History Hans Högman
Copyright © Hans Högman 2018-05-17

Introduction

Early School Systems

The first educational institutions were organized by the monasteries and the education was carried out by the Medieval Convent schools. During the Middle Ages all teaching was done in the Latin language. Teaching in Swedish didn’t begin until the 1500s after the Reformation. From Medieval times there has been, at every cathedral in Sweden, a Cathedral School (Swe: Domskola or Katedralskola) and its primary task was to teach young men to become clergymen. The Cathedral schools had 4 grades followed by a 2-year theological seminary.

1600s

A school system called “Gymnasium” was introduced in Sweden in 1626. The former cathedral schools were later reorganized into so-called trivial schools (Swe: Trivialskola). Trivial schools were the second grade of education in the 1649 school reform of Queen Christina. First grade was Pedagogium, followed by Trivial school and Gymnasium (4-years). Education in Trivial schools was given in three subjects; grammar including Latin and Greek, rhetoric and dialectic. The school lasted for eight years, having four two-year classes. The Trivial schools were replaced by the so-called Realskola in 1905. The nobility and aristocrats had their children educated privately, often by hiring tutors and governesses teaching the children at respective aristocrat’s landed estate. From 1686 the parish clergy were responsible for organizing local primary education of the children in the parish. This education was primary focused on Christianity (religious instructions) based on the Lutheran faith of Church of Sweden. The parish minister held annually an examination with each household called Household Examination (Husförhör), with adults as well as children, and the result was noted in the parish Household Examination Roll (Husförhörsrulla). Teaching the children to read was responsibility of the parish clerk (Klockare). The ability to read was therefore generally high in Sweden.

Gymnasium

As mentioned above, the Gymnasium schools were established in the Cathedral cities in the 1620s. The first Gymnasium was founded in Västerås in 1623. In the school reform of 1649 the Swedish school system was divided into 3 stages; Trivial schools, Gymnasium and Universities (Academies). The Trivial school and the Gymnasium lasted each for 4-years, in total 8 years. A new school reform was made in 1693. In this reform there was a requirement for higher education; it was stated that all students had to pass a proficiency test before they could begin studies at a university. This was the first form of student examinations in Sweden. In other words, the students had to pass an examination before they could enter university studies.

1700s

The School Reform of 1724 strengthened the position of writing and arithmetic. This was done by introducing a parallel grade called Apologistklass (Arithmetic classes). These classes were intended for sons of businessmen and tradesmen who planned to enter higher education later. These classes were predecessor to the so-called Realskola. Geography and cartography were other topics introduced in this reform. The work of professor Carl von Linné made natural science more popular to study. This reform also emphasized education in the Swedish language. The school reform also had a section emphasizing the parental obligation to give their children a proper education. In the beginning of the 1700s special boarding schools for girls were introduced where they were taught French and sewing. These institutions weren’t really classified as schools since they weren’t divided into classes. These “schools” were foremost for upper class girls. The first proper girls’ school was established in 1786. The Realskola was introduced in Sweden in 1767. This was a type of secondary school.

1800s

In 1807 there was yet another school reform. The importance of Latin as the major language of education was now over. Instead German and French became new important languages. Already in 1820 there was another school reform. The importance of arithmetic increased and these classes were now separated from the Gymnasium. In 1828 it was suggested that the Gymnasium was to be divided into two separate study programs; Classic and Modern. However, this didn’t become a reality until 1849. The Classic program became the main program and Modern program an alternative program. The two programs of the Gymnasium were  now collectively named Läroverk. Studies at Läroverk ended in a examination called Studentexamén. The two programs were in 1856 renamed to: Latinlinjen (Arts program) respectively Reallinjen (Natural Science program). In 1878 the Läroverk were split into two types: Högre Läroverk with a 9-year education including an examination and Lägre Läroverk with 3 to 5 year long education without an exam. Higher education for girls became more common during the 1800s. At the end of the 1800s Coeducational schools (Swe: Samskola) were introduced; i.e. schools where both boys and girls studied together. The first coeducational school was Palmgrenska Samskolan established in 1876.  The school system was supervised by the Government School Inspection.

