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A little girl is learning to count with fingers.

Teaching for language and cultural groups

Immigrants living permanently in Finland are entitled to an integration plan which is drawn up with the Immigration Office and employment authorities. If necessary, an integration plan can also be drawn up for persons under the age of 18. The City of Kokkola has in place an immigration programme which is aimed at promoting immigrant integration in Kokkola and creating a multicultural, international and open image for the city.

Integration programme (in Finnish)

Children and young people aged 7–17 who come from an immigrant background and who have either moved to Finland or are born in Finland, are subject to compulsory education. Compulsory education in Finland covers nine years of basic education. After grade 9, further education is provided by community colleges and adult education centres. Each child is also entitled to start pre-primary education in the year they turn six. The right to go to school continues until the end of the year when the pupil turns 18.

In Kokkola, adult orientation education and further training is offered by, among others, The Federation of Education in Central Ostrobothnia KPEDU and the Kokkola Region College in collaboration with the employment authorities.

  • Preparatory education is available for pupils whose Finnish language skills are not adequate to study in their own basic education group. During preparatory education, pupils study Finnish as a second language, take courses taught in Finnish, get to know the Finnish culture and study their own native language. The length of the education varies individually, and each pupil studies in a preparatory group either full-time or partially for an average period of 1–3 years. In arts and skills subjects, the pupils are integrated into the appropriate basic education groups already in the early stages of preparatory education.

    In Kokkola, early group-form preparatory education and classes in Finnish as a second language are provided by Hollihaka school (grades 1–6), Koivuhaka school (grades 1–6) and Kiviniitty school (grades 7–9). After the preparatory stage, the pupils can be taught in different subjects by the teacher of the preparatory class, who also teaches Finnish as a second language. The goal is to promote each pupil’s individual learning and integration in collaboration with the parents, teachers, other pupils and school welfare personnel.

    In Kokkola, preparatory education is only available in Finnish-speaking schools.

  • Finnish is taught as a second language (S2) to pupils whose native language is not Finnish or who do not have native-level language skills in Finnish. Language learning involves language skills and language knowledge. Language skills develop through interaction with speakers of the studied language, both at school and in free time.

    Language skills include speaking, writing and understanding spoken and written language. In contrast, language knowledge is necessary to express oneself in writing in a way required in further studies. Matters related to language knowledge are discussed as the pupil’s language skills improve. More detailed information about the goals of teaching and assessment criteria for learning can be found in the municipal curriculum.

    Curriculum for S2 teaching (in Finnish)

  • The purpose of native language teaching is to strengthen the pupils’ language and cultural identity, which supports each pupil’s overall development. The pupils are offered two hours of teaching per week, if possible. The pupils’ parents are also given information about the significance of their own native language and culture. The native language teacher collaborates with each pupil’s parents as well as with their other teachers. Through their own native language, the pupils will get a better understanding of the Finnish culture. Moreover, proficiency in their native language also helps the pupils to learn Finnish as a second language and other languages, and improves their readiness to study all other subjects, as well.

  • At the guardians’ request, pupils can be offered teaching in their own religion if there are at least three pupils that participate in the teaching. Pupils who do not belong to any religious community shall be taught ethics, if there are at least three pupils entitled to the teaching. Pupils who do not belong to any religious community can, at the guardian’s request, also take part in the religious teaching offered by the educational institution if the teaching is deemed to match the pupil’s religious views in terms of education and cultural background. The teaching of other religions is carried out in compliance with the principles of the National Core Curriculum applicable to all religious groups.