Education in Sweden

Education in Sweden is mandatory for all children between age 7 and age 16. The school year in Sweden runs from mid/late August to early/mid June. The Christmas holiday from mid December to early January divides the Swedish school year into two terms. Homeschooling is closely supervised by the government and very limited.

From the age of one, children can be admitted to pre-school (förskola). Pre-schools help provide an environment that stimulates children's development and learning and enable parents to combine parenthood with work or studies. During the year before children start compulsory school, all children are offered a place in a pre-school class (förskoleklass), which combines the pedagogical methods of the pre-school with those of compulsory school. Immersion methods amongst children aged four to seven is highly emphasized in compulsory school. Between ages 6/7 and 15/16, children attend compulsory comprehensive school (grundskola), divided in three stages. The vast majority of schools in Sweden are municipally run, but there are also autonomous and publicly funded schools, known as "independent schools". The education in independent schools has many objectives in common with the municipal school, but it can have an orientation that differs from that of the municipal schools. A handful of boarding schools, known as "private schools", are funded by privately paid tuition.

In 2008, statistics showed that of all Swedes aged 25-64, 15% have completed only compulsory education (as the highest level of attainment), 46% only upper secondary education, 14% only post-secondary education of less than three years, and 22% post-secondary education of three years or more. Women are more educated than men (26% of women vs. 19% of men have post-secondary education of three years or more). The level of education is highest among those aged 25-34, and it decreases with age. Both upper secondary school and university studies are financed by taxes. Some Swedes go straight to work after secondary school. Along with several other European countries, the government used to subsidize tuition of non-EU/EEA students pursuing a degree at Swedish institutions, but in 2010 they started charging non-EU/EEA students 80,000-100,000 SEK per year. Swedish fifteen-years-old pupils have the 22nd highest average score in the PISA assessments, being neither significantly higher nor lower than the OECD average.

Site Map