1900s

In 1905 Läroverket was reorganized into a lower stage called Realskola lasting for 6- years and a higher stage called Gymnasium lasting for 4-years. The Realskola ended in an exam called Realexamen and the Gymnasium in an exam called Studentexamen. The Gymnasium was a continuation of the 5th grade of the Realskola. From1905 girls were admitted to study at Läroverk. In the 1920s they were also allowed to study at Gymnasium schools. The image is from Kristinaskolan, a boys’ school, Linköping in 1922. The name of the teacher is Torsten Westberg. Free image Wikipedia.

Folkskolan - Elementary School of 1842

In 1842 an important bill was passed in the Swedish Parliament called Folkskolestadgan (The Elementary School Statute). This was the introduction of a universal Elementary school in Sweden. Every local government (socken) in Sweden was obliged to establish at least one permanent school. This new school was called Folkskola and had to have a qualified teacher employed. The Folkskola had no specific grades; there could be pupils of different ages in the same class. However, there were very little interest among the peasantry to send their children to school; The children were needed at home working on the homestead. Wealthy farmers and land proprietors continued with private tutors at home and had no interest in sending their children to the parish school. So, the get the bill accepted the Government didn’t make the Folkskola a compulsory school. The image to the right shows a classroom from circa 1850 in Linköping. Fresh pupils were at first taught to write in wet sand which was kept in the classrooms. Thereafter they used school slates as well as quills and paper. At this point the pupils were seated at long desks on benches without backrests. Photo Hans Högman 2004, Old Linköping. Compulsory school attendance However, in 1882 School reform the Folkskola was made a compulsory school. So, from 1882 children were obliged to attend school. In 1878, the Folkskola received its first national curriculum and the school then lasted for 6-years. The Folkskola was foremost located in the country side. In towns and cities there were the Småskola (Junior school) which was a parallel school to the Folkskola. In 1919 the Folkskola and the Småskola was consolidated into the new Folkskola which lasted for 6-years. The image to the right shows a classroom from circa 1890 in Linköping. The pupils were now seated at desks two and two. Photo Hans Högman 2004, Old Linköping. In 1937 the Folskola was reformed and lasted now for 7-years. In 1941 English was made the first foreign language in the Folkskola. A new reform of the Folkskola was made in the 1950s and now it lasted for 8-years.

Folkskollärare - Elementary School Teachers

Between 1842 and 1968 a folkskollärare was a teacher in the Elementary school. These teachers were divided into småskolelärare and folkskollärare. Småskollärare was foremost women teaching grades 1- 2 (from 1940 also grade 3). To teach from grade 3 the teacher had to be qualified, i.e. have an exam, folkskolärarexamen. The image to the right shows a classroom from circa 1915 in Linköping. Photo Hans Högman 2004, Old Linköping. An Elementary school (Primary school in the UK) is a school in which children receive primary or elementary education from the age of about five to twelve, coming after preschool and before secondary school.

Parallel schools

From the introduction of the Folkskola in the 1842 Elementary School Act, Sweden has had several parallel school systems with similar education and examinations. The Folkskola and the Läroverk were in the beginning examples of two such parallel schools. These parallel schools made the school system difficult to overview. There was a need of a uniform school system (Swe: Enhetsskola).

Secondary education, Högre Allmänna Läroverket

After three years in the Folkskola, children who enjoyed school and had good grades could choose to switch to a secondary school called "Högre Allmänna Läroverket". Högre Allmänna Läroverket was not free, so most students came from well-off families. However, some children with good grades were granted free education at Högre Allmänna Läroverket when their parents could not afford to pay the tuition fees.  In 1905, Högre Allmänna Läroverket was divided into a lower level, 6-year school called "Realskola" and a higher level, 4-year school called "Gymnasium".

