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RECOGNITION OF FOREIGN TEACHING QUALIFICATIONS IN FINLAND

Publications 2010:1

Publications 2010:1

RECOGNITION OF FOREIGN TEACHING QUALIFICATIONS IN FINLAND

Finnish National Board of Education Publications 2010:1 ISBN 978-952-13-4478-7 (pb) ISBN 978-952-13-4479-4 (pdf) www.oph.fi/english Edita Prima Oy, Helsinki 2010

CONTENTS
1. Introduction. ............................................................................................. 4

2. Recognition of professional teaching qualifications obtained by EU/EEA citizens in an EU/EEA state...................................................... 6 2.1 Decision-making principles................................................................. 6 2.2 Compensation measure and final decision. ........................................ 7 2.3 Examples of decisions. ......................................................................... 8 2.3.1 Class teachers............................................................................. 8 2.3.2 Subject teachers. ....................................................................... 10 2.3.3 Special needs teachers............................................................. 12 2.3.4 Special kindergarten teachers. ................................................. 13 2.3.5 Kindergarten teachers and teachers providing pre-primary education............................................................. 14 2.3.6 Kindergarten teachers.............................................................. 16 3. Teaching qualifications from another Nordic country...................... 17 4. Comparability of teacher training obtained outside the EU/EEA.... 18 4.1 Decision-making principles and supplementary studies required in decisions............................................................. 18 4.2 Examples of decisions. ....................................................................... 19 4.2.1 Class teachers........................................................................... 19 4.2.2 Subject teachers. ....................................................................... 20 4.2.3 Special needs teachers............................................................. 21 4.2.4 Kindergarten teachers and teachers providing pre-primary education............................................................. 22 4.2.5 Other teaching positions. ......................................................... 24 4.2.6 Comparability of a foreign study module with studies required of teachers................................................................. 24 5. Eligibility to provide foreign-language education............................. 25 5.1 Decision-making principles............................................................... 25 5.2 Additional requirements and completion of these........................... 26 5.3 Examples of decisions. ....................................................................... 26 5.3.1 Class teaching. .......................................................................... 26 5.3.2 Subject teaching....................................................................... 27 6. 7. Education based on Steiner pedagogy and pre-primary education based on Montessori pedagogy............................................................ 29 Applying for a decision and processing the application.................. 31

1.

Introduction

The Finnish National Board of Education (FNBE) decides on the eligibility provided by foreign qualifications for public posts in Finland. People who have completed their studies abroad will need to obtain a Finnish National Board of Education decision when applying for a public sector post or position which requires specific qualifications laid down in law. Examples of such qualifications requirements include a higher education degree of a certain level or a specific educational qualification or module completed in Finland. The teaching profession is regulated in Finland, which means that legislation specifies certain educational qualifications requirements for teaching positions. If holders of degrees completed abroad wish to become eligible for a teaching post or position in Finland, they will generally need to apply to the Finnish National Board of Education for a decision on eligibility. The qualifications required for most teaching positions have been determined in the Teaching Qualifications Decree (986/1998). However, the professional qualifications of kindergarten teachers and special kindergarten teachers have been determined in the Act on Qualification Requirements for Social Welfare Professionals (272/2005) and the Government Decree on Qualification Requirements for Social Welfare Professionals (608/2005). Decisions taken by the Finnish National Board of Education are based on the Act on the Recognition of Professional Qualifications (1093/2007; hereinafter referred to as the Professional Qualifications Act), the Act on Eligibility Provided by Foreign Higher Education Studies for Public Posts in Finland (531/1986; hereinafter referred to as the Foreign Studies Act) or the Teaching Qualifications Decree (986/1998). The applicable law is determined according to the country of origin of the degree, the applicants nationality and the eligibility being applied for. In order for a person who has completed teacher training abroad to be awarded a decision on recognition of his or her degree towards studies providing teaching qualifications in Finland, the applicant is required to be fully qualified in his or her country of origin to work in a teaching position which requires specific qualifications laid down in an Act or a Decree in Finland. In addition,

processing the application also involves determining the scope, contents and requirements of the studies included in the applicants teacher training and comparing these with the studies required in Finland for a corresponding position. The decision may require the applicant to complete certain studies, an adaptation period or an aptitude test as a compensation measure. Decisions are formulated in keeping with legislation governing professional qualifications. A decision issued by the Finnish National Board of Education provides eligibility in terms of educational requirements. However, there may also be other requirements for a position, such as language skills or work experience. These need to be demonstrated to the employer in other ways. This guide is primarily intended for experts working with teachers holding foreign qualifications. The guide provides information about legislation on the basis of which decisions are made, criteria for awarding a favourable decision and examples of various decisions. Finally, the guide ends with a description of the decision application procedure and an overview of how applications are processed at the Finnish National Board of Education.

2.

Recognition of professional teaching qualifications obtained by EU/EEA citizens in an EU/EEA state

If the applicant is a citizen of an EU/EEA state or Switzerland and has qualified as a teacher in another EU/EEA state or in Switzerland, the decision is made by virtue of the Professional Qualifications Act. The Act is based on Directive 2005/36/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the recognition of professional qualifications. By virtue of the Professional Qualifications Act, the Finnish National Board of Education may issue a decision on eligibility as a teacher to a person who is fully qualified for a corresponding teaching position in another Member Country. In certain cases, the decision may also be issued in accordance with the Professional Qualifications Act where an EU/EEA citizen has obtained professional teaching qualifications outside the EU/EEA, provided that the qualifications have been recognised in another Member State and that the applicant has obtained at least three years of professional experience in the country that recognised the qualifications. In addition to recognition of professional qualifications, any applicant who has completed a higher education degree will also be awarded a decision on comparability of the level of the degree in accordance with the Foreign Studies Act. Such a decision also allows the applicant to prove his or her general eligibility for other public posts besides teaching positions.

