The Proportion of Students Speaking a Foreign Language Continues to Rise

First-graders at Taivallahti school in Helsinki. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

About 62,900 first-graders will start primary school this fall. In total, 366,000 students are studying in grades one to six and 175,000 students are studying in grades seven to nine.

The proportion of students speaking a foreign language (instead of Finnish, Swedish or Sami) in comprehensive school is expected to rise to seven percent when in 2014, 5.6 percent of students spoke a foreign language.

In vocational school, the proportion of students speaking a foreign language has also increased significantly. When in 2014, 7.3 percent of students in vocational studies spoke a foreign language, this fall the percentage is expected to rise to nine. In total, about 25,900 new students – which is five percent more than in 2015 – are going to begin their vocational studies.

The number of foreign-speaking students in upper secondary school is expected to rise moderately. In 2014, 4.8 percent of the students spoke a foreign language, and this fall their proportion is expected to be 5.4 percent. This fall, about 104,100 pupils are studying in upper secondary school.

Source: The Finnish National Agency for Education

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