Flickskolan - Girls’ School

A Girls’ school is a school were the students exclusively are girls. These schools are primarily secondary schools. The first girls’ school in Sweden was Herrnhutiska Brödraförsamlingen, Gothenburg, established in 1786. Other early girls’ schools were Wallinska Skolan in Stockholm (1831) with Gymnasium from 1874 and Kjellbergska in Gothenburg (1836) with a schoolmistress seminar (lärarinneseminarium) from 1908. A number of girls’ schools were established in the 1850s. In 1861 the Upper Schoolmistress Seminar (Högre lärarinneseminariet (HSL)) was established in Stockholm. The Image shows the Prayer Hall, Wallinska Skolan, in 1908. Free image Wikipedia. The girls’ schools were private schools, existed in cities only and had a typical middle-class profile. The schools had relatively high tuition fees and the students had to pass a proficiency test to be admitted. From 1874 the girls’ school were partially funded by the government. In the 1900s the society took a better responsibility for girls’ education and the need for special girls’ schools lessened. There was in the 1900s also an idea that all education should be co- educational which made girls’ schools obsolete. Disestablishment of the girl’s school began in 1956.

Grundskolan - Nine-year compulsory school

Grundskolan introduced in 1962

In 1962 a bill was passed in Parliament and a new School was introduced, Grundskolan. Grundskolan replaced Folkskolan and lasted for 9-years; the Nine-year compulsory school. Grundskolan is a comprehensive school. Compulsory education refers to a period of education that is required of all people and is imposed by government. The Swedish compulsory school attendance embraces ages 7 to 16 in Grundskolan. So, it is compulsory to attend school from the age of seven. Compulsory school attendance includes everyone living in Sweden independent of citizenship. In the UK compulsory school attendance embraces ages 5 to 18. In the US compulsory school attendance embraces ages 5 -8 to 15-18. However, ages vary between states. Beginning age varies 5-8, ending age varies 15-18.

Grundskolan is divided into three stages:

Lågstadiet - The primary school of the comprehensive school Lågstadiet (Primary school) in Sweden was the term used for grades 1 – 3 in the Nine-year compulsory school (grundskola) from 1949 to 1994. Since 2017 this term is again the official name for grades 7 – 9. Mellanstadiet - The intermediate level of the comprehensive school Mellanstadiet (Intermediate school) in Sweden was the term used for grades 4 – 6 in the Nine-year compulsory school (grundskola) from 1949 to 1994. Högstadiet - The senior level of the comprehensive school Högstadiet (Senior school) in Sweden was the term used for grades 7 – 9 in the Nine-year compulsory school (grundskola) from 1949 to 1994. Since 2017 this term is again the official name for grades 7 – 9. Since 1994, these terms are no longer in official use, but are still used informally. However, in 2017 the terms were reinstated. After högstadiet, there is no compulsory school attendance. In the USA Junior High School basically corresponds to the Swedish högstadiet. Beside these three stages there is a Preschool: Förskoleklass – Preschool Class A Swedish förskoleklass is a voluntary school for children from at the age of 5 and 6. Local governments have a duty to offer förskoleklasser from the age of 6 but many offers förskoleklass from the age of 5. This preschool is often referred to as grade zero.

School Year

Sweden has two semesters, Fall semester and Spring semester and the school year begins in the end of August every year and lasts until the beginning of June the following year. School holidays are; Fall holidays, Christmas, Sport holidays in February, Easter and the long summer holidays (from beginning of June to the end of August).

