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Education Minister: High school students should be allowed to study—and graduate—in English

Finland's Education Minister says that high school students should be able to take their exams in English—and that English language tuition should be more widely available.

Finnish pupils get distinctive white caps when they graduate from high school. Image: Kaisa Siren / AOP

High school students could soon be allowed to study in English, if the Education Minister gets her way. Sanni Grahn-Laasonen has asked for a report on expanding provision of English language tuition for Upper Secondary level students, with the results due in February.

At present the Upper Secondary level exams can only be taken in Finnish and Swedish, although the native language test can also be taken in Sami or in Finnish or Swedish as a second language, if a candidate's native language is not Sami, Finnish or Swedish.

Grahn-Laasonen says she believes more English tuition is necessary to ease the integration of highly-qualified experts into the Finnish workforce, as they often move with school-age children. It would also, she says, help Finnish students to broaden the horizons and seek new opportunities.

"We need more international schools and daycare centres," said Grahn-Laasonen. "Our reputation for education expertise should be used as an asset in attracting international experts. Educational opportunities for family members could be a deciding factor in recruitment."

Grahn-Laasonen will invite representatives from the municipalities controlling Finland's biggest cities to discuss how they can improve educational provision in English.