2.1

Decision-making principles

The Professional Qualifications Directive includes a classification of qualifications, where different types of certificates attesting to formal qualifications are grouped under levels ae. The qualification levels have been described in section 6 of the Professional Qualifications Act. A favourable decision requires that the applicants teacher training is placed no more than one qualification level below that of the Finnish programme providing corresponding teaching qualifications. In practical terms, this means that a teacher who has completed post-secondary class teacher training lasting 12 years (level c), for example, cannot be granted eligibility as a class teacher, which in Finland requires completion of a university Masters degree (level e). Conversely, an applicant who has completed class teacher training

corresponding to the level of a Finnish university Bachelors degree (level d) may be granted eligibility as a class teacher, because the Finnish programme is only one level above (level e). The duration and content of the applicants training and the content of professional activities will be taken into account when reaching the decision. If the applicants training or the content of professional activities in the country of origin differ substantially from the training qualifying for a corresponding teaching position or from the content of professional activities in Finland, a conditional decision may be issued to the applicant, imposing completion of a compensation measure. The applicants professional experience and supplementary studies will be taken into account when assessing the necessity of a compensation measure. If the applicants professional experience or supplementary studies can be deemed to make up for any substantial differences, the applicant will be granted unconditional eligibility.

2.2

Compensation measure and final decision

Provisions on compensation measures are laid down in the Government Decree on an Adaptation Period and an Aptitude Test Required for the Recognition of Professional Qualifications (1207/2007). As a compensation measure, applicants may be required to complete an adaptation period or an aptitude test. Applicants who have received a conditional decision are free to choose whether to complete an adaptation period or an aptitude test. The aptitude test may be taken at a Finnish higher education institution offering studies required for the relevant teaching position. The compensation measure may be completed after the date of issue of the decision. Applicants cannot be required to complete supplementary studies. Completion of an adaptation period means that the applicant will work in Finland as a teacher appointed for a fixed term in the teaching position mentioned within the decision. The applicant is expected to find a job independently. In an aptitude test, the applicant is expected to demonstrate command of knowledge and skills required in the relevant teaching profession in Finland. The decision issued by the Finnish National Board of Education determines the subject areas covered by the aptitude test and where the test may be taken. The aptitude test consists of 23 subject areas, depending on the type of teaching concerned, and the applicant may either be required to complete all or some of them. In addition, the test involves compiling a portfolio and a feedback session. As a general rule, the aptitude test may be completed in Finnish

or Swedish. Aptitude tests have been designed in co-operation between Finnish higher education institutions and the Finnish National Board of Education. When an applicant who has received a conditional decision has completed either an adaptation period or an aptitude test, he or she should submit a notice of completion of a compensation measure to the Finnish National Board of Education, accompanied by the certificate awarded for completion. The Finnish National Board of Education will then issue a final decision, which the applicant can use to prove his or her eligibility.

2.3

Examples of decisions

The following sections provide examples of applications for and decisions on recognition of professional qualifications. Examples of applications indicate details of the applicants training and any possible professional experience. In addition to the examples provided below, a decision may also concern some other type of teaching qualifications required by law.

2.3.1 Class teachers


Example 1: Country of origin of the degree Applicants professional qualifications in the country of origin Applying for: Applicants degree France Class teacher teaching all subjects for the 612 age group. Eligibility for class teaching Matrise histoire, 1997: an academic degree in history requiring four years of full-time study. The degree falls within level e of the qualification classification set out in the Directive. The degree is comparable with a Finnish university Masters degree in terms of level. Diplme professionnel de professeur des coles, a one-year period of class teaching practice and related studies after passing a national competition, as well as working as a student teacher for a period of one year. Eight years of work experience as a class teacher in Finland As the academic degree is from a field other than education, the scopes of the degree studies in education and those corresponding to class teachers multidisciplinary studies are limited.

Applicants teacher training

Applicants work experience after the qualifications were obtained Difference from Finnish class teacher training

Finnish National Board of Education Decision on recognition of professional qualifications:


The Finnish National Board of Education has decided that N.N.s certificates confer eligibility to work as a class teacher in basic education. The professional experience obtained by N.N. in Finland makes up for the substantial difference between his/her training and the corresponding national training.

Example 2: Country of origin of the degree United Kingdom Applicants professional qualifica- Eligible for positions corresponding to class teaching positions upon tions in the country of origin completion of a compulsory induction period. Applying for: Applicants degree Eligibility for class teaching Bachelor of Arts, 2006: an academic degree in education and English requiring three years of full-time study. The degree falls within level d of the qualification classification set out in the Directive. The degree is comparable with a Finnish university Bachelors degree in terms of level. Professional Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE), 2008: a one-year programme preparing students to teach at primary schools. As the 1218-month compulsory induction period at a school as part of teacher training has not been completed, the applicant has been awarded provisional Qualified Teacher Status.

Applicants teacher training

Applicants work experience after None. the qualifications were obtained Difference from Finnish class teacher training The duration of the training is shorter than Finnish class teacher training. The training is below the level of Finnish class teacher training. The scopes of the degree studies corresponding to class teachers multidisciplinary studies are limited when compared with Finnish class teacher training.

Finnish National Board of Education Decision on recognition of professional qualifications:


The Finnish National Board of Education has decided that N.N.s certificates will confer eligibility to work as a class teacher in basic education upon completion of either an aptitude test or an adaptation period. The three subject areas covered by the aptitude test are Exploring teacher identity, The Finnish school and a demonstration of class teaching skills. The aptitude test may be taken at a higher education institution offering education leading to a degree providing teaching qualifications as a class teacher.