Teachers

The Grundskola employed three new types of teachers depending at which stage they were teaching: Lågstadielärare Mellanstadielärare Högstadielärare The Lågstadielärare and the Mellanstadielärare are homeroom teachers while the högstadielärare are subject teachers. In lågstadiet and mellanstadiet students remain in one classroom throughout the school day, except for specialized programs such as physical education, library, music, and art classes. In högstadiet, students move to different classrooms for different subjects. English is the first foreign language in Swedish schools, then there is a choice of different languages as second and third foreign languages. The first foreign language is mandatory.

History of the Swedish School System

Source References

Wikipedia Nationalencyklopedin, NE (Swedish National Encyclopedia) Private and independent schools in Sweden This article in Swedish Top of page

Fackskolan

In 1962 when the new Grundskola was established a continuation school called Fackskola also was established. The Fackskola was a preparatory vocational school to complement the Gymnasium (Senior High School) and lasted for 2-years. The Fackskola replaced the Realskola and the girls’ schools (Flickskolan) as a secondary school. In 1971, Fackskolan merged with Gymnasium and Yrkesskolan (Vocational school) to become the new "Gymnasiet".

Today’s Gymnasium - Upper Secondary School

Gymnasiet (definite article, singular of gymnasium) was established in the 1600s. In 1856 a school reform replaced the Gymnasium with the new established Läroverk. In 1970 the Gymnasium was reintroduced and the Läroverk was disestablished. The gymnasium consists of three years, usually starting at the year the students are turning 16 years old after nine years of compulsory school. There are no tuition fees. In the USA Senior High School basically corresponds to the Swedish Gymnasiet. Gymnasiet is formally elective, although most attend it. Gymnasiet is divided into so-called "programs", i.e. different types of choices of educational focus. The two most common "programs" are "social science" (samhällsvetenskap) and "natural sciences" (naturvetenskap). The "programs" are further divided into orientations. There are currently seventeen different "national programs" (centrally defined program curricula) with between two and four centrally defined orientations. In addition, there are local programs and orientations, but most schools use the national programs. Since the fall semester of 2011, there are eighteen national programs, six college preparatory programs, and twelve vocational programs. The programs are divided into two general categories: preparatory and vocational. All programs give basic qualifications to attend a university, but preparatory programs typically satisfy more of the various special qualifications that are required to attend some university courses and programs. The courses that a student takes depending on program and orientation can be divided into four levels: core subjects, program- specific subjects, orientation subjects, and individually selected courses. Core courses are courses that everyone, regardless of program, must study to satisfy the requirements for a student degree. Program-specific courses are the additional courses that a student is required to take to fulfill the program requirements. To attend secondary school, the prospective student applies to attend a certain program at a certain school, competing for entrance based upon his/her elementary school grades. After Gymnasiet, students can apply to a university in order to receive a tertiary education. General academic degrees are offered by public universities and university colleges that tend to attract students on a regional basis. Besides general academic degrees, the higher education system in Sweden also provides a number of professional and vocational degrees in fields such as engineering, law and medicine.

Universitet - University

A university is an institution of higher education and research which awards academic degrees in various academic disciplines. Universities typically provide undergraduate education and postgraduate education. Universities in Sweden are predominantly funded by the state and free of charge for the students. There are no tuition fees. However, tuition fees for foreign students were introduced in 2005. Citizens of EU and EEA member states and citizens from Switzerland remain exempted from tuition fees in Sweden, and the amounts of public grants granted to promising foreign students was increased to offset some of the impact.

