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Responsible for the service Education Division, Helsinki

Mother tongue and home language instruction

  • Service
  • Helsinki
  • Public service

There is an aim to give the pupil mother tongue or home language (oma äidinkieli tai kotikieli) instruction. Instruction is organised based on registration.

The pupil will register for their own mother tongue instruction when they enrol in school or the 7th grade. The registration can also be done at other times. There is a separate form for this. You can get the form from the school or the Forms page of the Education Sector’s website.

Applying for own mother tongue instruction is voluntary, but if a pupil has registered for a group they are supposed to attend the lessons. The pupil’s own school will give them the timetable. A separate transcript will be given for mother tongue instruction.

There are approximately 40 language options available. The minimum size for an instruction group is 10 pupils. With bigger language groups, the instruction can take place at the children’s own school, but usually pupils need to go to another school for these lessons.

To whom and on what terms

Pupils in the City of Helsinki’s schools or contract schools can register for this instruction, if:

- their mother tongue is not Finnish or Swedish

- their home language is not Finnish or Swedish.

The service is free of charge.

Background information

Basic education is education delivered in accordance to a curriculum that supports the pupils’ growth as human beings and members of society and teaches them the knowledge and skills they need. It confers every pupil the same eligibility for upper secondary education.

Compulsory education applies to children who are permanent residents in Finland in the year in which they turn seven years old. Compulsory education ends when the children have completed the basic education syllabus or ten years have passed since they started in compulsory education. The period of compulsory education may be extended due to a disability or illness. Adults may complete the basic education syllabus for example at a general upper secondary school for adults, a folk high school or an adult education centre.

Basic information

The service is provided byCity of Helsinki
Responsible for the serviceEducation Division, Helsinki
Area Helsinki
Available languagesFinnish, Swedish
Text edited by: Education Division, Helsinki
Updated: 26/5/2022