Finland/ 8.3 Arts and cultural education  

8.3.1 Institutional overview

For the legislative basis of arts and cultural education, see Table 18 in chapter 7.1.

The institutions of professional education and training are administratively separated from the rest of the cultural and arts administration because they are within the jurisdiction of the Department of Education and Science of the Ministry of Education and Culture (see chapter 3.1). These institutions forms a hierarchical structure built upon nine year comprehensive compulsory school and post-compulsory secondary academic or vocational education which have as a dual top of higher education consisting of art universities (N=4) and polytechnics (N=29). The four art universities are Sibelius Academy, University of Art and Design, Theatre Academy and Academy of Fine Arts. Presently there are, however, only three "pure" art universities, because the University of Art and Design became part of the Aalto University as it was administratively fused with the University of Technology and the Helsinki School of Economics. The three other art universities, the Sibelius Academy of Music, the Academy of Fine Arts and the Theatre Academy merged into a University of the Arts Helsinki in January 12013. In the new university there are about 2 100 students and personnel of 600.  

There are no "pure" art polytechnics, but most of them have special programmes for the arts, arts management, media and humanities. Furthermore, the graduates of the faculties of humanities at "science universities" are competing in labour markets with the graduates of art universities and polytechnics e.g. for jobs at publishing houses and managerial and administrative posts at cultural associations and foundations.

The secondary level of this educational structure is supported with an extensive system of art schools, music schools and conservatories which in turn are supported by the systems of extra-curricular "basic" arts education and paralleled by secondary schools with special art oriented curricula (for a description of the system, see  chapter 8.3.5).

Historically the voluntary general (non-vocational) adult education has been one of the basic pillars of the Finnish arts and culture – and also of Finnish culture in ideological and socio-cultural sense. It is often contrasted to vocational adult education, which offer occupational basic and retraining programmes and courses and aims at balancing supply and demand unbalances in labour markets (see Table 18 in chapter 7.1).

The main institutional forms of the voluntary general adult education are Citizens' Institutes (originally; Institutes of Citizens and Workers) and People's Collages (see chapter 7.1 Table 18). The former are more arts and humanist oriented and teaching is carried out as specialised courses for study groups. The People collages have integrated term-based curricula, which are not usually bound to a single academic discipline or an occupational category. The courses of Citizens Institutes are often offered in summer universities or by Study Centres managed by coalitions of political or ideological third sector associations.

In 2013 there were 189 citizens' institutes, 90 people's colleges, 20 summer universities and 11 study centres. In the 2000s an average 1.7 million persons have annually participated the education they have provided The state formula based transfers and other subsidies to these institutions and their management amounted to 181.6 million EUR There is no legal obligations for municipalities to contribute and course fees and tuitions are more important than in the main fields of education. As part of the Finnish government's structural development programme in autumn 2013 (see also chapter 7) the Ministry of Education and Culture has proposed a cut of 35 million EUR in the total public funding (government funding plus savings as municipalities will most likely decrease the educational offering accordingly) for voluntary general adult education. This has caused concern as cuts would mean less courses and an increase in the cost of education which would hit hardest those groups of people active in voluntary general adult education such as retired and older people.

In early 2017 an Obervatory for Arts Education was established in Finland to collect, analyse, monitor and distribute information and research on arts and cultural education policies and practises in Finland and to provide comparative information on arts and cultural education in Europe. The observatory was formed by the Center for Educational Research and Academic Development in the Arts (CERADA) of the University of the Arts Helsinki and the Association of Finnish Children’s Cultural Centers. The Association of the Basic Arts Education is also involved in the observatory. The Observatory is a member of the European Network of Observatories in the field of Arts and Cultural Education (ENO). The Ministry of Education and Culture finances the observatory.


Chapter published: 25-04-2017


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