History

During the Middle Ages Swedish students were sent to Paris for higher education and later also to German universities. An early name of universities was Academies. Uppsala University, founded in 1477, is the oldest university in Sweden. Early universities in Sweden and its then foreign provinces: Uppsala University, founded in 1477 in the city of Uppsala, 50 km north of Stockholm. Dorpat University, founded in 1632 in today’s Estonia. Åbo University, founded in 1640 in the city of Åbo in today’s Finland. Lund University, founded in 1668 in Skåne province, southern Sweden. Greifwald University, founded in 1456 in Northern Germany, Swedish university from 1648 to 1815. So, in 1700 there were 5 universities in Sweden but in 1815 only two, Uppsala and Lund. Estonia was lost in 1721, Finland in 1809 and the last provinces in Germany in 1815. The early universities had four faculties; Faculty of the Arts (Humanities), Faculty of Theology, Faculty of Law and Faculty of Medicine. A Dean is the head of each faculty. A faculty is divided into sections and the sections into departments (Swe: Institution). Head of each department is a Perfect (Swe: Prefekt). The image shows the University Hall, Uppsala University. Photo David Castor. Free image Wikipedia. The office of The chancellor of the Swedish Universities and Colleges  was established in 1852. In 1870 women were granted the right to take upper secondary school examinations and the right to study at medical faculties at universities (no other faculties at this time). Stockholm got its first college in 1878 and Gothenburg in 1891. These two colleges were soon developed into universities. However, they were not given the official status as universities until 1954 respectively 1960 (Stockholm University and Gothenburg University). Umeå University was established in 1965 and Linköping University in 1975. In 1990 the colleges in Karlstad, Örebro and Växjö were reorganized into universities.

Degrees

On 1 July 2007, a new higher education system went into effect in Sweden. Higher education became divided into three levels: Basic level (grundnivå) Advanced level (avancerad nivå) Doctoral level (forskarnivå) The new changes also included removing several professional / vocational degrees (yrkesexamina) as well as redefining other pre- existing degrees. Basic level (grundnivå) To be admitted to a program at the basic level, a student must complete an education at Gymnasium level or its equivalent. The degrees that can be obtained at the basic level are: University Diploma (Högskoleexamen), 2 years, 120 higher education credits (högskolepoäng) Degree of Bachelor (Kandidatexamen), 3 years, 180 higher education credits Advanced level (avancerad nivå) To be admitted to a program at the advanced level, a student must have obtained a 3-year Swedish degree at the basic level or a corresponding degree from another country or some corresponding qualification. The degrees that can be obtained at the advanced level are: Degree of Master (One year) (Magisterexamen), 1 year, 60 higher education credits Degree of Master (Two years) (Masterexamen), 2 years, 120 higher education credits Both degrees require completing a thesis. The Degree of Master (Two years), Master Exam, is a new degree that is intended to be closely linked to continuing education at the graduate level. Doctoral level (forskarnivå) To be admitted to a program at the doctoral level, a student must have obtained a Swedish degree at the advanced level or completed at least 4 years of full-time study with at least one year at the advanced level or a corresponding degree from another country or equivalent knowledge. The degrees that can be obtained at the doctoral level are: Degree of Licentiate (Licentiatexamen), 2 years, 120 higher education credits Degree of Doctor (PhD, Doktorsexamen), 4 years, 240 higher education credits Postgraduate academic titles are Docent Associate Professor) and Professor. Each department has an administrative officer, the Prefekt (Prefect), who often is a Docent.

Grading

Three sets of grades exist in Swedish universities and university colleges. Some universities have introduced a seven-grade scale (A-F, Fx), that is similar to the ECTS scale, but with a criterion-referenced grading instead of relative grading. The most common scale is a three-grade scale that consists of U (Underkänd in Swedish, Fail), G (Godkänd, Pass) and VG (Väl Godkänd, Pass with Distinction). In this set VG is the highest. The other grade set consists of (U, 3, 4, 5) where 5 is the highest. This grade set is normally given in courses within technical professional degrees. Finally, there are some courses, within two systems of grading, in which you can only get G (Pass) or U (Fail). For instance, for a one semester thesis (specialized level) in Computer Science for a Master's degree at some institutions one can only get the grade G (Pass) or Fail, while for an equivalent thesis at other institutions one can also receive the grade VG. The ECTS grading scale The ECTS grading scale is a grading system defined in the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) framework by the European Commission. Since many grading systems co-exist in Europe and, considering that interpretation of grades varies considerably from one country to another, if not from one institution to another, the ECTS grading scale has been developed to provide a common measure and facilitate the transfer of students and their grades between European higher education institutions, by allowing national and local grading systems to be interchangeable. Grades are reported on a carefully calibrated and uniform A-to-F scale combined with keywords and short qualitative definitions. Each institution makes its own decision on how to apply the ECTS grading scale to its system.

