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EACEA National Policies Platform


6. Education and Training

6.5 Cross-border learning mobility

Last update: 20 April 2024

Policy framework

As described in Eurydice database/Finland 13. Mobility and internationalisation, 'the international mobility of students and teachers is an essential part of basic education in Finland. The national core curriculum for primary and lower secondary (basic) education sets internationalisation and cultural understanding as one of the key objectives in education. Therefore educational programmes throughout all levels of the education sector contain elements supporting internationalisation. Moreover, the education system provides students with a variety of possibilities to study outside Finland and to gain knowledge of other languages, cultures and societies.' The main agency for implementing policies in the field of international co-operation in education, training, youth, sports and culture is the Finnish National Agency for Education

As described in Mobility scoreboard database/Finland (2023, Country fiches, chapter 1.1.4), 'there is a clear legal base for international learning mobility in Finnish IVET. Based on the Vocational Education and Training Act which governs the organisation of upper secondary vocational education and training for both young and adult students, the new National Qualification Requirements include clear and consistent references to international labour market skills, globalising business and the need for international skills that can be gained through learning mobility. This gives a solid legal basis for the IVET providers to arrange learning mobility periods as part of their offerings. In 2022, a new optional module of the qualification "Working in international tasks" entered into force and it is placed in the common modules of the qualification in VET. This new optional qualification unit available in all upper secondary level vocational qualifications allows VET students to gain work experience in international environments. The new unit brings opportunities especially to those students whose fields have not traditionally had international mobility as a part of their training.'

What comes to higher education, Finland is among those European education systems, which have introduced top-level strategies dealing mainly or in part with guidance and information on outgoing mobility (Mobility Scoreboard Higher education background report 2022/2023). For Finland the strategy is called International strategy for higher education and research 2017-2025. The main content of the strategy is described in Eurydice/Finland 13.5 Other dimensions of internationalisation in higher education. For more information, see 'Updated vision for international activities in Finnish higher education and research published' (The Ministry of Education and Culture, News 16.8.2022)

Main cross-border mobility programmes for students in formal education

The government financial resources for the internationalisation of education and training are channelled through the Finnish National Agency for Education. There are also other national organisations offering funding to help finance, for example school exchanges. The main programmes for international student and staff mobility are Erasmus+ in European countries and Nordplus in Nordic and Baltic countries. 

Erasmus+ and Nordplus Junior are targeted at pupils and students in primary, lower secondary and upper secondary education, both general and vocational study programmes. Mobility periods are linked to studies in relation to national curricula. The length of the mobility periods varies from a couple of days to several months. The pupils and students receive the financial support for travel, accommodation and catering through the projects financed by either Erasmus+ or Nordplus. For more information, see Eurydice database/Finland 13.1 Mobility in early childhood and school education.

Promoting mobility in the context of non-formal learning, and of youth work

The Youth Act leaves open the form of youth work services, which the municipalities need to organise based on various needs at the local level. On the other hand, all the different kind of bodies (including also NGOs and parishes) offering youth work or sharing expertise on youth work at the local and national levels have long traditions in international youth work. Based on the Youth Act, international youth work can also be granted by the annual state budget. There are also 'National youth centres' around the country which are especially named in the Act for promoting an international orientation for young people.

As a public authority the Regional State Administrative Agencies have the role to promote and implement international youth work on a regional level, whereby they organise, for example, in-service trainings and networking events for the people working with young people. For more about the role of the Regional State Administrative Agencies in youth work in Finland, see their webpage ‘Youth’. 

Quality assurance

The Finnish National Agency for Education publishes annual statistics on international mobility of students and education professionals in Finland. The statistics are collected from comprehensive schools, general upper secondary schools, vocational institutions and higher education institutions. They include all kind of mobility regardless if funded by educational institutions, state or for example Erasmus+. Regarding the Erasmus+, for example equality of the distribution of the funds to different regions of the country is followed.

The Finnish National Agency for Education together with several other Erasmus+ Youth National Agencies and research partners also participate in transnational, on-going Research-based analysis of European Youth Programmes. The regular surveys that are carried out measure the impact participation in Youth in Action and Erasmus+ has had on participants´ learning, attitudes and active participation in society. For more information, see RAY MON - Research project on the evidence-based analysis and monitoring of Erasmus+ Youth.