The adaptation period will be completed through work as a class teacher in Finland. The duration of the required adaptation period is 18 months. During the adaptation period, the applicant will work as a class teacher for a minimum of 10 teaching hours per week. If the applicant has 59 teaching hours per week, the duration of the adaptation period will be doubled. The adaptation period may be completed over several working periods with a minimum duration of 30 days per period. Single days, periods lasting less than 30 days or periods consisting of less than 5 teaching hours per week will not be counted towards the adaptation period. The adaptation period may be completed after <date of decision>. Completion of the adaptation period will be attested by a certificate awarded by the employer. The Finnish National Board of Education will make a final decision on recognition after N.N. has submitted a notice of completion of an adaptation period or an aptitude test to the Finnish National Board of Education.

2.3.2 Subject teachers


Example: Country of origin of the degree Applicants professional qualifications in the country of origin Applying for: Applicants degree Romania Eligible to work as a subject teacher in the Romanian and French languages at levels equivalent to basic education and general upper secondary education. Eligibility as a French subject teacher in basic education and general upper secondary education. Licen, 1990: an academic degree requiring five years of full-time study, completed with Romanian as the major subject and French as the minor subject. The degree falls within level e of the qualification classification set out in the Directive. The degree is comparable with a Finnish university Masters degree in terms of level. Teachers pedagogical studies and teaching practice included as part of the Licen degree. None. Studies in French as a teaching subject are more limited than the teaching subject studies required of upper secondary school subject teachers in Finland.

Applicants teacher training Applicants work experience after the qualifications were obtained Difference from Finnish subject teacher training

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Finnish National Board of Education Decision on recognition of professional qualifications:


The Finnish National Board of Education has decided that N.N.s degree certificate confers eligibility to work as a subject teacher, where qualifications requirements are a university Masters degree, studies in French as a teaching subject as part of subject teacher training (minimum of 60 credits) and pedagogical studies for teachers (minimum of 60 credits). The degree certificate will confer eligibility to work as a subject teacher, where qualifications requirements are a university Masters degree, studies in French as a teaching subject as part of subject teacher training (minimum of 120 credits) and pedagogical studies for teachers (minimum of 60 credits), upon completion of either an aptitude test or an adaptation period. The two subject areas covered by the aptitude test are The Finnish school and a demonstration of French subject teaching skills at a general upper secondary school. The aptitude test may be taken at a higher education institution offering education leading to a degree providing teaching qualifications as a subject teacher. The adaptation period will be completed through work as a French subject teacher at a general upper secondary school in Finland. The duration of the required adaptation period is 9 months. During the adaptation period, the applicant will teach French at an upper secondary school for a minimum of 10 teaching hours per week. If the applicant has 59 teaching hours per week, the duration of the adaptation period will be doubled. The adaptation period may be completed over several working periods with a minimum duration of 30 days per period. Single days, periods lasting less than 30 days or periods consisting of less than 5 teaching hours per week will not be counted towards the adaptation period. The adaptation period may be completed after <date of decision>. Completion of the adaptation period will be attested by a certificate awarded by the employer. The Finnish National Board of Education will make a final decision on recognition after N.N. has submitted a notice of completion of an adaptation period or an aptitude test to the Finnish National Board of Education.

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2.3.3 Special needs teachers


Example: Country of origin of the degree Estonia Applicants professional qualifica- Eligible to provide both special needs education and class teaching. tions in the country of origin Applying for: Applicants degree Eligibility to provide part-time special needs education and special class teaching. Degree in special education and speech therapy, 1992: a five-year academic degree in education. The degree falls within level e of the qualification classification set out in the Directive. The degree is comparable with a Finnish university Masters degree in terms of level. Studies in the teaching subject, studies in special education and teaching practice included as part of the degree, as well as pedagogical studies for teachers.

Applicants teacher training

Applicants work experience after None. the qualifications were obtained Difference from Finnish special needs teacher and special class teacher training Studies for special needs teachers specialise in teaching pupils with speech difficulties and are more limited in scope than Finnish studies for special needs teachers.

Finnish National Board of Education Decision on recognition of professional qualifications:


The Finnish National Board of Education has decided that N.N.s qualification certificate will confer eligibility to provide special needs education referred to in section 17 of the Basic Education Act (628/1998) upon completion of either an aptitude test or an adaptation period. The three subject areas covered by the aptitude test are Exploring special needs teacher identity, The Finnish school and a demonstration of teaching skills in special needs education. The aptitude test may be taken at a higher education institution offering education leading to a degree providing teaching qualifications as a special needs teacher. The adaptation period will be completed through work as a special needs teacher in Finland. The duration of the required adaptation period is 18 months. During the adaptation period, the applicant will work as a special needs teacher for a minimum of 10 teaching hours per week. If the applicant has 59 teaching hours per week, the duration of the adaptation period will be doubled. The adaptation period may be completed over several working periods with a minimum duration of 30 days per period. Single days, periods lasting less than 30 days or periods consisting of less

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than 5 teaching hours per week will not be counted towards the adaptation period. The adaptation period may be completed after <date of decision>. Completion of the adaptation period will be attested by a certificate awarded by the employer. The Finnish National Board of Education will make a final decision on recognition after N.N. has submitted a notice of completion of an adaptation period or an aptitude test to the Finnish National Board of Education.

