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Extension of compulsory education gets constitutional green light

The government has proposed raising the age of compulsory education from 16 to 18 years of age.

Yhdeksännen luokan oppilaita englannin kielen opetuksen tunnilla, opettajana lehtori Katariina Pekuri, Riihikallion koulu, Tuusula, 15.1.2019.
There are no constitutional obstacles to the extension of compulsory education proposed by the government. Image: Jari Kovalainen / Yle
Yle News

Parliament’s Constitutional Law Committee has given a green light to the government's proposed extension of compulsory education to the age of 18 from the current age of 16.

The committee found that there was no constitutional obstacle to the government’s plans, which are aimed at tackling youth marginalisation in Finland as well as dismantling thresholds that exclude members of families living in poverty by covering the cost of books and equipment.

According to the constitution, compulsory education must include free tuition, and this is also the starting point for the government's proposal.

However, the committee did make a number of suggested clarifications to the proposed bill, which included a finding that the current draft was not sufficiently clear that compulsory education does not necessarily mean compulsory schooling.

The committee said that legislation should therefore reflect alternative ways of completing compulsory education to the age of 18.

The decision of the 17-member committee was unanimous.

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