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Developments: New adult education policies coming into force

The position of adult learning and education is strengthened within educational policy, as Finland has undertaken structural reforms, such as the Reform of Continuous Learning, that will be relevant for both formal and non-formal adult education. The recent extension of compulsory education up to 18 years old will give a more solid educational ground for further study paths. In adult learning and education there will be focus on underrepresented groups to keep them employable. For seniors, there will be a new supply for prolonging work careers and promoting active citizenship.

One reason for the improved situation is the current education-friendly government. Adult learning and education institutions have received public support and compensation for losses in income caused by the pandemic and restrictions.

Civil society takes an active part in the design of adult education policies. Finnish Adult Education Association (FAEA) is also involved in the CONFINTEA VI process and will take part in the Finnish delegation.

New policies in Finland

New Education Policy Report of the Finnish Government was published in May 2021 and defines guidelines for the advancement of education to the 2040s. The target state encompasses a strong educational foundation, the well-being and educational equality of learners. The Report proposes measures that span from early childhood education to liberal adult education and continuous learning. 

Continuous learning reform The changing demands of work will significantly increase the need for upskilling and continuous learning. The term ‘continuous learning’ was introduced in Finland to emphasise the importance of continuous upskilling and reskilling in working life. This reform will reach full strength in the year 2022.

Integration training for immigrants The role of popular education is strengthened in language training and basic skills-training programmes for adult learners, especially for women staying at home with children. 

Covid-compensation for adult learning providers

The state funding frame is created always for four years in advance and calibrated each year. The next frame is for the years 2022-2025 which makes educational policy more predictable.

The funding situation has slightly improved since the previous year. Covid19-compensation for losses in income reached a total of 21,5 million euros in 2020. There will also be added funding from the EU as some Finnish recovery and resilience funds will be allocated to the Reform of Continuous Learning.

Generally, adult learning and education in Finland are funded via a multitude of channels: through structural funding, projects, programmes, vouchers, fees, donations and based on the number of participants. As a result of the pandemic, the share of participant fees has decreased.