2.3.4 Special kindergarten teachers


Example: Country of origin of the degree Applicants professional qualifications in the country of origin Applying for: Applicants degree Switzerland Eligible for positions corresponding to kindergarten teacher and special kindergarten teacher positions. Eligibility for special kindergarten teacher positions. Diplme de travail social, filire ducation spcialise, 1998: a three-year professional higher education degree for kindergarten teachers and special kindergarten teachers. The degree falls within level d of the qualification classification set out in the Directive. The degree is comparable with a Finnish polytechnic Bachelors degree. Included in the higher education degree. Four years of work experience as a special kindergarten teacher in Switzerland. Limited studies in special pedagogy

Applicants teacher training Applicants work experience after the qualifications were obtained Difference from Finnish special kindergarten teacher training

Finnish National Board of Education Decision on recognition of professional qualifications:


The Finnish National Board of Education has decided that N.N.s degree certificate will confer eligibility to work as a special kindergarten teacher upon completion of either an aptitude test or an adaptation period. The two subject areas covered by the aptitude test are Exploring special needs teacher identity and Early childhood education and care in Finland. The aptitude test may be taken at a higher education institution offering education leading to a degree providing teaching qualifications as a special kindergarten teacher.

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The adaptation period will be completed through work as a special kindergarten teacher in Finland. The duration of the adaptation period is 12 months. During the adaptation period, the applicant will work as a special kindergarten teacher for a minimum average of 22 hours per week. If the applicants average working hours in this position are 1122 hours per week, the duration of the adaptation period will be doubled. The adaptation period may also be completed in several working periods. The minimum duration of any working period included in the adaptation period is one month. Single days, periods lasting less than 30 days or periods consisting of less than 11 working hours per week will not be counted towards the adaptation period. The adaptation period may be completed after <date of decision>. Completion of the adaptation period will be attested by a certificate awarded by the employer. The Finnish National Board of Education will make a final decision on recognition after N.N. has submitted a notice of completion of an adaptation period or an aptitude test to the Finnish National Board of Education.

2.3.5 Kindergarten teachers and teachers providing pre-primary education


Example: Country of origin of the degree Estonia Applicants professional qualifica- Eligible for positions corresponding to kindergarten teacher and pretions in the country of origin primary teacher positions. Applying for: Applicants degree Eligibility as a kindergarten teacher and a pre-primary teacher Baccalaureus artium, 2005: a four-year academic degree in education. The degree falls within level e of the qualification classification set out in the Directive. The degree is comparable with a Finnish university Masters degree in terms of level. A university continuing training programme qualifying for positions in early childhood education and care, 2008. The scope of the programme was 160 hours and it qualified the applicant for positions as a kindergarten teacher and a pre-primary teacher.

Applicants teacher training

Applicants work experience after None. the qualifications were obtained Difference from Finnish training The applicants studies preparing for positions in pre-primary education and early childhood education and care are limited when compared with Finnish training.

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Finnish National Board of Education Decision on recognition of professional qualifications:


The Finnish National Board of Education has decided that N.N.s certificates will confer eligibility to work as a kindergarten teacher upon completion of either an aptitude test or an adaptation period. The certificates will also confer eligibility to provide pre-primary education for teaching groups not including basic education pupils in accordance with section 7(2) of the Teaching Qualifications Decree (986/1998), as amended by Decree 865/2005 of 3rd November 2005, upon completion of either an aptitude test or an adaptation period. The two subject areas covered by the aptitude test are Early childhood education and care in Finland and Educational situation. The aptitude test may be taken at a higher education institution offering education leading to a degree providing teaching qualifications as a kindergarten teacher and a pre-primary teacher. The adaptation period will be completed through work as a kindergarten and pre-primary teacher in Finland. The duration of the adaptation period is 12 months. During the adaptation period, the applicant will work as a kindergarten and pre-primary teacher for a minimum average of 22 hours per week. If the applicants average working hours in this position are 1122 hours per week, the duration of the adaptation period will be doubled. The adaptation period may also be completed in several working periods. The minimum duration of any working period included in the adaptation period is one month. Single days, periods lasting less than 30 days or periods consisting of less than 11 working hours per week will not be counted towards the adaptation period. The adaptation period may be completed after <date of decision>. Completion of the adaptation period will be attested by a certificate awarded by the employer. The Finnish National Board of Education will make a final decision on recognition after N.N. has submitted a notice of completion of an adaptation period or an aptitude test to the Finnish National Board of Education.

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2.3.6 Kindergarten teachers


Example: Country of origin of the degree Germany Applicants professional qualifica- Eligible for kindergarten teacher positions. tions in the country of origin Applying for: Applicants degree and teacher training Eligibility for positions corresponding to kindergarten teacher positions A two-year qualification in kindergarten pedagogy completed in the German Democratic Republic in 1990. The qualification falls within level c of the qualification classification set out in the Directive. As the qualification is not a higher education degree, it is not comparable with the relevant Finnish degree in terms of level. Additionally, one-year continuing training programme completed in the Federal Republic of Germany in 1998, conferring a qualification certificate as a kindergarten teacher (Erzieherin).

Applicants work experience after None. the qualifications were obtained Difference from Finnish training The training programme falls below the level of Finnish kindergarten teacher training. Limited studies in education.

Finnish National Board of Education Decision on recognition of professional qualifications:


The Finnish National Board of Education has decided that N.N.s qualification certificate will confer eligibility to work as a kindergarten teacher in accordance with the Act on Qualification Requirements for Social Welfare Professionals (272/2005) upon completion of either an aptitude test or an adaptation period. The three subject areas covered by the aptitude test are Exploring teacher identity, Early childhood education and care in Finland and Educational situation. The aptitude test may be taken at a higher education institution offering education leading to a degree providing teaching qualifications as a kindergarten teacher. The adaptation period will be completed through work as a kindergarten teacher in Finland. The duration of the adaptation period is 24 months. During the adaptation period, the applicant will work as a kindergarten teacher for a minimum average of 22 hours per week. If the applicants average working hours in this position are 1122 hours per week, the duration of the adaptation period will be doubled. The adaptation period may also be completed in several working periods. The minimum duration

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of any working period included in the adaptation period is one month. Single days, periods lasting less than 30 days or periods consisting of less than 11 working hours per week will not be counted towards the adaptation period. The adaptation period may be completed after <date of decision>. Completion of the adaptation period will be attested by a certificate awarded by the employer. The Finnish National Board of Education will make a final decision on recognition after N.N. has submitted a notice of completion of an adaptation period or an aptitude test to the Finnish National Board of Education.

