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EACEA National Policies Platform



Last update: 28 November 2023

Basic Education in Arts

Basic education in arts (in Finnish: here) is one of the central concepts in the field of creativity and culture for young people in Finland. Basic education in the arts is provided primarily for children and young people on an extracurricular basis. Basic arts education is provided at music institutes and schools, art schools, dance institutes and schools, handicrafts schools and other educational institutions. Basic education in the different fields of art progresses in a goal-oriented manner from one level to the next and provides students with the skills to express themselves as well as the ability to apply for vocational training and education or higher education in this field.


Local authorities (municipalities) have a broad responsibility for the provision of basic services to citizens. They have strong self-governance based on local democracy and decision-making, and the right to levy taxes. There are 311 municipalities in Finland (2019). A municipality has the responsibility for example to ensure how education but also youth work, cultural and other kinds of activities in collaboration with/by and for young people are offered at the local level. The highest decision-making authority is vested in local councils that are elected by residents. According to the Local Government Act, all municipalities must also have a youth council or equivalent action group of young people. The youth council should be given the possibility to influence planning, preparation, implementation and follow-up activities in different sectors that are relevant to residents’ well-being, health, studying, environment, living and traffic, as well as other matters that the youth council considers relevant. Municipalities can allocate resources as they see fit, within, however, the parameters of the national objectives and guidelines. The statutory body at the local level, which is responsible for coordinating cross-sectoral cooperation in youth services, plays a central role in developing local youth work and policy strategy. 

According to the Child Welfare Act, the municipalities must also draw up a plan to promote the well-being of children and young people. In the context of employment, entrepreneurship, and the Youth Guarantee, these plans are used, for example, to develop spending strategies on youth workshops and the availability of summer jobs for pupils and students. The social and health services are also arranged by the municipalities. In the future, these services will be managed at the regional level.

Regional State Administrative Agencies

The Regional State Administrative Agencies are responsible for the regional implementation of the Ministry of Education and Culture in the field of education, culture, day care, libraries, sports, and youth work. The Ministry exercises result-based management and provides the resources for the Regional State Administrative Agencies. Their tasks include e.g. assessing the accessibility of basic services and producing information on the impact of local and regional youth work and youth policy. They are also responsible for handling complaints and organising in-service training.

Additionally, the agencies distribute discretionary government transfers to youth workshops, outreach youth work, local hobby activities for children and young people, and local and regional projects organised for young people. The six regional state administrative agencies are: Southern Finland, Eastern Finland, Southwestern Finland, Western and Inland Finland, Northern Finland, and Lapland.

Youth Guarantee

In 2013, the government promised an allocation of 60 million euros per year for the establishment of the Youth Guarantee. The core element of the Guarantee was the reduction of the waiting time young people face when becoming a client of Labour Services, so that “young people under the age of 25, and recent graduates under the age of 30 are offered a place for work, a work placement, a study place, a place at a workshop, or rehabilitation placement no later than three months after registering as unemployed”. The methods for implementing the Guarantee include measures related to the educational guarantee, the skills programme for young adults, public employment and economic development services for youth, and rehabilitation services, including municipal social and health care services and other individual services for young people, such as outreach youth work and workshop activities.

After the 2015 parliamentary elections, the new government announced the idea of 'turning the Youth Guarantee into a community guarantee.' The services for young people in need of support were transferred to a single place, namely to One-Stop-Shops. This service centre gathers all the relevant employment and social services for young people under one roof. In 2018, almost 60 centres nationwide were established. There are also other measures for supporting the implementation of the Youth Guarantee, however in 2016, government funding was cut by ten million euros, over a three year period.

Youth Work

As a part of local youth work and youth policy, the Youth Act defines the roles and responsibilities of the local authorities, youth associations and other organisations doing youth work. Based on the Youth Act, the responsibility of providing youth work services offered at a local level rests with the local government. Since the beginning of the year 2017 a new Youth Act (1285/2016) has been put into force. One of the differences from the earlier is that it no longer includes a list of the forms of youth work which should be available at the local level, but refers to the responsibility of local authorities to consider the content based on the local need. Furthermore, the list included in the government proposal (PG 111/2016/Proposal of the Finnish Government to Parliament as regards the content of the Youth Act, in Finnish) related to the preparation of the updated Act describes what the content of youth work can be and traditionally has also been in Finland: educational guidance for young people; facilities and hobby opportunities; youth information and counselling; support for youth associations and other youth groups; sport-related, cultural, international and multicultural youth activities; young people's environmental education, youth workshop services and outreach youth work. 

The Ministry of Education and Culture annually allocates government funding to the national youth organisations, municipal youth work, statutory bodies, and other actors doing youth work. The Ministry has additional appropriations for measures that address topical issues, such as young people's social empowerment, international projects, and new forms of youth work and youth culture. Most of the youth work and youth activities are organised in the evenings, on weekends and during the school holidays. These are arranged by municipalities, non-governmental youth and youth work associations, national youth centres and parishes, and based on the funding regulations, young people themselves are expected to have an active role in planning, realising and evaluating these activities.