after the reference period (the subject choices of pupils in comprehensive school), while the subject choices of those who have completed upper secondary general school education are released with a delay of approximately seven months.

Punctuality

There are no delays between the release calendar and the actual release date.

Comparability

Comparability - geographical

The statistics are internationally comparable and cover the whole of Finland.

Comparability - over time

Statistics Finland has compiled the statistics on the subject choices of students since 1994. The comparability between years is affected by changes in the education system, classifications and the compiling of statistics. As of the statistical year 2011, the subject choices of students in comprehensive education have included the subject choices of both pupils in comprehensive schools and the subject choices of students in the basic education of educational institutions other than comprehensive schools (such as upper secondary schools for adults and folk high schools). The language choices of students in basic education provided elsewhere than in comprehensive schools are released in the database tables of these statistics.

In terms of 2018, the cross-sectional data cover all students in initial vocational education, because the Act on Vocational Education and Training (531/2017), which entered into force at the beginning of 2018, no longer provides for the separation of education into education aimed at young people (curriculum-based initial vocational education) and education aimed at adults (preparatory vocational education). The number of students in the cross-sectional data is not comparable with the number of students in previous years, because, before 2018, the cross-sectional data (of 20 September) only covered students in curriculum-based vocational education aimed at young people.

Coherence - cross domain

The statistical data are coherent between different years.

Coherence - internal

The statistics are based on the same data sources and have been compiled in accordance with the same principles as the other statistics of Statistics Finland describing education. These statistics can be used in parallel, provided that the specific characteristics of the statistics are taken into account.

Source data and data collections

Source data

The statistics on subject choices are based on the educational institution-specific data reported by the organisers of the tuition/education, collected by Statistics Finland with online forms. The population of the statistics on the subject choices in comprehensive education is composed of educational institutions providing comprehensive education and the statistics on upper secondary general school education of educational institutions providing upper secondary general school education. The data represent total data. As of 2020, the data are obtained from the national Koski data resource.

Data collection

The data of the statistics have been collected with an electronic form.

Frequency of data collection

The data for the statistics are collected annually. As of 2020, the statistics are based on administrative data, produced from the Koski data resource of the Finnish National Agency for Education.

Methods

Data compilation

During the processing of the data, the high quality of the data is ensured through various statistical verification programs, data requests addressed to data providers as well as by comparing the data with previous comparable statistics and other data sources.

Data validation

During the processing of the data, the high quality of the data is ensured through various statistical verification programs, data requests addressed to data providers as well as by comparing the data with previous comparable statistics and other data sources.

Principles and outlines

Contact organisation

Statistics Finland

Contact organisation unit

Social statistics

Legal acts and other agreements

The compilation of statistics is guided by the general act of the national statistical service, the Statistics Act (280/2004, amend. 361/2013). Only the necessary data that are not available from administrative data sources are collected from data suppliers. Index series are published so that no individual enterprise’s data or development can be deduced from them.

The data of the statistics are used for reporting data to Eurostat as required by EU Regulation (Commission Regulation (EU) No 912/2013 implementing Regulation (EC) No 452/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the production and development of statistics on education and lifelong learning, as regards statistics on education and training systems).

Confidentiality - policy

The data protection of data collected for statistical purposes is absolutely guaranteed in accordance with the Statistics Act (280/2004), the Personal Data Act (532/1999) and the Act on the Openness of Government Activities (621/1999), as well as the requirements of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (2016/679). The data materials are protected at all stages of processing with the necessary physical and technical solutions. Statistics Finland has compiled detailed directions and instructions for confidential processing of the data. Employees have access only to the data essential for their duties. The premises where unit-level data are processed are not accessible to outsiders. Members of the personnel have signed a pledge of secrecy upon entering the service. Wilful breaching of data protection is punishable.

Confidentiality - data treatment

The statistics on the subject choices of students do not contain individual-based data.

Release policy

Statistics Finland’s release calendar lists in advance all the statistical data and publications to be released over the year. Statistical releases can be found under statistics-specific releases. Statistical data are released on the internet at 8.00, unless otherwise indicated. The calendar is updated on weekdays. Statistics Finland’s release calendar for the coming year is published every year in December.

Data sharing

Data of the statistics are made available to the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Finnish National Agency for Education in accordance with the H9098-OKM-OPH information service agreement.

Data of the statistics are reported to UNESCO, the OECD and Eurostat in the UOE education statistics survey and in the related separate surveys.

Accessibility and clarity

The statistics on the subject choices of students and the related statistical database updates are published on Statistics Finland’s website. Data users can subscribe to emails concerning releases on desired topics (“news notification service”).

The releasing of topical news, such as news contents, is decided on a case-by-case basis. The channels of topical news are:
www.stat.fi
www.facebook.com/Tilastotohtori
https://twitter.com/StatsFinland

Quality assessment

During the processing of the data, the high quality of the data is ensured through various statistical verification programs, data requests addressed to data providers as well as by comparing the data with previous comparable statistics and other data sources. The deficiencies and errors in the data reported by the data providers nevertheless have a negative impact on the quality of the statistics.

Quality assurance

When compiling statistics, Statistics Finland observes the European Statistics Code of Practice (CoP) and the Quality Assurance Framework (QAF) based on them. The Code of Practice concerns the independence and accountability of statistical authorities and the quality of processes and data to be published. The principles are in line with the Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics approved by the United Nations Statistics Division and are supplementary to them. The quality criteria of Official Statistics of Finland are also compatible with the European Statistics Code of Practice. The principles are also compatible with those of the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM).
More information about this is available on Statistics Finland’s on quality management pages.

Every year Statistics Finland conducts statistical auditing that helps to ensure the quality of statistics.

The statistics on the subject choices of students are official statistics. The Official Statistics of Finland (OSF) are a comprehensive collection of statistics describing the development and state of society. They comprise nearly 300 sets of statistics on 26 different topics. The producers of Official Statistics of Finland have approved a common quality assurance in which they commit to common quality criteria and quality assurance measures. The quality criteria of Official Statistics of Finland are compatible with the European Statistics Code of Practice. The good practices followed in the statistics are presented in Statistics Finland’s Quality Guidelines for Official Statistics handbook.

User access

The data are released simultaneously for all users of the statistics on the home page of the statistics at: http://stat.fi/til/ava/index_en.html

Statistical experts

Vesa Hämäläinen
Senior Statistician
029 551 2594