Email (excerpted), response to PolitiFact Texas, Satu Mäki-Lassila, Special Government Advisor, Ministry of Education and Culture, Finland

618 am

Dec. 19, 2012

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Let me try to clarify you our system a bit more. It seems like the feedback you got from a student is right. Naturally vocational schools do have their own exams and ways to prove that a student has learnt what he/she should have learnt. But these tests are not state-mandated exams.

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According to the statistics from 2010:  91 % of the generation continued their studies right  after mandatory 9 years. Out of those 45% went to vocational institutions, while 55% started in general upper secondary schools....

We have tried to build a system that causes no "dead ends". This means that even people who don't go to general upper secondary schools, but rather choose the vocational line after 9 year of basic education, can find their way into academic studies. In general, the popularity of vocational education has strengthened during past few years among young people. The latest discussion topic among policy makers is, how to reach those 9%, who don’t continue their studies right after the compulsory years (some of them do study, taking voluntary additional year of basic education for example). From next year on, a special youth guarantee program  will come into force http://www.minedu.fi/OPM/Verkkouutiset/2012/10/youth_guarantee.html?lang=en.

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Satu Mäki-Lassila

Special Government Advisor

Ministry of Education and Culture

International Relations