Student Loans

There are only a few private schools in Sweden with tuition fees. So, the majority of all schools are either public schools or so-called Independent schools (private schools publicly funded (Charter schools)). These schools, from elementary school up to college and university, are free of charge. Lunch is included from Elementary school and through Gymnasium (Senior High School in the US). However, even if there are no tuition fees there are still costs to be covered for students at colleges and universities, such as lodging, student literatures and food. Swedish students receive economic help from the Swedish National Board of Student Aid (CSN) for studying. Every student is entitled to 12 semesters of allowances and student loans. Allowances are usually 699 SEK per week (June 2016: 75 EUR; 84 USD; 58 GBP) with loans covering the rest. The limits for loans and allowances may be substantially increased under certain circumstances.

Dormitories

University campuses have a number of dorms for the students. There are no tuition fees at Swedish universities and colleges, but students must pay a fee for their lodging at the dorms. Since the 1960s the dorms have been mixed, i.e. male and female students living in the same dorms. Swedish dorms normally have single rooms, i.e. students do not have to share rooms. The students have their rooms in hallways sharing a kitchen between them.

Friskolor - Independent Schools

Prior to the 1990s, there were only a handful of private schools in Sweden, mostly tuition-funded boarding schools, whereof Sigtunaskolan and Lundsbergs skola are the most well-known. A major education reform in 1992 allowed privately run schools offering primary or secondary education to receive public funding for each student, at a level similar to what public schools receive. These are called "independent schools" (Friskolor), and in 2008 there were around 900 of them. The "independent schools", similar to charter schools in the United States or academies in the United Kingdom, are funded with public money (skolpeng) from the local municipality, based on the number of pupils they have enrolled, in the same way Swedish public schools are. Consequently, they are not allowed to discriminate or require admission examinations, nor are they allowed to charge the students any additional fees. They are, however, allowed to accept private donations. Anyone can start an independent for-profit school, or a chain of such schools, in Sweden. Many of them offer an alternate pedagogy (such as Montessori), or a foreign/international, religious or special needs (such as hearing-impaired) profile. There are also several secondary schools with an elite sports profile. Internationella Engelska Skolan and Kunskapsskolan are the two largest "independent school" chains. In 2008, more than 10% of Swedish pupils were enrolled in "independent schools". More about private and independent schools in Sweden.

Summary Education in Sweden 2018

The Swedish Nine-year Compulsory School (Grundskola) basically corresponds to Elementary School plus Junior High School in the US. The Swedish Gymnasium roughly corresponds to Senior High School in the US. The correct term in English for the Swedish Högskola is University College. In a number of countries, a university college is a college institution that provides tertiary education but does not have full or independent university status. A university college is often part of a larger university.
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History Hans Högman
Copyright © Hans Högman 2018-05-17

Introduction

Early School Systems

The first educational institutions were organized by the monasteries and the education was carried out by the Medieval Convent schools. During the Middle Ages all teaching was done in the Latin language. Teaching in Swedish didn’t begin until the 1500s after the Reformation. From Medieval times there has been, at every cathedral in Sweden, a Cathedral School (Swe: Domskola or Katedralskola) and its primary task was to teach young men to become clergymen. The Cathedral schools had 4 grades followed by a 2- year theological seminary.

