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The Finnish Society (the s.c.nordic FAQ)
nordic flags
The home pages for the Usenet newsgroup soc.culture.nordic
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The Finnish Society

 

4.2.7 Government

The Finnish constitution was adopted in 1919. Finland is a republic, headed by a president elected for a 6-year term. The president is chosen by the general electorate (all citizens over 18). Supreme executive power is vested in the president, who heads the country's foreign policy. Legislative power is shared by the president and the one-chamber parliament of 200 members. The government which is headed by a prime minister, is responsible for the country's general administration. Judicial power is vested in independent courts of justice. Finland has had an ombudsman (oikeusasiamies), an impartial public officer whose duty is to handle public complaints against actions of the government, since 1919.

The constitution of Finland guarantees a freedom of religion, but the Evangelical Lutheran church is an official state church to which 84 % of the population belongs to. The Orthodox church is also a state church, 1.1 % of Finns are members (mainly in the east); those with no religious affiliation constitute 12 % of the population.

See section 4.4 for more information about the current parliament, cabinet and political parties. The virtual Embassy by the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs publishes on the web among a lot of interesting documents also weekly newsletter on arts and sports.

 

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4.2.8 The School system

Parents choose between placing their children in the Finnish-language or the Swedish-language school. Education on either of the languages is provided on all levels.

The compulsory education (Fi: peruskoulu, Sw: grundskolan) starts when the child is 6 or 7 years old. The 9-year schooling is normally completed when the pupil is 15 or 16.

High schools (Fi: lukio, Sw: gymnasium) are either academically or vocationally oriented, with roughly half of the students attending university-preparatory study programs, culminating with high school diploma (Fi: ylioppilastutkinto, Sw: studentexamen) after rigorous examination where grades are given on basis of the student's achievement in relation to the nationwide graduating class. The more vocationally oriented high schools (Fi: ammattikoulu, Sw: yrkesskola) train their students in things such as auto mechanics, hairdressing, etcetera.

Virtually all students attend public schools. Some private and semi-private schools exist, in many cases offering education based on a specific education philosophy or religious affiliation.

Åland

The teaching language in all schools in Åland is Swedish. The nine-year comprehensive school, for which the local districts are responsible, provides a general basic education. The English language is a compulsory subject at comprehensive school, while the Finnish language is optional. Pupils completing their schooling there may sit for either the Finnish State Matriculation Examination, or else the special Åland Leaving Examination in which Finnish is not a compulsory subject.



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© Copyright 1994-2001 by Antti Lahelma and Johan Olofsson.
You are free to quote this page as long as you mention the URL.
The line of flags is modified after a picture at det Åländska skoldatanätet.
This page was last updated June the 14th in the year of 1998.

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