Guidance and counselling in the transition phase between basic and upper secondary education mostly functional – however, experiences of bullying and learning difficulties make it difficult to choose a career and connect to further studies

Reppuselkäinen tyttö, joka seisoo selkä katsojaan päin.

The availability of guidance and counselling towards further studies and career choices is primarily good and meets the needs of young people. However, when the young person is struggling to find the right path and make choices, more support is needed but is not always sufficiently available. FINEEC’s evaluation of the transition phase in education is especially topical now that Finland is preparing an extension to the compulsory education.

The evaluation of the Finnish Education Evaluation Centre (FINEEC) covered basic education, upper secondary education and vocational education and training. The transition-phase education types included in the evaluation were voluntary additional basic education (“year ten”), preparatory education for vocational training (VALMA), instruction preparing for general upper secondary education (LUVA) and long-term programmes of liberal adult education organised by folk high schools.

The results are based on questionnaire responses from nearly 500 providers of basic education, upper secondary education and liberal adult education. In addition, information was collected from more than 15,000 students who had started their vocational education and training, upper secondary school or transition-phase studies. The questionnaire was designed to analyse the students’ experiences of receiving guidance and counselling in basic education, applying to studies after basic education and starting their current studies.

Individual guidance realised efficiently – some students still lack the necessary support

According to the results of the evaluation, most of the students had received the necessary personal guidance and counselling for planning further studies during basic education. Students in upper secondary and transition-phase education also felt that they had received sufficient guidance and counselling concerning the objectives and content of the studies at the beginning of their studies. Most of the students felt that, when necessary, they had the opportunity to have a private conversation about their studies with a counsellor or a teacher.

However, there were some development needs in basic education concerning group counselling and the utilisation of peer support. Moreover, the opportunities of digitalisation should be utilised more systematically in guidance throughout basic, upper secondary and transition-phase education.

Even though guidance and counselling in the transition phase mostly functions well, some of the students felt that they needed more guidance and counselling.

– More opportunities to discuss individual needs with a counsellor are needed, especially when the young person is struggling to find the right path and make choices and decisions regarding their studies after basic education. In upper secondary and transition-phase education, some of the students also felt that they would have needed more support to connect with their studies, says Counsellor of Evaluation Jani Goman.

Experiences of bullying and learning difficulties hinder career planning and connecting with studies

Compared to other students, the students who had been repeatedly bullied in comprehensive school or had experienced learning difficulties had a lower opinion of guidance and its correspondence to their needs. For example, they felt that they had not been sufficiently encouraged to think about various options regarding further studies and that the counsellors did not have sufficient time to discuss with them. They also felt that their self-knowledge, information acquisition and decision-making skills had developed less than those of others.

Experiences of bullying and learning difficulties were also reflected in the start of studies after basic education. For example, students who had experienced bullying of learning difficulties did not feel as included in their student group as other students.

Young people need more opportunities to learn about educational institutions offering further studies

Most of the students felt that they had received the necessary information on studying in upper secondary school and vocational education and training during basic education. However, more information should be provided on transition-phase studies, in other words preparatory education, instruction preparing for the next level of education and liberal adult education studies.

– This applies to the opportunities of learning about various studies. Only a few of the students in transition-phase education had been able to learn more about these types of education during their basic education, says Senior Advisor Niina Rumpu.

The evaluation team recommends increasing information about various further studying options and the opportunities to learn more about the studies.

The education team also recommends developing various forms of guidance and counselling, having all the teaching and education providers prepare a guidance plan, promoting means to prevent bullying and enhancing the sense of community between students.

Name of publication:

Vaihtoehtoja, valintoja ja uusia alkuja – Arviointi nuorten opintopoluista ja ohjauksesta perusopetuksen ja toisen asteen nivelvaiheessa (Options, choices and new beginnings – Evaluation of the study paths and counselling of young people in the transition phase between basic and upper secondary education) (In Finnish, abstracts in English)

Publication event:

Recording from publication event (link)

Additional information:

Counsellor of Evaluation Jani Goman, tel. +358 (0)29 533 5505,
Senior Advisor Niina Rumpu, tel. +358 (0)29 533 5525,