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Teachers in Finland

trusted professionals

Teaching is a popular profession in Finland. The applicant numbers are


many times higher than the intake to teacher education programmes.
Consequently, the qualification situation is relatively good among teachers.
There are many reasons behind this popularity. The teaching profession has
a high status in Finland. Teachers are also autonomous in their work, as the
system is based on trust rather than control.

Teachers are autonomous principals and teachers conduct so called Teachers are recruited in an open
professionals development talks annually, where they process
Finnish teachers have a lot of profession- discuss the past year and the objectives In Finland education providers are
al freedom and opportunities to influ- for the coming year. responsible for employing their teaching
ence their work and the development of staff. They also determine the types and
their schools. They decide Who are the number of posts needed. The recruit-
on the teaching methods, teachers? ment is an open process and the vacant
the teaching materials Teachers A big proportion of posts are advertised in newspapers, pro-
used as well as pupil and
student assessment,
participate in Finnish teachers are
female. This is the case
fessional journals and relevant websites.
Each education provider decides
often in cooperation with developing particularly in pre-primary who is responsible for appointing new
other teachers. Most
teachers also participate
education education, where more
than 90 per cent of the
teachers. It may be the education com-
mittee or another equivalent committee,
in joint decision-making, teachers are female. In the municipal board, the school board
drawing up of local curricula as well as upper secondary education the gender or especially in the case of temporary
acquisitions. distribution is more in balance. Also in an and short-term substitute teachers the
Finnish teachers can also influence international com- principal.
the development of education at national parison, the teaching Teachers are
level. Teachers are generally represented profession is slightly Teachers are required a masters
in the expert groups preparing education
reform and new initiatives. The teachers
more female-domi-
nated than in other
not evaluated degree and peda-
gogical training, but
trade union, which represents 95 per countries. through external education providers
cent of Finnish teachers, is also one of the
most important stakeholders who con-
The teaching
profession is ageing
or formal set the other criteria.
The aim is to select a
tribute to the development of education in Finland. On the one measures. person who is both
and training. hand, the percentage qualified and suitable
Teachers are not evaluated through of teachers under 40 for both the position
external or formal measures. The princi- years of age is 33 per cent which is below in question and the school community.
pals of the institutions are also pedagogi- the OECD average. On the other hand, Most teachers work full time and
cal heads and thus the quality of teaching the proportion of teachers between hold posts as municipal civil servants or
is their responsibility. In many schools 4065 years is above the OECD average. employees. Some teachers work part-

Finnish National Board of Education | Teachers in Finland trusted professionals | FNBE/1


time. When the total number of lessons Finland is below the Ratio of teachers salaries to earnings for
amounts to less than 16 per week, the OECD average. full-time, full-year workers with tertiary
education aged 2564 in 2010.
teacher is considered to work part-time. There are 185195
Primary Lower secondary Upper secondary
Teachers can only be dismissed if school days in a year.
education education education
there is a legitimate reason for this. Such Teachers are not obli-
Australia 0.92 0.92 0.92
reasons can be economic or productive, gated to be at school on
Austria 0.58 0.62 0.64
for example if the teachers workload those days when they Canada 1.05 1.05 1.05
decreases significantly and permanently. have no lessons or other Denmark 0.87 0.87 1.01
However, dismissal is only possible if the particular duties. England 0.99 1.09 1.09
Finland 0.89 0.98 1.10
employer is unable to offer the teach- In addition to teach-
France 0.73 0.79 0.80
ers another job or train them for a new ing, the tasks of teach-
Germany 0.88 0.97 1.05
position. Teachers may also be dismissed ers include planning of Iceland 0.50 0.50 0.61
if they are unable to carry out their duties instruction and pre- and Ireland 0.82 0.82 0.82
adequately. post-class work. Fur- Israel 0.85 0.87 0.92
thermore, the schools Italy 0.57 0.60 0.64
Conditions of service negotiated Korea 1.31 1.30 1.30
internal development
Netherlands 0.70 0.84 0.84
collectively tasks and cooperation New Zealand 0.98 1.01 1.03
The conditions of service for teachers with colleagues, homes Norway 0.66 0.66 0.70
are negotiated collectively between the and other partners, Portugal 1.19 1.19 1.19
Local authority employers and the Trade such as staff in pupil Scotland 0.95 0.95 0.95
Spain 1.21 1.35 1.38
Union of Education in Finland with an and social welfare
Sweden 0.79 0.81 0.86
interval of a few years. These negotia- services, the local family
United States 0.67 0.69 0.72
tions result in small adjustments to the counselling clinic, the
conditions. The salary development has police, business life, OECD average 0.82 0.85 0.90
in general been in line with that of other form an integrated part EU21 average 0.81 0.85 0.90

professions. of teaching work. For OECD: Education at a Glance 2012


Teachers salaries are based on the this type of activities
tasks and their requirements, the results an allocation of three
of their work and work experience. The hours of work has been determined in education and promotion. Teachers have
amount of a teachers teaching duties the collective agreement for teachers in the right to participate in this obligatory
and the possibility basic education and training with full salary benefits.
to accumulate extra three hours in two The education providers carry primary
hours has an impact Teachers are weeks for teachers in responsibility for continuing teacher
on the salary, as well
as additional duties.
recruited locally general upper second-
ary education.
education. Teachers themselves have,
however, been given greater responsibil-
Employers can also suitability ity for developing their professional skills
Teachers careers
pay a personal bonus
on the basis of the
to the school Teachers in Finland
and expertise. More and more attention
is being paid to self-motivated continu-
outcomes of the indi- community one generally have many ing education. Local authorities support
vidual teachers work.
selection criteria opportunities to it within their financial limits and with
develop their profes- financial support from the State.
Working time is sionalism. However, in The State is primarily responsible for
mainly based on teaching duties terms of promotion, the teaching career continuing education that is important
Most teachers working hours are in Finland is flat. The only career move for implementing education policy and
based on teaching duties. The teaching is to apply for a principals post. In some which promotes its aims. Education
duties vary between 16 and 24 weekly municipalities teachers may be appointed providers and teachers are supported by
45-minute lessons according to the type coordinating or specialist teachers in government funding in terms of reforms
of institution and subject. At vocational their subject. significant to education policy.
institutions, the teachers commonly Continuing education is compulsory The retirement age alternates
have an annual teaching duty. In some for teachers. In general education teach- between 60 and 65 years. The pension
vocational fields the teachers have overall ers are obliged to participate in training replacement rate ranges from 60 to 66
working hours. Comparing internation- for a minimum of 3 days per year. There per cent.
ally, the number of teaching hours in is no formal link between continuing

Finnish National Board of Education | Teachers in Finland trusted professionals | FNBE/1

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