Religious Education in Finland
At school every pupil can receive RE lessons according to his or her own religion if the denomination is registered in Finland. (15-year-old child can decide his/her denomination with the permission of his/her parents). It means that contents of RE in each religion are based on that specific denomination although other religions are also studied. In spite of that RE is non-confessional and teachers of RE don't have to belong to any denomination. Teacher education takes place in universities. Education in other than Lutheran religion will be organized if there is a minimum of three pupils, who belong to that specific denomination.
National Framework Curricula for religious education is written for Evangelical Lutheran, Orthodox, Buddhist, Herran kansa ry, Jewish, Christian Community, Latter Day Saint, Free Church, Catholic, Islamic, Adventist, Baha'i and Hare Krishna religious education. If there’s no curriculum for some registered religion, the national board of education cooperates with the religion in order to compose it.
Since RE is a compulsory subject, pupils who do not belong to any religious group are taught Ethics. Also some non-Lutheran pupils participate in the Evangelical Lutheran RE.
Aims and contents of teaching RE are described on the national level in National core curriculum for basic education and National Core Curriculum for Upper Secondary Schools 2003.
In a nutshell the purpose of RE is described as follows:
"The main purpose of religious education is to offer stimuli for the construction and development of students´ own religious view on life by teaching them about their own religion, life and thinking of various religions, and by giving students the readiness to understand different world views.“ Therefore RE as a subject gives an opportunity to study and discuss main questions in religion and life. And students in all RE at school are respected as independent and truth-seeking individuals.