Institution: Ministry of Education and Research
Full reference: Ministry of Education and Research (2009) From Preschool Pedagogy to Nanotechnology: Education and Research in Sweden. Stockholm: Government Offices of Sweden
This paper is a presentation of the Swedish educational system, published during the Swedish Presidency of the EU. It sets out the principles, main elements and funding structures of education provision in Sweden from preschool through to research, as well as information on current policy initiatives and plans for reform.
A key feature emphasised in the paper is equality of access. The paper explains that tuition is free of charge at all levels, including higher education. There are no charges for school health services or transport to school and school meals are free for all pupils in the compulsory school years. Pre-school education is available to all children at low cost. After compulsory school almost all pupils proceed to the upper secondary school (16-20) and receive study allowances in the form of student grants at this level. Most children receive school-age childcare in leisure-time centres which are often co-ordinated with the school. An important goal is for preschool classes, compulsory school and leisure-time centres to be closely linked and able to strengthen each other by a mixing of different pedagogical traditions.
Emphasis in preschool is placed on creative activities and developing an understanding of questions concerning the environment and nature conservation. There are initiatives to make changes in the compulsory school in order to strengthen pupils’ knowledge in mathematics, natural sciences and technology. The Swedish Government aims to clarify the goals in the curricula, without restricting the freedom of teachers to choose their own working methods or pedagogical approaches.