Laws, regulations and rules

The key documents guiding a teacher’s work are the curriculum and the higher education institute’s own degree and evaluation regulations. Naturally, they must also follow the law in their work. This page briefly reviews the most pivotal laws and regulations pertaining to a teacher’s work.

Laws

Following good administrative principles and ensuring the legal rights of students are governed by law. In legal hierarchy, EU legislation and the constitutional law have the highest standing in regulating authority operations.

In addition to them, other laws that are applicable in the work of a teacher in a higher education institute are the Administrative Procedure Act, Administrative Judicial Procedure Act, Act on the Openness of Government Activities, Data Protection Act, Non-discrimination Act, Language Act, Universities of Applied Sciences Act, Universities Act and the Criminal Code of Finland.

Administrative Procedure Act (434/2003)

The Administrative Procedure Act has established the good administrative practices that higher education institutes must follow as administrative authorities. These practices include:

Administrative legal principles

Authorities need to treat anyone involved with their administrative services equally and only use their authority for purposes approved by the law. The authority’s actions must be unbiased and proportionate to the goal pursued. They must protect the expectations that are legitimate based on the legal order.

Service principle and appropriate service

Dealing with the authority and processing the matter should be arranged in a manner that ensures the appropriate administrative services for the client while facilitating the authority’s success in its duty.
The authorities’ duty to publicise their activities and services, as well as the rights and obligations of private individuals and corporations in matters falling within their field of competence are regulated based on Section 20, subsection 2 of the Act on the Openness of Government Activities (621/1999)

Advice

An authority must, within the limits of their jurisdiction, advise their clients on managing their administrative matters, when necessary, and answer questions and inquiries regarding the services. This advisory service must be free-of-charge.

If the matter in question does not fall within the authority’s jurisdiction, it must attempt to refer the customer to the correct competent authority.

Requirement of correct language usage

An authority must use professional, clear and understandable language.

Regarding a client’s right to use their own native language when dealing with an authority, the authority should refer to separate regulations concerning the matter or to international agreements applying to Finland.

Authority cooperation

Within the limits of their jurisdiction and to the extent required by the matter in question, an authority should, upon request, assist another authority in managing their administrative duties and otherwise facilitate authority cooperation.

There are separate regulations concerning official assistance between authorities.

Administrative Judicial Procedure Act (808/2019)

This law is applied to administration of justice in general administrative courts as well as in situations related to appeals and complaints.

Act on the Openness of Government Activities (621/1999)

The purpose of the right of access to information and the obligations of public authorities decreed in this Act is to ensure transparency in public authorities’ actions and enable individuals and communities to control the use of public power and funds, freely form their opinions and influence public use of power as well as supervise their rights and interests.

Data Protection Act (1050/2018)

The Data Protection Act specifies the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Non-discrimination Act (1325/2014)

The purpose of this Act is to promote equality and prevent discrimination while also improving the legal protection of people facing discrimination.

Language Act (423/2003)

This Act strives to secure everyone’s right to use their own native tongue, either Finnish or Swedish, when dealing with public authorities. Higher education institutes often provide even more extensive services than those decreed by the law.

Universities of Applied Sciences Act (932/2014) and Universities Act (558/2009)

These Acts extensively regulate the operations, duties, funding, arrangement and evaluation of teaching, research and many other practical matters at higher education institutes.

Criminal Code of Finland (39/1889)

The Criminal Code of Finland will be applied in situations where a crime has occurred.

Decrees

In addition to the laws governing their operations, teachers need to be aware of the decrees applying to them. Several of them apply to all higher education institutes, while some only apply to universities of applied sciences and some to universities. The website of the Ministry of Education and Culture has a comprehensive list of these decrees in Finnish.

Rules

In addition to these laws and decrees, the work of a higher education teacher is governed the Regulations on Degrees of Tampere University/Tampere University of Applied Sciences and Tampere University’s University Regulations, the Regulations on the Assessment of Studies, and Rules of Conduct. Furthermore, members of teaching staff must familiarise themselves with the Ministry of Education’s guidelines and regulations as well as the valid curricula.

Copyrights and licencing of learning materials

Copyright matters relate to teaching work in several different ways. Teachers themselves always have the rights to the learning materials they have produced. This means that copyrights apply to the materials a teacher produced by themselves, but that they also apply to materials made by others that are utilised for teaching, such as images, videos and learning objects.

If the purpose is for others to also utilise the materials created by the teacher, they can be licensed using the Creative Commons licences. When using learning materials made by someone else, teachers need to review the user rights of these materials and adhere to them.

More information for staff

Tampere University Degree Regulations and additional guidelines

Code of Conduct for the Tampere University Community

General data protection guidelines

Data Protection Policy

Copyrights in teaching

Sopimus verkko-opintoaineiston valmistamisesta ja käyttöoikeuden luovuttamisesta (in Finnish)

Elsewhere in TLC

Diversity in teaching
Professional ethics

Links checked 9.3.2021