Adult Education: Adult education is available through universities and polytechnics, public and private institutions, adult education centers, and summer universities. Adult upper secondary schools, study centers and institutes, sports centers, and music institutes also offer adult education programs. In-service training, outside the normal educational institutions, provided by employers, is the most common form of adult education.
Continuing adult education is a response to the changing economic situation that includes increased competition, information technology, and internationalization. To remain competitive, the Finnish government recognized a need for lifelong learning among all its citizens. About 10 million classroom hours are devoted to adult education each year for about 1 million adults.
Face-to-face education is generally provided in the evenings and on weekends. Online courses are also available for adult education, often making use of workplace resources, but are also available in the evenings at home via personal computers.
Open Universities: Open university courses, as opposed to adult education, are generally for credit and may apply to the completion of an upper secondary school degree or to a university degree. Admission is dependent on the student—in other words, there are no admission standards to begin the program. However, the same standards apply to course evaluation and program completion as for courses taken at regular upper secondary schools, universities, or polytechnics.
Universities and polytechnics offer programs for non-degree and degree-seeking students through the open university. The open university system is widespread and easily accessible to all potential students. Students do not receive support in terms of transportation allowances or other student subsidies but part time open university students may continue eligibility for unemployment.
The open university allows students to complete their upper secondary school education by taking evening and weekend classes. Students may also work toward a university degree through open university or just take classes in their areas of interest. Some open university classes are offered over the Internet.
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