1600s

A school system called “Gymnasium” was introduced in Sweden in 1626. The former cathedral schools were later reorganized into so-called trivial schools (Swe: Trivialskola). Trivial schools were the second grade of education in the 1649 school reform of Queen Christina. First grade was Pedagogium, followed by Trivial school and Gymnasium (4-years). Education in Trivial schools was given in three subjects; grammar including Latin and Greek, rhetoric and dialectic. The school lasted for eight years, having four two-year classes. The Trivial schools were replaced by the so-called Realskola in 1905. The nobility and aristocrats had their children educated privately, often by hiring tutors and governesses teaching the children at respective aristocrat’s landed estate. From 1686 the parish clergy were responsible for organizing local primary education of the children in the parish. This education was primary focused on Christianity (religious instructions) based on the Lutheran faith of Church of Sweden. The parish minister held annually an examination with each household called Household Examination  (Husförhör), with adults as well as children, and the result was noted in the parish Household Examination Roll (Husförhörsrulla). Teaching the children to read was responsibility of the parish clerk (Klockare). The ability to read was therefore generally high in Sweden.

Gymnasium

As mentioned above, the Gymnasium schools were established in the Cathedral cities in the 1620s. The first Gymnasium was founded in Västerås in 1623. In the school reform of 1649 the Swedish school system was divided into 3 stages; Trivial schools, Gymnasium and Universities (Academies). The Trivial school and the Gymnasium lasted each for 4- years, in total 8 years. A new school reform was made in 1693. In this reform there was a requirement for higher education; it was stated that all students had to pass a proficiency test before they could begin studies at a university. This was the first form of student examinations in Sweden. In other words, the students had to pass an examination before they could enter university studies.

1700s

The School Reform of 1724 strengthened the position of writing and arithmetic. This was done by introducing a parallel grade called Apologistklass (Arithmetic classes). These classes were intended for sons of businessmen and tradesmen who planned to enter higher education later. These classes were predecessor to the so-called Realskola. Geography and cartography were other topics introduced in this reform. The work of professor Carl von Linné made natural science more popular to study. This reform also emphasized education in the Swedish language. The school reform also had a section emphasizing the parental obligation to give their children a proper education. In the beginning of the 1700s special boarding schools for girls were introduced where they were taught French and sewing. These institutions weren’t really classified as schools since they weren’t divided into classes. These “schools” were foremost for upper class girls. The first proper girls’ school was established in 1786. The Realskola was introduced in Sweden in 1767. This was a type of secondary school.

1800s

In 1807 there was yet another school reform. The importance of Latin as the major language of education was now over. Instead German and French became new important languages. Already in 1820 there was another school reform. The importance of arithmetic increased and these classes were now separated from the Gymnasium. In 1828 it was suggested that the Gymnasium was to be divided into two separate study programs; Classic and Modern. However, this didn’t become a reality until 1849. The Classic program became the main program and Modern program an alternative program. The two programs of the Gymnasium were  now collectively named Läroverk. Studies at Läroverk ended in a examination called Studentexamén. The two programs were in 1856 renamed to: Latinlinjen (Arts program) respectively Reallinjen (Natural Science program). In 1878 the Läroverk were split into two types: Högre Läroverk with a 9-year education including an examination and Lägre Läroverk with 3 to 5 year long education without an exam. Higher education for girls became more common during the 1800s. At the end of the 1800s Coeducational schools (Swe: Samskola) were introduced; i.e. schools where both boys and girls studied together. The first coeducational school was Palmgrenska Samskolan established in 1876.  The school system was supervised by the Government School Inspection.

1900s

In 1905 Läroverket was reorganized into a lower stage called Realskola lasting for 6-years and a higher stage called Gymnasium lasting for 4-years. The Realskola ended in an exam called Realexamen and the Gymnasium in an exam called Studentexamen. The Gymnasium was a continuation of the 5th grade of the Realskola. From1905 girls were admitted to study at Läroverk. In the 1920s they were also allowed to study at Gymnasium schools. The image is from Kristinaskolan, a boys’ school, Linköping in 1922. The name of the teacher is Torsten Westberg. Free image Wikipedia.