3.

Teaching qualifications from another Nordic country

If a person has completed a formal class teaching degree with a duration of at least three years in Sweden, Denmark, Norway or Iceland, he or she is qualified to work as a class teacher without any specific decision (see Decree 986/1998, section 4). If a person has completed a class teaching degree with a duration of less than three years in Sweden, Denmark, Norway or Iceland, he or she is qualified to teach grades 14 of basic education and, upon completion of additional studies determined in the Finnish National Board of Education Decision No. 181/014/1998, all grades in basic education. Even those who have completed a class teaching degree in another Nordic country and are therefore qualified without a specific decision may apply for recognition of their eligibility in accordance with the Professional Qualifications Act, if they wish.

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4.

Comparability of teacher training obtained outside the EU/EEA

Where an applicant has completed his or her teaching degree outside the EU/ EEA or where he or she is not an EU/EEA citizen, the decision-making process will apply the Foreign Studies Act and the Government Decree on Studies Supplementing Higher Education Courses Completed Abroad (1206/2007). This is referred to as the comparability of qualifications or studies.

4.1

Decision-making principles and supplementary studies required in decisions

If an application concerns eligibility to work as a teacher in Finland, foreign teacher training will be compared with the studies required for the corresponding position in Finland. In order to be deemed comparable, the studies must correspond to those included in the relevant Finnish teacher training in terms of scope, contents and requirements. If the studies do not correspond to those required in Finland for an equivalent teaching position in terms of content, the decision may be issued conditionally. This means that the decision requires the applicant to complete supplementary studies in Finland. Supplementary studies may include those relating to subject knowledge or studies in education. The maximum scopes of supplementary studies have been laid down by Decree 1206/2007. A favourable decision cannot be granted if the total scope is exceeded. Where necessary, the Finnish National Board of Education will request an opinion from a Finnish university faculty to assess comparability of the contents of the studies. When the Finnish National Board of Education issues a decision imposing supplementary studies on an applicant, the applicant must independently obtain a right to study at a university offering such studies. Once the applicant has completed the studies, he or she will be granted a certificate for the studies by the university. Thereafter, the applicant may use the conditional decision and the university certificate to demonstrate his or her eligibility. There is no need to apply for another decision.

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4.2

Examples of decisions

4.2.1 Class teachers


Class teacher training leads to a university Masters degree in Finland. In order for a foreign degree to be deemed comparable with the studies required of class teachers in Finland, it must correspond to a Finnish university Masters degree in terms of level and to the studies included in class teacher training in terms of contents. In addition, the degree must confer full eligibility for positions corresponding to class teacher positions in the country of origin. The comparability of the level of a degree is assessed by the Finnish National Board of Education. The Board may request an opinion on comparability of the contents of studies from a university unit providing class teacher training. In other words, the university unit is asked to issue an opinion on whether the degree corresponds to a Finnish Master of Arts (Education) degree conferring class teacher qualifications. In addition, the unit is asked to determine the supplementary studies to be required, if any. Example: Country of origin of the degree Applicants degree Russia Primary teacher and Karelian teacher, 2000. The degree is a fiveyear academic degree comparable with a Finnish university Masters degree in terms of level. Teacher training is included in the degree.

Applicants teacher training

Applicants professional qualifica- Eligible for positions corresponding to class teacher positions. tions in the country of origin Finnish National Board of Education Decision on comparability of the degree:
The Finnish National Board of Education has decided that N.N.s higher education degree is comparable with a Finnish university Masters degree. The higher education degree completed by N.N. will be deemed comparable with a Master of Arts (Education) degree conferring class teaching qualifications, which includes multidisciplinary studies in subjects and cross-curricular themes taught at comprehensive school or in basic education with a minimum scope of 60 credits and teachers pedagogical studies with a minimum scope of 60 credits, provided that N.N. completes the following studies in accordance with the degree requirements of class teacher training as supplementary studies (59 credits in total):

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educational research (5 cr.); either advanced quantitative research methods (5 cr.) or advanced qualitative research methods (5 cr.); minor subject thesis and thesis studies (incl. seminars) included as part of advanced studies (30 cr.); advanced teaching practice (8 cr.); didactics in mother tongue and literature (8 cr.); basic course in either didactics in Evangelical-Lutheran religion (3 cr.) or didactics in ethics (3 cr.).

4.2.2 Subject teachers


The qualifications requirements for subject teaching positions in Finland include a university Masters degree, studies in the teaching subject as part of subject teacher training and teachers pedagogical studies. In order for an applicants foreign studies to be deemed comparable with the studies required of subject teachers in Finland, the degree must correspond to a Finnish university Masters degree in terms of level and studies must correspond to the studies required for subject teaching positions in terms of contents. A further requirement is that the applicants degree has conferred subject teaching qualifications in the country of origin. The comparability of the level of a degree is assessed by the Finnish National Board of Education. When assessing comparability of foreign studies with Finnish teaching subject studies, the Finnish National Board of Education may generally request an opinion from a Finnish university faculty providing training in the relevant field. In other words, the faculty is asked to assess whether the studies included in the degree in question can be deemed comparable with teaching subject studies with a minimum scope of either 60 or 120 credits, completed as part of subject teacher training in the subject in question. In addition, the faculty is asked to determine the supplementary studies to be required, if any. In terms of comparability of teachers pedagogical studies, the Finnish National Board of Education will make the decision without an external opinion. Decisions are almost invariably conditional in terms of teachers pedagogical studies. In other words, applicants are required to supplement their studies by completing pedagogical studies with a scope of 15 credits in Finland, including teaching practice and related studies. Thereafter, their studies will be deemed comparable with teachers pedagogical studies with a minimum scope of 60 credits. Applicants are required to obtain a right to study independently either from a university or from a vocational teacher education college.

