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Sweden:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

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Sweden:Early Childhood and School Education Funding

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Sweden:Early Childhood Education and Care

Sweden:Organisation of Programmes for Pre-Primary Education

Sweden:Teaching and Learning in Programmes for Pre-Primary Education

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Sweden:Organisation of the Pre-Primary Class

Sweden:Teaching and Learning in the Pre-Primary Class

Sweden:Assessment in the Pre-Primary Class

Sweden:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Early Childhood Education and Care

Sweden:Single Structure Education (Integrated Primary and Lower Secondary Education)

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Sweden:Upper Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

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Sweden:Teaching and Learning in Upper General and Vocational Secondary Education

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Sweden:Distribution of Responsibilities

Sweden:Developments and Current Policy Priorities

Sweden:Main Providers

Sweden:Main Types of Provision

Sweden:Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning

Sweden:Teachers and Education Staff

Sweden:Initial Education for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Sweden:Conditions of Service for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Sweden:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Sweden:Initial Education for Academic Staff in Higher Education

Sweden:Conditions of Service for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Sweden:Continuing Professional Development for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Sweden:Initial Education for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Sweden:Conditions of Service for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Sweden:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Sweden:Management and Other Education Staff

Sweden:Management Staff for Early Childhood and School Education

Sweden:Staff Involved in Monitoring Educational Quality for Early Childhood and School Education

Sweden:Education Staff Responsible for Guidance in Early Childhood and School Education

Sweden:Other Education Staff or Staff Working with Schools

Sweden:Management Staff for Higher Education

Sweden:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Higher Education

Sweden:Management Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Sweden:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Sweden:Quality Assurance

Sweden:Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education

Sweden:Quality Assurance in Higher Education

Sweden:Quality Assurance in Adult Education and Training

Sweden:Educational Support and Guidance

Sweden:Special Education Needs Provision within Mainstream Education

Sweden:Separate Special Education Needs Provision in Early Childhood and School Education

Sweden:Support Measures for Learners in Early Childhood and School Education

Sweden:Guidance and Counselling in Early Childhood and School Education

Sweden:Support Measures for Learners in Higher Education

Sweden:Guidance and Counselling in Higher Education

Sweden:Support Measures for Learners in Adult Education and Training

Sweden:Guidance and Counselling in a Lifelong Learning Approach

Sweden:Mobility and Internationalisation

Sweden:Mobility in Early Childhood and School Education

Sweden:Mobility in Higher Education

Sweden:Mobility in Adult Education and Training

Sweden:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Early Childhood and School Education

Sweden:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Higher Education

Sweden:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Adult Education and Training

Sweden:Bilateral Agreements and Worldwide Cooperation

Sweden:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

Sweden:National Reforms in Early Childhood Education and Care

Sweden:National Reforms in School Education

Sweden:National Reforms in Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning

Sweden:National Reforms in Higher Education

Sweden:National Reforms related to Transversal Skills and Employability

Sweden:European Perspective

Sweden:Legislation

Sweden:Institutions

Sweden:Glossary

Organisational Aspects

 In Sweden the involvement of teachers in continuing professional development (CPD) is not stated in terms of professional duty or directly linked to promotion mechanisms. On occasions, certain CPD courses become necessary for some groups of teachers in the wake of fresh legislation. Following the endorsement of new qualification requirements by the 2010 Education Act, teachers who did not meet them were expected to take certain CPD courses in order to teach particular age groups or subjects. The only general admission requirement for competence development courses is that the teacher is employed at a school. Certain courses, however, can require that participants are teaching certain subjects or within certain sectors of education. Individual evaluations of teachers and their level of responsibility are taken into account when the school head and teacher union representatives negotiate their salaries, qualifications obtained via CPD would also be considered. 

The teachers’ unions negotiate working conditions, including the time allocated for continuing professional development, with the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (Sveriges kommuner och landsting). In a central agreement between the parties they have agreed to set aside 104 hours (as indicative value) per employee per school year during the teachers’ regulated working time. CPD mainly takes place during study days, evenings or pupils’ holidays.

The needs and training are established locally, by municipalities and schools, in consultation with various interests, including teachers. A CPD plan is not compulsory, but the education provider (the municipality or a private body) must ensure that staff has opportunities for professional development. The local authorities are formally responsible for providing skills development for teachers. No central directives are issued by the government, the Ministry of Education and Research or the Swedish National Agency for Education stating that teachers must take specific training programmes. But the agency does provide grants to local authorities and schools for skills development in national priority areas. 

Under the Education Act the organiser of education is obliged to ensure that CPD is available for teaching staff. Higher education institutions and the regional development centres are the primary organisers of publicly funded CPD. Other organisers are the public service company which produces educational broadcasting, the teachers’ trade unions, state authorities, independent educational companies and civil society organisations. The Swedish National Agency for Education (Skolverket) provides digital materials and organises conferences on specific themes with funding from the Ministry of Education and Research (Utbildningsdepartementet).


Incentives, supporting measures and funding for Participation in Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Activities

Continuing professional development (CPD) for teachers was introduced at the end of the 19th century as part of the central regulation concerning contents and organisation of education. There was no real organised CPD for teachers until the middle of the 20th century. The introduction of new curricula for compulsory and upper secondary school in 1962 and 1968 respectively coincided with organised continuing professional development, which became increasingly guided by the state during the 1960s.

In 1990 the parliament decided on a new division of responsibility between the state and the municipality. Today the guiding principle is that continuing professional development is a local responsibility, whilst setting the goals for this training, in compulsory and upper secondary schools, is a state responsibility. It is also a state responsibility to follow-up and evaluate local activities. It is the responsibility of the employers to make sure that the teachers get the CPD needed and it is, in principle, compulsory for teachers to take part in such training.

The municipalities have funds set aside for CPD of their staff and decide on its scope. The government can set aside funds for the municipalities and independent schools to support their work on developing the competence of teachers through extra funding to the Swedish National Agency for Education. The state shall, by means of the funds made available to the Swedish National Agency for Education, steer activities towards nationally important areas, taking into account that it is the principal organiser of the school that has the responsibility for implementing competence development.

A recent example is a programme called the "A boost for Teachers" (Lärarlyftet) where the Swedish National Agency for Education (Skolverket) publishes a catalogue of courses for teachers too choose from and which teachers can participate in while retaining 80 per cent of their salaries. In the programme nearly a quarter of all teachers received further education between 2007 and the end of 2011 and the programme is planned to continue through 2018. Some 30 000 fully qualified teachers were offered a chance to study at a higher education institution 2007-11. During their studies they received 80 per cent of their current pay. At the same time the government put SEK 1 billion into supplementary education for teachers who are experienced but not fully qualified (to make it possible for them to obtain the relevant teaching qualification), continuing professional education for teachers of Swedish for immigrants (Svenskundervisning för invandrare, SFI) and training for school heads. An essential element in the work of The Swedish National Agency for Education (Skolverket) is skill development for school staff. The agency has the responsibility for the national headteacher training and certain funding for professional development for teachers.

The Swedish National Agency for Education was commissioned by the government in July 2015 to develop and implement national school development programmes targeted at principals and schools. The aim is to develop and strengthen education to give students the best possible opportunities to develop. The agency will coordinate training programmes in literacy, natural science and technology and mathematics. 

The Education Act (Skollagen)
The Ministry of Education and Research (Utbildningsdepartementet)
The Swedish National Agency for Education (Skolverket)