The Early Phases of School in Oulu

In 1609, the king accepted the request of the citizens of Oulu to have a school in the newly established city. The languages used for teaching in Finland were Latin and Swedish, were replaced by Finnish only beginning from 1858 when a Finnish lyceum in Jyväskylä was founded. The Oulu pedagogia (sc. Children’s school) started its action as an educator for reading, Christianity, writing and arithmetic. In the year 1682 when the city got its own trivial school Latin, Greek, theology, history, mother tongue, logics and rhetoric were added to the list of subjects.

The trivial school of Oulu was most possibly to be located in the corner of Kajaaninkatu and Kirkkokatu. As the building destroyed in the Fire of Oulu in 1822, the school was moved to Raahe for few years. The new school house which then later enlarged into the nowadays Lyceum house was built to Pokkitörmä in 1831. Twelve years later the school system in Finland was reorganized. One or two year lower elementary school was chiefly meant for the ones aiming for the service of the state. Qualifications for the two-year high school were given by higher elementary schools, which had four classes. In the school of Oulu – Högre elementarskolan i Uleåborg from 1842 onwards – they had both lower and higher elementary schools. At that point, there was no high school existing in the city. In the 1860’s when the school also became an elementary institution ”Elementarläroverket i Uleåborg” leading to University studies teaching was also given in Finnish. In 1873, it was again ordered that the language used in teaching was to be Swedish. It was said to be excessive that the gentle folk of the city was made to go to school in which their mother tongue was not used in teaching. Therefore, the school of Oulu became a Swedish classical lyceum. During the same times, the new school system was validated: on the elementary school basis, one could apply to either REAALIKOULU or lyceum.

The Finnish Lyceum

The high-handed Swedish measure was not to the liking of the people of Oulu and so the issue was to be shortly repaired. In 1874 by Pastor Wilhem Lindstedt a board of six men was chosen to promote the school issue, for example some masters of the classical lyceum were its members. On 24th July, the imperial senate accepted an application set by the board about founding a Finnish lyceum. As premises for the school rooms from the Boman house were rented in Kajaaninkatu 5. The financial situation was very poor: the first furniture was 2 tables and 28 chairs bought from an auction. The teachers had to work without a pay for the first months.

30th august the first entrance examination was held and 33 students were accepted. Despite the difficulties, the Finnish lyceum of Oulu started its action in the autumn of 1874. In 2004, our school celebrated its 130th anniversary.

In the early days lyceum had to struggle in continuous economic difficulties. The state aid was finally admitted not earlier than in the 1880’s and the private lyceum’s gradual abolishment was started in 1883 and at the same time the Finnish lyceum of Oulu got to start its action. In 1890 the last students of the private lyceum was handed their diplomas. Already the next year the first secondary school graduates had graduated from a lyceum owned by the state.

In its second year in action, the new lyceum moved to the house of M. Rusko to Kirkkokatu 36 for rent. However, there was not enough room and it was cold too. Four years later the lyceum moved to Rantakatu into larger premises in a two floor stone building. The number of students, however, was growing continuously and finally in the summer of 1890 when there were already 190 students the school moved to its place it still has in Pokkitörmä.