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Bilingual education

The aim of bilingual education is to give a pupil fluent language skills in both languages used in the classroom. Studying in two languages develops the child’s problem-solving skills, creative thinking and adaptability. The goals and content of teaching in bilingual education are the same as in regular basic education.

What is bilingual education like?

Helsinki offers bilingual education in Chinese, English, Estonian, Russian and Spanish. In addition to these, Pasila Comprehensive School offers bilingual Finnish-North Sami education.

In bilingual education, the languages of instruction are Finnish and a second language (Chinese, English, Estonian, North Sami, Russian or Spanish). In bilingual education, 25 – 50 % of the teaching is in the target language, and the rest is in Finnish. Each school specifies the amount of the second language instruction in its curriculum.

Bilingual education helps pupils develop a fluency in listening to, speaking, reading and writing an additional language, and creates a general interest towards language learning. Like all basic education, it develops grade-appropriate skills in all subjects of the curriculum.

How to apply to bilingual education?

To apply to bilingual education, the applicant must take an aptitude test. When applying to 1st grade, the applicant does not need to know how to read or write, as the aptitude test aims to find out the pupil’s abilities and readiness for bilingual education.

Parents or guardians do not need to know the languages of instruction of bilingual education.  

To learn more about the admission periods, entry requirements and admissions policies, go to the Admissions to basic education in different languages page.


Which schools offer bilingual education in Helsinki?

Bilingual education is offered in the schools below. Learn more about the bilingual basic education classes on the schools’ websites, which you can find via the Service Map links.

Finnish-Chinese 

Grades 1–6


Grades 7–9: 



Finnish-English 

Grades 1–6


Grades 7–9



Finnish-Estonian

Grades 1–9


Finnish-North Sami


Grades 1–3


Finnish-Russian


Grades 1–9


Finnish-Spanish


Grades 1–9




For further information and enquiries, please contact:


Finnish-English basic education:

Anni Holopainen, Education coordinator
email: anni.holopainen@hel.fi
tel: +358 9 310 27922



Other language combinations:


Satu Koistinen, Pedagogical specialist
email: satu.koistinen@hel.fi
tel: +358 9 310 23444




16.06.2021 10:37