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Sweden:Organisation of Upper General and Vocational Secondary Education

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Overview Sweden

Contents

Sweden:Political, Social and Economic Background and Trends

Sweden:Historical Development

Sweden:Main Executive and Legislative Bodies

Sweden:Population: Demographic Situation, Languages and Religions

Sweden:Political and Economic Situation

Sweden:Organisation and Governance

Sweden:Fundamental Principles and National Policies

Sweden:Lifelong Learning Strategy

Sweden:Organisation of the Education System and of its Structure

Sweden:Organisation of Private Education

Sweden:National Qualifications Framework

Sweden:Administration and Governance at Central and/or Regional Level

Sweden:Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level

Sweden:Statistics on Organisation and Governance

Sweden:Funding in Education

Sweden:Early Childhood and School Education Funding

Sweden:Higher Education Funding

Sweden:Adult Education and Training Funding

Sweden:Early Childhood Education and Care

Sweden:Organisation of Programmes for Pre-Primary Education

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

Sweden:Assessment in Programmes for Pre-Primary Education

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)

Sweden:Organisation of Single Structure Education

Sweden:Teaching and Learning in Single Structure Education

Sweden:Assessment in Single Structure Education

Sweden:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Single Structure Education

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

Sweden:Organisation of Upper General and Vocational Secondary Education

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

Sweden:Assessment in Upper General and Vocational Secondary Education

Sweden:Organisation of Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Sweden:Teaching and Learning in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Sweden:Assessment in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Sweden:Higher Education

Sweden:Types of Higher Education Institutions

Sweden:First Cycle Programmes

Sweden:Bachelor

Sweden:Short-Cycle Higher Education

Sweden:Second Cycle Programmes

Sweden:Programmes outside the Bachelor and Master Structure

Sweden:Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

Sweden:Adult Education and Training

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

Types of Institutions

Vocational and general upper secondary education is provided within the same institutions run by municipalities, county councils or independent organisers in grant-aided independent schools (friskolor). There are 1,253 upper secondary schools in Sweden and 485 of those are independently managed. The schools have different profiles and offer different programmes. In 2012, 95 per cent of all 17 year olds attended upper secondary education. Approximately 31 per cent of the pupils studied one of the 12 vocational programmes and 51 per cent attended one of the 6 general programmes that prepare students for higher education.

Upper secondary education is free of charge. Independent schools at upper secondary level are generally grant-aided and are not allowed to charge fees. The upper secondary school consists of different types of programmes:

  • 18 national programmes each lasting three years, 12 of which are vocational programmes and six of which are preparatory programmes for higher education. The preparatory programmes for higher education provide basic eligibility for further studies in higher education at undergraduate level. Pupils on vocational programmes can obtain eligibility for higher education by studying a few extra courses. The programmes are divided into upper secondary foundation subjects, subjects common to a programme, orientations, programme specialisations and a diploma project.
  • Five introductory programmes for pupils who are not eligible for a national programme.
  • Education that deviates from the national programme structures; special variants, programmes based on national recruitment and nationally approved sports programmes.

Geographical Accessibility

There are 1,253 upper secondary schools (gymnasieskolor) in Sweden, located in 267 of the 290 municipalities (school year 2012/13). Irrespective of place of residence all children and young people in Sweden shall have equal access to the public education system. Pupils may have to commute to a school in a bigger town, or stay accommodated during the school week to attend upper secondary school. For information on financial aid for commuting and accommodation, see 3.1 -Early childhood and school education funding.

The geographical distribution of the 485 independently managed upper secondary schools is uneven across the country and concentrated in 115 municipalities, typically in the bigger cities and towns.

Admission Requirements and Choice of School

Under the Education Act (Skollagen) all municipalities are obliged to offer upper secondary education to young people who have completed compulsory school (grundskolan) or who have acquired equivalent qualifications for example in another country. The right to upper secondary education is restricted by that the course of study must be started no later than the first half of the calendar year in which the pupil reaches the age of 20. Upper secondary education above 20 years of age is offered within the public adult education system through municipal adult education (kommunal vuxenutbildning) (see 8 - Adult Education and Training.)

In the new upper secondary school, which began in the autumn 2011, the entrance requirements were reinforced. In order to be eligible for the preparatory programmes for higher education, pupils must have achieved a minimum of a pass grade in Swedish, English and mathematics and in at least nine other subjects. To be eligible for the vocational programmes, pupils must have a pass grade in Swedish, English and mathematics and in at least five other subjects. Pupils who do not meet the qualification demands may follow an introductory programme. Nearly all pupils continue to upper secondary school after finishing the compulsory school. The Swedish National Agency for Education (Skolverket)

The Board of Appeal for Education is an independent authority similar to a court of law to which students or their guardians can turn to appeal certain decisions made in connection with preschool classes, compulsory schools, upper secondary schools and adult education. One can only appeal certain types of decisions, for example decisions concerning action programmes, decisions regarding placement in particular teaching groups and decisions regarding admission into a school for students with learning difficulties, an upper secondary school or into Swedish tuition for immigrants.