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Example: Country of origin of the degree Applicants degree Mexico Licenciado en Lenguas Extranjeras, with English as the major subject, 2002. The degree is a five-year academic degree comparable with a Finnish university Masters degree in terms of level. Teacher training is included in the degree.

Applicants teacher training

Applicants professional qualifica- Eligible to work as an English subject teacher at levels corresponding tions in the country of origin to basic education and general upper secondary school. Finnish National Board of Education Decision on comparability of the degree:
The Finnish National Board of Education has decided that N.N.s higher education degree is comparable with a Finnish university Masters degree. The studies in English language and literature included in the degree will be comparable with the teaching subject studies in the English language included as part of subject teacher training (minimum of 60 credits), provided that the applicant completes the Structural Analysis course (3 credits) from subject studies in English Philology as supplementary studies in Finland. The studies in English language and literature included in the degree will be deemed comparable with the teaching subject studies in the English language included as part of subject teacher training (minimum of 120 credits), provided that the applicant completes the Pronunciation Evaluation course (0 credits) and a minor subject thesis (20 credits) from advanced studies in English Philology as supplementary studies in Finland, in addition to the above-mentioned studies. If the applicant completes teaching practice with a duration of one term and related studies (15 credits in total) as supplementary studies in Finland, the degree studies in education will be deemed comparable with Finnish teachers pedagogical studies (minimum of 60 credits).

4.2.3 Special needs teachers


In Finland, special needs teacher positions require a degree corresponding to a university Masters degree in terms of level. In order for an applicants foreign studies to be deemed comparable with the studies required of special needs teachers in Finland, the degree must correspond to a Finnish university Masters degree in terms of level and studies must correspond to Finnish special needs teacher training in terms of contents. In addition, the degree must confer full eligibility for positions corresponding to positions as a special class teacher or a part-time special needs teacher in the country of origin.

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The comparability of the level of a degree is assessed by the Finnish National Board of Education. The Board may request an opinion on comparability of the contents of studies from a university faculty providing special needs teacher training. In other words, the faculty is asked to assess comparability of degree studies in special pedagogy with special needs teacher studies with a minimum scope of 60 credits. In addition, the faculty is asked to determine the supplementary studies to be required, if any. Example: Country of origin of the degree Applicants degree Russia Oligophrenia pedagogue and logopaedist teacher (special needs teacher for intellectually disabled pupils and speech therapist/teacher) specialising in oligophrenia pedagogy with additional specialisation in speech therapy, 2006. The degree is a five-year academic degree comparable with a Finnish university Masters degree in terms of level. Special needs teacher training is included in the degree.

Applicants teacher training

Applicants professional qualifica- Eligible for special needs teacher positions. tions in the country of origin Finnish National Board of Education Decision on comparability of the degree:
The Finnish National Board of Education has decided that N.N.s higher education degree is comparable with a Finnish university Masters degree. The studies in special education included in the degree will be deemed comparable with the Finnish special needs teacher studies with a scope of 60 credits upon completion of courses with a total scope of 15 credits included as part of separate special needs teacher studies, including teaching practice, as supplementary studies in Finland.

4.2.4 Kindergarten teachers and teachers providing pre-primary education


In Finland, kindergarten teacher positions require a degree corresponding to a university Bachelors degree in terms of level. In order for foreign studies to be deemed comparable with the studies required of kindergarten teachers in Finland, they must correspond to at least a Finnish university Bachelors degree in terms of level and to Finnish kindergarten teacher training in terms of contents. In addition, the degree must confer full eligibility for positions corresponding to positions as a kindergarten teacher in the country of origin. The comparability of the level of a degree is assessed by the Finnish National Board of Education. The Board may request an opinion on comparability of the contents of studies from a university faculty providing kindergarten teacher

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training. In other words, the faculty is asked to assess comparability of the degree studies in question with the Finnish Bachelor of Arts (Education) degree, which includes studies providing professional skills needed in early childhood education and care and pre-primary education with a minimum scope of 60 credits. In addition, the faculty is asked to determine the supplementary studies to be required, if any. Example: Country of origin of the degree Applicants degree Chile Licenciado en educacin with specialisation in pre-primary education, 2007. The degree is a four-year academic degree comparable with a Finnish university Bachelors degree. Special needs teacher training is included in the degree. Eligible for kindergarten/pre-primary teacher positions.

Applicants teacher training Applicants professional qualifications in the country of origin

Finnish National Board of Education Decision on comparability of the degree:


The Finnish National Board of Education has decided that N.N.s higher education degree is comparable with a Finnish university Bachelors degree. The higher education degree completed by N.N. will be deemed comparable with a Bachelor of Arts (Education) degree, which includes studies providing professional skills needed in early childhood education and care and pre-primary education with a minimum scope of 60 credits, upon completion of the following studies in accordance with the degree requirements of kindergarten teacher training (28 credits in total): Day-care steering systems in Finland, 3 cr.; Early childhood education and care in the context of Finnish society: family policy, 3 cr., teaching practice (orientation to Finnish day care), 6 cr.; Studies relating to pre-primary and initial education: the Finnish curriculum system, 5 cr.; Media education in early childhood education and care, 3 cr.; Cultural foundations, ethics and religious education, 3 cr.; Knowledge of Finnish childrens culture: such as visual arts, childrens literature, music, 5 cr.

