Sweden

Sweden’s ECEC curriculum was designed to put children and play at the centre of ECEC by: 1) ensuring continuous child development through the use of one national framework plan for ECEC; 2) balancing content by addressing academic and socio-emotional development; 3) reflecting on parental opinions and expectations; and 4) addressing respect for cultural values. Implemented in 1998 – with revisions made in 2010, and additions made in 2016 – Sweden began implementing the latest revision (Lpfö 18) in 2018. The new curriculum came into force in July 2019.

The latest revisions highlight the importance of teachers and teaching in meeting the goals and purposes of preschool education. Key changes include aligning the structure of the ECEC curriculum with the structure of the primary and lower secondary curriculum (Lgr 11). There is also a focus on developing learners’ digital competence and introducing digital tools to pre-primary education in line with Sweden’s digital education strategy (2017). To support the implementation of the curriculum, the National Agency for Education has developed two professional development initiatives aimed at ECEC professionals: a blended learning course on the theme of teaching in preschool and an online course on the theme of identity, gender equality, and digitalisation in preschool. An evaluation from 2020 found that participants were overwhelmingly satisfied with the professional development initiatives, and that they had contributed to the successful implementation of the strategy. In particular, participants found the online format more accessible and flexible than traditional in-person formats. Recommendations for improvement included better adapting professional development activities to the needs of ECEC principals, providing clearer guidance on the division of responsibilities between teachers and ECEC leaders, and developing an equivalent course for childminders (Swedish National Agency for Education, 2020[6]).

Further reading: Swedish National Agency for Education (2019[7]), Curriculum for the Preschool, Lpfö 18, https://www.skolverket.se/publikationsserier/styrdokument/2019/curriculum-for-the-preschool-lpfo-18 (accessed on 1 April 2021).

In 2020 and 2021, Sweden has invested in a range of VET and adult learning initiatives to help workers and learners adjust to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to strengthen the supply of labour-market skills in the long term. There is a particular focus on developing flexible upskilling and reskilling opportunities that meet the needs of working life and can be combined with other responsibilities. Since 2021, state funding allows municipalities to offer an additional 15 500 places in adult vocational education. Furthermore, Sweden’s offer of Higher VET will increase by 5 600 places in 2022 and 5 500 places in 2023. The government has also allocated funding for higher vocational education institutions to provide short upskilling courses for professionals. Employers currently receiving a subsidy for short-term work to maintain workers in times of lower production can apply for an additional 60% subsidy for skills initiatives that take place during working hours. This aims to make use of the time that has become available during periods of lower production. Given the significant investment involved in these skills initiatives, it will be important to introduce measures for quality assurance and to monitor their impact on labour market outcomes.

Further reading: Ministry of Education of Sweden (2020[8]), Stärkt kompetensförsörjning och utbildning som leder till jobb [Strengthened skills supply and education leading to jobs], https://www.regeringen.se/artiklar/2020/09/starkt-kompetensforsorjning-och-utbildning-som-leder-till-jobb/ (accessed on 1 April 2021).

References

Ministry of Education of Sweden (2020), Stärkt kompetensförsörjning och utbildning som leder till jobb [Strengthened skills supply and education leading to jobs], https://www.regeringen.se/artiklar/2020/09/starkt-kompetensforsorjning-och-utbildning-som-leder-till-jobb/ (accessed on 1 April 2021). [8]

OECD (2020), Learning remotely when schools close: How well are students and schools prepared? Insights from PISA, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/3bfda1f7-en. [2]

OECD (2020), TALIS 2018 Results (Volume II): Teachers and School Leaders as Valued Professionals, TALIS, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/19cf08df-en. [1]

OECD (2019), PISA 2018 Results (Volume II): Where All Students Can Succeed, PISA, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/b5fd1b8f-en. [4]

OECD (2019), PISA 2018 Results (Volume III): What School Life Means for Students’ Lives, PISA, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/acd78851-en. [5]

OECD (2019), TALIS 2018 Results (Volume I): Teachers and School Leaders as Lifelong Learners, TALIS, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/1d0bc92a-en. [3]

Swedish National Agency for Education (2020), Evaluation of two of the National Agency for Education’s efforts to implement the revised ECEC curriculum (Utvärdering av två av Skolverkets insatser för implementering av förskolans reviderade läroplan), https://www.skolverket.se/publikationsserier/ovrigt-material/2020/utvardering-av-tva-av-skolverkets-insatser-for-implementering-av-forskolans-reviderade-laroplan (accessed on 1 April 2021). [6]

Swedish National Agency for Education (2019), Curriculum for the Preschool, Lpfö 18, https://www.skolverket.se/publikationsserier/styrdokument/2019/curriculum-for-the-preschool-lpfo-18 (accessed on 1 April 2021). [7]

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