G2 Master’s thesis, polytechnic Master’s thesis
Turun kouluvalintapolitiikka ja koulutuksellinen kaupunkitila/School choice policies and urban educational space in the city of Turku

List of Authors: Anna-Kaisa Berisha
Publisher: Turun yliopisto
Place: Turku
Publication year: 2014


In Finland the well-being of the nation has been built upon the principles of civilization and know-how. In order to accomplish this, a comprehensive education system has been built to assure equality among people. The comprehensive education system is regulated by the Basic Education Act, according to which education must enhance equality. The law also states that municipalities must appoint each pupil to a school, but at the same time it enables the pupils to choose another school. Thus school choice has become a part of the everyday life in the Finnish comprehensive schooling. A special trait of Finnish school choices are classes with a special emphasis. School choices are also influenced by urban spatial segregation. Parents’ education level as well as the demographic composition of a school’s catchment strongly predict the school’s possibilities to produce pupils with high school performance.

The current study was interested to investigate the socioeconomic spatial segregation and its connection to comprehensive schooling in the city of Turku. The main research questions were: 1. What is the relationship between families’ socioeconomic status and attitudes towards school choice, schooling and the purpose of education? and

2. How do the catchment areas of the schools differ and do pupils’ school performances vary? The data consisted of a postal survey conducted to the families of 6th graders, a pupil registry data concerning the same age cohort and the city’s demographic statistics. The data was analysed using statistical and GIS methods.

The results show that making school choices is substantial in Turku. Of the families that partook in the postal survey, 36 per cent had their child participating in emphasised teaching and in the pupil registry data the corresponding percentage was 44. The mothers’ education level was connected to the likelihood of making school choices. Additionally, differences were found in the parents’ attitudes towards different educational aspects in relation to their socioeconomic status. School performance also varied among the 7th grades, as between schools the difference between the pupils’ school certificate averages was 0.8 and between classes 1.8. The school performance of a class was connected to different class types: the lowest averages were among general classes and the highest among special emphasised classes. The schools’ catchment areas showed signs of segregation in terms of demographic factors. 

Key words: school choice policies, comprehensive schooling, school performance, class types, spatial segregation, Turku

Last updated on 2019-29-01 at 16:37