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Sweden:Organisation of the Education System and of its Structure

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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

Introduction

Sweden has a decentralised education system, steered by goals and learning outcomes defined at central level. The government has the overall responsibility and sets the framework for education at all levels but municipalities are responsible for organising most of the education from preschool to upper secondary school as well as municipal adult education and Swedish tuition for immigrants.

The public school system for children and young people covers:

The public school system for adults consists of:

Higher education is conducted at universities and university colleges, where both types of institutions have equivalent status with regard to undergraduate education.

Compulsory Education

The compulsory school system comprises compulsory school (grundskolan), the Sami school (sameskolan) for Sami-speaking children who live in the north of the country, schools for pupils with impaired hearing (specialskolan), and education for pupils with learning disabilities (grundsärskolan).

Municipalities are obliged to arrange preschool classes (förskoleklass) for all children six years of age. Participation is optional but 95 % of all six year olds attend the preschool class.

Under the Education Act nine years of compulsory schooling is obligatory for all children aged 7 to 16, i.e. school attendance is compulsory. The Education Act also states that children and young people have a right to receive education in the national school system. Although most children start school in the year they turn seven, the start of compulsory schooling is flexible and the starting age can vary from six to eight according to the wish of the parents or guardian. Compulsory attendance at school lasts for nine years, regardless of starting age.

As of January 2002, the right to education includes children seeking asylum and children in similar circumstances. They are to have access to preschool activities, school-age childcare and education in the public education system on essentially the same conditions as children resident in Sweden.

A new Education Act (Skollagen) came into force by the autumn term of 2011. As a consequence, a new curriculum for the compulsory school system (Läroplan för grundskolan, förskoleklassen och fritidshemmet) applies as of autumn 2011. It covers the compulsory school (grundskola), the preschool class (förskoleklass) and leisure-time centres (fritidshem). In addition, there are new curricula for schools for pupils with impaired hearing (specialskola) and schools for pupils with learning disabilities (grundsärskola). In 1998, the preschool förskola received its first national curriculum (Läroplan för förskolan), which was revised in 2010.

Schools at compulsory level are funded by municipal grants from the pupils' home municipalities and by state grants, i.e. are grant-aided, and free of charge, and this also includes school meals, tools and equipment and (when needed) transport. For more information on financing, see 3.1 - Funding.

Upper Secondary School

A new structure for the upper secondary school (gymnasieskolan) was introduced 1 July 2011. The previous 17 national programmes were replaced by 18 national programmes; 6 higher education preparatory programmes and 12 vocational programmes. The individual programme was replaced by five introductory programmes, individually adapted to the pupils. History was introduced as a new common core subject for all programmes.

All the upper secondary school programmes are designed around the same eight compulsory subjects, called core subjects: Swedish/Swedish as a second language, English, mathematics, civics, religion, science studies, physical education and health, and artistic activities. In addition to these, pupils study programme specific subjects.

Curriculum for the Upper Secondary School (Läroplan för gymnasieskola)

Curriculum for the Upper Secondary Education for Pupils with Intellectual Impairments (Läroplan för gymnasiesärskolan)

Curriculum for Adult Education and Education for Adults with Intellectual Impairments (Läroplan för vuxenutbildningen)

Tertiary Education

All higher education is pursued in courses and programmes. The courses can be taken separately or as part of a study programme to lead to degrees. The scale of a course or study programme is measured in 'credit points' in line with the ECTS. Full-time studies during one year equals 60 credit points. Higher education institutions (HEIs) decide about the organisation of their courses.

Mainly as a result of the Bologna process, legislation for a three-cycle structure of higher education was applied from July 2007. The new structure replaces the former system and is the only structure for all HEIs. This new system aims at improving international comparability of Swedish education, as intended by the Bologna process. A credit point system in line with ECTS is now mandatory, see 7.2.1 - Branches of studies.

The Higher Education Ordinance, (Högskoleförordningen)

Adult Education

Adult education provided by municipalities consists of:

● Municipal adult education (kommunal vuxenutbildning)

● Special education for adults (särskild utbildning för vuxna)

● Swedish tuition for immigrants (sfi)

In addition there is higher vocational education (yrkeshögskola), a post secondary education and training program in which a part of the time often is spent at a workplace. Higher vocational education is organised by municipalities, educational companies and university colleges in conjunction with working life. In July 2009 the Swedish National Agency for Higher Vocational Education (Myndigheten för yrkeshögskolan) was established to develop and oversee a new form of publicly funded vocational education at post upper secondary level.

Higher Vocational Education Courses, HVECs, cover a wide range of vocational areas with one common goal, namely the provision of advanced vocational education, tailored to the needs of the labour market. In HVECs a modern approach is taken where theoretical learning is integrated and blended with vocational practice at the workplace. HVECs are needed as they are intended to serve the needs of job seekers and industries where competence and labour are in demand. For this reason companies and the business sector partner in the design and construction right from the very start. Content is jointly determined. HVECs last for at least six months and participant progress and outcomes are assessed and recognised by a certificate/diploma that validates their skills for employment.

The role of the Swedish National Agency for Higher Vocational Education is to set up a common framework agreed on and followed by vocational education and training providers.

The liberal adult education sector (folkbildning) also provides adult education through folk high schools (folkhögskolor) and adult education associations (studieförbund). Some folk high school courses and some of the education within the supplementary education programmes and labour market training programmes are comparable to higher vocational education, in terms of content. A large part of higher education is also directed towards competence development and further training of adults.

The Swedish Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen) is responsible for the labour market training (arbetsmarknadsutbildning) intended primarily for unemployed adults in need of retraining or further training and education.

Stages of the Swedish Education System

2016 diagram SE.pngsource: Eurydice 2016