Upon completion of the supplementary studies, the applicant will be eligible to work as a kindergarten teacher in accordance with section 7 of the Act on Qualification Requirements for Social Welfare Professionals (272/2005) and to provide pre-primary education for teaching groups not

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including basic education pupils in accordance with section 7 of the Teaching Qualifications Decree (986/1998).

4.2.5 Other teaching positions


Whenever the qualifications requirements for a teaching position include an educational qualification of a certain level, teachers pedagogical studies and teaching subject studies, or any one of the above, eligibility can be demonstrated using a decision issued by the Finnish National Board of Education. The Finnish National Board of Education only decides on education and training. If a specific qualifications area has not been deemed comparable in a decision issued to an applicant, the applicant is required to supplement his or her qualifications in this respect by completing a specific educational qualification or certain studies in Finland. There are certain teaching positions where educational qualifications requirements may include an appropriate Finnish qualification or both an appropriate Finnish qualification and teachers pedagogical studies. Such teaching positions exist in areas such as basic education in the arts, liberal adult education and vocational education and training. In these cases, individuals may apply for a Finnish National Board of Education decision to demonstrate their eligibility in terms of the level of their qualification and any possible teachers pedagogical studies that may be required. The suitability of each qualification for any specific position will be decided by the employer. If the qualifications requirements include a certain amount of work experience or specific language proficiency, for example, eligibility must be demonstrated separately in these respects.

4.2.6 Comparability of a foreign study module with studies required of teachers


Even if an applicant were not qualified as a teacher in the country of origin of the degree, he or she may also apply for a decision on comparability of teaching subject studies in addition to a decision on comparability of the level of the degree, provided that the level of the degree corresponds to a Finnish university Masters degree and includes extensive studies in a subject in which it is possible to graduate as a subject teacher in Finland. Such a decision may be necessary if the applicant is planning a career as a subject teacher and intends to supplement his or her qualifications by completing teachers pedagogical studies in Finland.

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5.

Eligibility to provide foreign-language education

In addition to decisions issued by virtue of the Foreign Studies and Professional Qualifications Acts, the Finnish National Board of Education also grants decisions on eligibility to provide education where the language of instruction is other than Finnish, Swedish or Saami. Such a decision may concern eligibility to provide pre-primary education, class instruction or special needs education, or subject instruction within basic education or general upper secondary education in a foreign language. These decisions are based on section 21 of the Teaching Qualifications Decree (986/1998). People who have completed teacher training abroad will not generally need a specific decision on sufficient studies to qualify for foreign-language education, if they receive a decision on recognition of teaching qualifications that they have completed in another EU/EEA country or a decision on comparability of training completed outside the EU/EEA with studies required of teachers in Finland. These decisions have mainly been issued to people who have received teacher training outside the EU/EEA and whose qualification is not comparable with a Finnish university Masters degree.

5.1

Decision-making principles

A favourable decision on eligibility requires at least that: the applicant is fully qualified to work in a corresponding teaching position in his or her country of origin; the teacher training completed by the applicant corresponds to at least a Finnish university Bachelors degree in terms of level; the applicant has completed pedagogical studies and studies in the teaching subject with adequate scopes; the applicant has completed teacher training in the foreign language in which he or she is going to teach in Finland and which is an official language in his or her country of origin. There are more specific requirements depending on the type of teaching concerned. In addition to a decision on sufficient studies, the applicant will also be awarded a decision on comparability of the level of the qualification in accordance with the Foreign Studies Act.

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5.2

Additional requirements and completion of these

As a general rule, decisions require applicants to take an aptitude test. In an aptitude test, they are expected to demonstrate their command of knowledge and skills required in the relevant teaching position in Finland. The decision issued by the Finnish National Board of Education determines the subject areas covered by the aptitude test and where the test may be taken. An aptitude test may be completed in Finnish, Swedish or English. If an applicant has acquired work experience as a teacher in Finland, this will be taken into account when determining the contents of the aptitude test. Upon completion of the aptitude test, an applicant who has been awarded a conditional decision will receive a certificate for completion of the aptitude test from the university that organised the test. Thereafter, the applicant may use the conditional decision and the aptitude test certificate to demonstrate his or her eligibility. There is no need to apply for another decision.

5.3
Example:

Examples of decisions

5.3.1 Class teaching


Country of origin of the degree Applicants degree Canada Bachelor of Arts with history as the major subject, 2004. Bachelor of Education with education as the major subject, 2004. The degrees are academic degrees requiring a total of four years of study. The degrees are comparable with a Finnish university Bachelors degree in terms of level. Class teacher training is included in the Bachelor of Arts degree. English

Applicants teacher training Language of degree and teacher training

Applicants professional qualifica- Teaching Licence conferring eligibility to teach grades 410 (pupils tions in the country of origin aged 915). Professional experience in Finland Difference from Finnish training Two years as a class teacher in education provided in accordance with the Finnish National Core Curriculum. The training programme falls below the level of Finnish class teacher training and has not provided research capabilities. The training programme does not include studies in several of the subjects included in class teachers multidisciplinary studies in Finland.

