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Literacy instruction for immigrants who have exceeded the age of compulsory education

Literacy instruction for immigrants who have exceeded the age of compulsory education
The instruction of literacy for adult immigrants is organised as part of adult basic education, carried out by liberal adult education. Studies that strengthen the immigrant’s command of the Latin alphabet can be organised, as part of integration training organised as labour market training.

Literacy training phase of basic education for adults

If an adult lacks studies corresponding to the Finnish syllabus in basic education, he or she is usually directed to basic education for those who exceed the age of compulsory education. The studies include a special literacy training phase. This path is the preferred option especially for young people aged 17 or over, for whom completing basic education and eligibility for further studies are important for their higher education and careers. Not everyone has to complete the entire basic education. For example, a student can only participate in the literacy training phase. Studies can be individualised at different phases.

Liberal adult education offers flexible educational opportunities

Liberal adult education institutions implement study opportunities that are suitable for immigrants who need flexible study opportunities. Literacy or Finnish or Swedish language studies organised by liberal adult education can be completed at a flexible pace or on a part-time basis. They can also be combined with other functional studies and physical activity.

Flexible study opportunities are needed, for example, by immigrants with physical or mental health problems, difficult life situations, traumatic backgrounds and problems in the functioning of memory and various learning difficulties. Flexible implementations are also needed by immigrant parents who stay home to care for their young children and immigrants who work. In terms of educational background or work experience, the group is diverse. Some parents have a higher educational background and some have poor literacy.

Integration training provides an opportunity to strengthen one’s command of the Latin alphabet

When an immigrant does not have a good command of the Latin alphabet, he or she may have a high threshold to enter working life. The integration training provided by the ELY Centres as labour market training can strengthen the command an immigrant has of the Latin alphabet. The prerequisite is that the person has such learning skills and competence that a short module is sufficient and that integration training is otherwise most appropriate for them.

If a person moves directly to vocational or higher education studies or preparatory training without integration training, it is important that strengthening their command of Latin letters is taken into account when planning the studies in question.


Curriculum recommendation for liberal adult education literacy studies 2017 (in Finnish)
The Finnish Association of Adult Education Centres:Recommendation for a curriculum for literacy studies at adult education centres 2018 (in Finnish)
Finnish National Agency for Education: literacy training (in Finnish)