Finland’s adult education centers are educational establishments that welcome all prospective learners and offer opportunities for a wide variety of recreational activities and study. Learning is largely self-motivated and, as a rule, not aimed at achieving a formal qualification.

Tuition is offered in a wide variety of subjects, including languages, IT, arts and crafts, music, sports, cooking and wellbeing. The centers also often organise talks and lectures on a range of cultural topics as well as current social and political issues. Many adult education centers also provide Swedish or Finnish as a foreign language tuition for immigrants. The choice of courses on offer varies between centers and each center is responsible for designing their own curriculum to ensure that it best reflects the demand in their own local area.

Adult education centers are available to everyone, regardless of their age or educational background. It would not be an exaggeration to say that they have become an integral part of Finnish culture. Every year, more than one in ten Finns, a total of 650,000 people, attend an adult education center. Course fees remain highly reasonable as they are subsidised by the central government and local authorities.

There are a total of 181 adult education centers in Finland, operating across the length and breadth of the country. Courses are often provided at a number of venues across the local authority area, including schools during after-school hours. It is not uncommon for larger towns and cities to have two or more centers.

“The purpose of Finnish adult education centres is to provide education and training opportunities that promote social cohesion, equality and active citizenship in keeping with the life-long learning concept.”

How can I enrol as a Student?

If you are looking for a suitable course, it is a good idea, first of all, to find out more about what your local adult education center is offering. The courses at the Swedish Adult Education Center of Åbo are available online at Arbis’ webpage. For other adult education centers see here. Most centers follow the Finnish academic year calendar, which consists of two terms, a spring term and an autumn term. A summer break is held between the terms, although some centers may also offer teaching during the summer months.

All adult education centers have their own course catalogue, which you can access online.  Most centers will also be able to offer a print version of the course catalogue. These are usually available directly from the center or at local libraries and other similar venues. If you have any questions regarding the courses available or the type of teaching offered, your local adult education center will be delighted to hear from you.

Almost all adult education centers have now implemented online enrolment. For instructions on how to register as a student and deadlines, visit your local center’s website. At some offices you can also register by telephone during office hours or visit the offices in person. If you have any questions relating to the curriculum or teaching, please contact your local center.

Source: Medborgarinstitutens förbund / Kansalaisopistojen liitto.