Finland’s adult education centres 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 centres also often organise talks and lectures on a range of cultural topics as well as current social and political issues. Many adult education centres also provide Finnish as a foreign language tuition for immigrants. The choice of courses on offer varies between centres and each centre is responsible for designing their own curriculum to ensure that it best reflects the demand in their own local area.
Adult education centres 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 centre. Course fees remain highly reasonable as they are subsidised by central government and local authorities.
There are a total of 181 adult education centres 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 centres.
“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.”