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Finnish National Board of Education Decision on sufficient studies for foreign-language education:
By virtue of section 21 of the Teaching Qualifications Decree (986/1998), as amended by Decree 592/2000 of 21st June 2000, the Finnish National Board of Education has decided that N.N. will have completed sufficient studies to work as a class teacher in English-language basic education upon completion of an aptitude test in two subject areas, which are Exploring teacher identity and a demonstration of class teaching skills. In the aptitude test, the applicant will have to demonstrate specifically that he/she has become familiar with teaching natural science subjects (biology, physics and chemistry) and music, crafts and physical education. The aptitude test may be completed in Finnish at the Faculty of Behavioural Sciences of the University of Helsinki or at the Faculty of Education of the University of Jyvskyl, or in English at the Faculty of Education of the University of Oulu. The decision is based on the applicants studies and on the fact that he/ she is fully qualified for corresponding teaching positions in the Province of Ontario, Canada. The work experience acquired by the applicant in a class teachers position in Finland has also been taken into account when reaching the decision.

5.3.2 Subject teaching


Example: Country of origin of the degree Applicants degree United States Bachelor of Arts with Spanish as the major subject, 2008. The degree is an academic degree requiring four years of study. The degree is comparable with a Finnish university Bachelors degree in terms of level. Teacher training is included in the Bachelor of Arts degree. English

Applicants teacher training Language of degree and teacher training

Applicants professional qualifica- Teaching Licence conferring eligibility to provide subject teaching tions in the country of origin in Spanish at levels equivalent to the whole of basic education and general upper secondary education. Professional experience in Finland Difference from Finnish training None. The training programme falls below the level of Finnish subject teacher training and has not provided research capabilities.

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Finnish National Board of Education Decision on sufficient studies for foreign-language education:
By virtue of section 21 of the Teaching Qualifications Decree (986/1998), as amended by Decree 593/2000 of 21st June 2000, the Finnish National Board of Education has decided that N.N. will have completed sufficient studies to work as a Spanish subject teacher in English-language basic education upon completion of an aptitude test in two subject areas, which are Exploring teacher identity and The Finnish school. The aptitude test may be completed in Finnish at the Faculty of Behavioural Sciences of the University of Helsinki or at the Faculty of Education of the University of Jyvskyl, or in English at the Faculty of Education of the bo Akademi University. The decision is based on the applicants studies and on the fact that he/ she is fully qualified for corresponding teaching positions in the State of Illinois, United States.

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6.

Education based on Steiner pedagogy and pre-primary education based on Montessori pedagogy

In addition to decisions issued by virtue of the Foreign Studies and Professional Qualifications Acts, the Finnish National Board of Education also grants decisions on eligibility to provide education based on Steiner pedagogy and pre-primary education based on Montessori pedagogy. These decisions are based on section 21 of the Teaching Qualifications Decree (986/1998). Eligibility to provide education based on Steiner pedagogy covers anyone who is generally qualified to teach at the equivalent level of education. In addition, those who have completed studies deemed sufficient by the Finnish National Board of Education in Finland or abroad are also qualified to provide this type of education. Those who have completed their studies in Steiner pedagogy abroad will need to apply to the Finnish National Board of Education for an individual decision in order to demonstrate their eligibility. Eligibility to provide pre-primary education based on Montessori pedagogy covers anyone who is generally qualified to teach at the equivalent level of education. In addition, those who have been granted a decision on eligibility by the Finnish National Board of Education on the basis of studies completed in Finland or abroad are also qualified to provide this type of education. Those wishing to become eligible to provide pre-primary education based on Montessori pedagogy may apply to the Finnish National Board of Education for an individual decision. Example of a decision on pre-primary Montessori education: Country of origin of the degree Applicants degree Applicants teacher training Finland Master of Social Sciences with social psychology as the major subject and with education as one of the minor subjects (15 cr.), 20xx Montessori instructor training with a scope of 40 credits completed at Palmenia Centre for Continuing Education at the University of Helsinki.

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Finnish National Board of Education Decision on sufficient studies for pre-primary education based on Montessori pedagogy:
By virtue of section 21 of the Teaching Qualifications Decree (986/1998), as amended by Decree 593/2000 of 21st June 2000, the Finnish National Board of Education has decided that N.N. will have completed sufficient studies to provide pre-primary education based on Montessori pedagogy for teaching groups not including basic education pupils upon completion of studies in pre-primary and initial education with a scope of 25 credits in accordance with university degree requirements as supplementary studies. The decision is based on the fact that N.N. has completed a university Masters degree and Montessori instructor training.

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7.

Applying for a decision and processing the application

To apply for a decision, applicants should submit a completed and signed application form, accompanied by the necessary appendices, to the Finnish National Board of Education. Detailed instructions on appendices to be enclosed with the application can be found in the application instructions. The application form and instructions are available on the FNBE website at www.oph.fi/ recognition. The form and the instructions are available in Finnish, Swedish and English. In addition, the application instructions are available in Russian. The Finnish National Board of Education will send each applicant confirmation of receipt of the application within one month. The applicant may be asked to provide additional information if necessary. The application will not be processed until the applicant has provided the Board with a completed and signed application form and all the required appendices. The Finnish National Board of Education will contact the applicant if the eligibility applied for cannot be granted. The average period for processing an application is 3 to 4 months. The processing period varies according to whether the Finnish National Board of Education requests any external expert opinions on the qualification. Appeals against decisions may be made to an Administrative Court. The appeal instructions will be appended to the decision. Further information about recognition of qualifications can be found at: www.oph.fi/recognition

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ISBN 978-952-13-4478-7 (pb) ISBN 978-952-13-4479-4 (pdf)

The unit for Recognition and International Comparability of Qualifications decides on the eligibility granted by foreign qualifications in Finland, issues statements on foreign vocational qualifications and seeks to promote the recognition of prior learning. The unit functions as the national co-ordination and information centre for the following networks: Europass, Academic Recognition (ENIC/NARIC), Directive on the Recognition of Professional Qualifications and the European Qualifications Framework.

Finnish National Board of Education www.oph.fi/english