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The nine-year basic education, or comprehensive school, is compulsory for all children aged between 7 and 16. Compulsory education begins in the year during which a child turns seven and ends when the basic education syllabus has been completed or when ten years have lapsed since the beginning of the compulsory education. Basic education may include an extra voluntary year of additional studies (year 10).

Local authorities assign a school place to each pupil close to their homes.

In Kuopion there are two private schools which offer basic education: Steinerkoulu Virkkula and Kuopion kristillinen yhtenäiskoulu.

Basic education for adults is offered in Kuopio Community College (Kuopion kansalaisopisto), Kuopio Upper Secondary School for Adults (Kuopion aikuislukio) and Pohjois-Savo's College (Pohjois-Savon opisto).