purpose of general upper secondary education is to support students'
growth into good, balanced, and educated individuals and members of
society, and to provide them with the diverse knowledge and skills
needed in the development of their further studies, working life,
leisure activities, and personality.
General upper secondary
education builds on the basic education syllabus and is provided by
general upper secondary schools, general upper secondary schools for
adults, and other educational institutions. Education providers offering
general upper secondary education require the appropriate permission
issued by the Ministry of Education and Culture. The general upper
secondary school syllabus normally takes three years to complete, and
schools must organise their teaching so as to enable students to finish
their studies within that time frame. The general upper secondary school
syllabus must be completed in four years, unless a student is given an
extension on justified grounds.
At the end of general upper
secondary education, students take the matriculation examination. Its
objective is to clarify whether the student has attained the knowledge
and skills set out in the general upper secondary school syllabus and
has achieved maturity in accordance with the objectives of general upper
secondary education. Students who pass the compulsory tests receive a
matriculation examination certificate. Students cannot be awarded the
certificate unless they have completed the general upper secondary
The statistics on students in general upper
secondary education include data on the education leading to a qualification provided to young people and adults. The statistics on students who
have passed the matriculation examination include data on the Finnish
matriculation examination certificate, the IB, Reifeprufung, and EB
qualifications and the Gymnasieexamen.
The statistics are based on data and registers collected by Statistics Finland and the Finnish National Board of Education.