Pupils have the right to receive special needs education regardless of the place of education or the teaching group
Deputy-Ombudsman Pasi Pölönen has today issued a decision on a complaint by the Trade Union of Education in Finland (OAJ) requesting the Deputy-Ombudsman to investigate the Finnish National Agency for Education’s regulations and instructions on special support in basic education. The Deputy-Ombudsman does not consider the Finnish National Agency for Education's instructions correct in all respects.
The Deputy-Ombudsman emphasised that, regardless of the place of education or the teaching group, the pupil has the right to receive the special needs education provided as part of special support under the Basic Education Act in those subjects in which the pupil has been found to need special needs education. The special needs education included in special support is provided by a special needs teacher who meets the statutory qualification requirements.
Support for learning, the related special needs education and the form of providing the special needs education play a central role in the implementation of children’s cultural rights and educational equity. Support for learning contributes to ensuring that the right of all children to basic education is effectively realised. The provisions on support for learning also implement some of the obligations laid down in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
In his decision, the Deputy-Ombudsman noted that there were unclarities in how the provisions and regulations on teacher qualifications and support for pupils were applied. In his decision, the Deputy-Ombudsman also addressed the question of the prerequisites for the individualisation of the syllabus for a subject and its relationship with special support.
The Deputy-Ombudsman proposes that the Ministry of Education and Culture assess whether the provisions on support for learning and schoolgoing and the provisions on teaching qualifications should be clarified. He also proposes that the Finnish National Agency for Education assess whether the National core curriculum for basic education should be specified in more detail.
The Deputy-Ombudsman requests that the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Finnish National Agency for Education report their measures in this matter by 28 February 2023.
The full text of Deputy-Ombudsman Pasi Pölönen's decision no 3927/2021 has been published (in Finnish) on the Parliamentary Ombudsman's website at www.oikeusasiamies.fi
Further information is available from Senior Legal Advisor Piatta Skottman-Kivelä, tel. +358 (0)9 432 3347.