Pupil's Right to Choose School

In the ninth year of compulsory school (grundskola), pupils choose which programme they wish to follow at the upper secondary school (gymnasieskola). The municipalities provide a broad range of education and match the number of places in different programmes to pupils' choices as far as possible. If the number of applicants is higher than the number of places available, selection is made on the basis of the pupil's final marks/grades from the courses finished during compulsory school. There is no end-of-school exam.

Pupils wishing to study a national programme not offered by their home municipality are entitled to be accepted onto this programme in another municipality that does offer it. These candidates have the same priority as applicants from that municipality. Pupils from another municipality can apply to a municipal upper secondary school even if it is offered in the home municipality but the pupils from the municipality itself, or pupils living in another municipality where the programme is not offered, are prioritised. If accepted to an upper secondary school in another municipality, the home municipality must pay the cost. Pupils from the Nordic countries can attend upper secondary school in any Nordic country. For those not eligible for national programmes, there are five introductory programmes that are adapted to the individual: preparatory education, programme-oriented individual choice, introduction to a profession, individual option and language introduction.

Qualification Rating

A new grading scale with six levels and a seventh coding was introduced for upper secondary school and compulsory school in the autumn of 2011 (see 5.3 - Assessment in Single Structure Education and 6.3 - Assesment in Upper General and Vocational Secondary Education).

The old Swedish system of Pass (G), Pass with Distinction (VG), Pass with Special Distinction (MVG) and Did Not Pass (IG) has been replaced by a new grading scale with six grades from A to F. The grades A to E are passing grades, with F as a failing grade. A limited number of places at upper secondary school are set aside for pupils from schools where grades cannot be compared with those obtained from the compulsory school, for example pupils from grant-aided schools with a Waldorf/Steiner profile where no grades are given, or for pupils who should be given preferential access for social or personal reasons.

An appeal may be made at the Education Appeals Board if a school organiser decides not to admit an applicant to a national, specially designed or individual programme (designed for a group of pupils), on the grounds of eligibility.

Age Levels and Grouping of Pupils/Students

The course-based system together with the absence of a nationally decided timetable gives the upper secondary schools (gymnasieskolorna) great freedom to organise the education. The groups of students studying a course may be put together from different year groups and programmes, thus students of different ages can study together. There are no national regulations concerning the pupils/teacher ratio. It is decided locally whether a teacher stays with the same class for several years, however it is common that one teacher teaches a specific subject to a class throughout their upper secondary education.

Organisation of the School Year

The municipalities and the schools themselves decide how the school year is organised. The school year is divided in two terms, spring and autumn, and consists of a minimum of 178 school days and at least 12 days of holidays, distributed over 40 weeks. The school year in the compulsory school (grundskolan) and upper secondary school (gymnasieskolan) starts in the end of August and finishes in June. Each municipality decides the exact dates for starting and finishing school. Pupils are free from school when teachers participate in training and planning activities. Teachers start work earlier than the pupils each semester and finish later.

Upper secondary school (gymnasieskolan) is not divided into courses for specific years and is regulated by a national system of points for the whole three year programme (Appendix 2, Education Act), see 6.2 - Subjects. The education system is decentralised and the education is governed by the Education Act (Skollagen) decided by the Parliament (Riksdag), by the national goals for education – set in the Curriculum for the upper secondary school, by the programme goals – specific for each programme, and by each subject's syllabus. This gives upper secondary schools great freedom to organise the education and the schools decide themselves how lessons are allocated in weekly and daily timetables. However there are regulations regarding the number of weeks and the minimum number of days and hours to constitute a school year. All pupils have the right to a minimum guaranteed number of teaching hours (calculated as 60 minutes), for the whole of the three-year education, of at least 2180 hours for general programmes, and 2430 hours for vocational programmes.

Organisation of the School Day and Week

A five-day week from Monday to Friday is applied. The weekly workload should be distributed as evenly as possible over the five days. The schools themselves decide how long the school day shall be and the school’s opening and closing hours. The school head is responsible for making a timetable, for one whole semester or for a shorter period, which states the teaching hours in different subjects and the names of the teachers. There is no regulation in educational statutes on maximum number of daily school hours.

Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures

There are 3 International schools at upper secondary level. These are grant-aided independent schools. For more information about international schools and grant-aided independent schools see 2.4 Organisation of private education

The main rule is that distance education is not allowed. However, there is one upper secondary school in Sweden that do offer distance education to pupils regardless of where they live in Sweden (Förordning om distansundervisning på gymnasial nivå i Torsås, SFS 1992:1261). If the pupil has obvious difficulties which cannot be overcome in any other way it is possible to follow a reduced programme (see 6.1 Specialisation of Studies). Pupils may, after a decision from the school head, be exempted from courses corresponding to a maximum of 10 per cent of the upper secondary school credits. It is also possible to receive instruction in a national programme over a period of more than three years; for pupils in municipal schools the educational board of the municipality makes such decisions. The Swedish National Agency for Education (Skolverket)