Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

News 24/02/2021

Extending compulsory education in Finland and improving social services in Lithuania

Two new Flash Reports prepared by the European Social Policy Network (ESPN) are now available and provide information on recent social policy developments in Finland and Lithuania.

Smiling teenager with a safety Covid-19 mask and Women standing in a reception desk

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  • Almost 10% of Finnish youngsters leave school at the age of 16 (i.e. when compulsory schooling ceases) with only basic education. In order to combat social exclusion caused by low educational attainment, the Finnish Government has decided to extend the upper age limit for compulsory education from 16 to 18. The aim is to increase the chances for everyone to complete at least secondary level education. In addition to raising the age limit, the Government will offer the necessary learning materials and tools needed for secondary education free of charge to students.
  • Existing Personal Social Services in Lithuania do not ensure sufficient accessibility and adequate quality, nor do they fully meet the needs of vulnerable people such as persons with disabilities, dependent elderly or long-term unemployed. The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked several legislative and regulatory initiatives to address these issues. The Programme of the new Government, approved after the October 2020 Parliament elections, also includes two priorities regarding Personal Social Services. First, they should meet individual needs of service recipients. Secondly, the rights of people with disabilities should be protected and services for them developed. However, the Programme has been criticised for its lack of emphasis on further deinstitutionalisation of social care services.

The ESPN Flash Reports reflect the views only of the authors, and the European Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information they contain.

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