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General upper secondary education

The 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 school syllabus.

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 Agency for Education.