Folkskolan - Elementary School of

1842

In 1842 an important bill was passed in the Swedish Parliament called Folkskolestadgan (The Elementary School Statute). This was the introduction of a universal Elementary school in Sweden. Every local government (socken) in Sweden was obliged to establish at least one permanent school. This new school was called Folkskola and had to have a qualified teacher employed. The Folkskola had no specific grades; there could be pupils of different ages in the same class. However, there were very little interest among the peasantry to send their children to school; The children were needed at home working on the homestead. Wealthy farmers and land proprietors continued with private tutors at home and had no interest in sending their children to the parish school. So, the get the bill accepted the Government didn’t make the Folkskola a compulsory school. The image to the right shows a classroom from circa 1850 in Linköping. Fresh pupils were at first taught to write in wet sand which was kept in the classrooms. Thereafter they used school slates as well as quills and paper. At this point the pupils were seated at long desks on benches without backrests. Photo Hans Högman 2004, Old Linköping. Compulsory school attendance However, in 1882 School reform the Folkskola was made a compulsory school. So, from 1882 children were obliged to attend school. In 1878, the Folkskola received its first national curriculum and the school then lasted for 6-years. The Folkskola was foremost located in the country side. In towns and cities there were the Småskola (Junior school) which was a parallel school to the Folkskola. In 1919 the Folkskola and the Småskola was consolidated into the new Folkskola which lasted for 6-years. The image to the right shows a classroom from circa 1890 in Linköping. The pupils were now seated at desks two and two. Photo Hans Högman 2004, Old Linköping. In 1937 the Folskola was reformed and lasted now for 7-years. In 1941 English was made the first foreign language in the Folkskola. A new reform of the Folkskola was made in the 1950s and now it lasted for 8-years.

Folkskollärare - Elementary School Teachers

Between 1842 and 1968 a folkskollärare was a teacher in the Elementary school. These teachers were divided into småskolelärare and folkskollärare. Småskollärare was foremost women teaching grades 1- 2 (from 1940 also grade 3). To teach from grade 3 the teacher had to be qualified, i.e. have an exam, folkskolärarexamen. The image to the right shows a classroom from circa 1915 in Linköping. Photo Hans Högman 2004, Old Linköping. An Elementary school (Primary school in the UK) is a school in which children receive primary or elementary education from the age of about five to twelve, coming after preschool and before secondary school.

Parallel schools

From the introduction of the Folkskola in the 1842 Elementary School Act, Sweden has had several parallel school systems with similar education and examinations. The Folkskola and the Läroverk were in the beginning examples of two such parallel schools. These parallel schools made the school system difficult to overview. There was a need of a uniform school system (Swe: Enhetsskola).

Secondary education, Högre Allmänna

Läroverket

After three years in the Folkskola, children who enjoyed school and had good grades could choose to switch to a secondary school called "Högre Allmänna Läroverket". Högre Allmänna Läroverket was not free, so most students came from well-off families. However, some children with good grades were granted free education at Högre Allmänna Läroverket when their parents could not afford to pay the tuition fees.  In 1905, Högre Allmänna Läroverket was divided into a lower level, 6-year school called "Realskola" and a higher level, 4-year school called "Gymnasium".

Flickskolan - Girls’ School

A Girls’ school is a school were the students exclusively are girls. These schools are primarily secondary schools. The first girls’ school in Sweden was Herrnhutiska Brödraförsamlingen, Gothenburg, established in 1786. Other early girls’ schools were Wallinska Skolan  in Stockholm (1831) with Gymnasium from 1874 and Kjellbergska in Gothenburg (1836) with a schoolmistress seminar (lärarinneseminarium) from 1908. A number of girls’ schools were established in the 1850s. In 1861 the Upper Schoolmistress Seminar (Högre lärarinneseminariet (HSL)) was established in Stockholm. The Image shows the Prayer Hall, Wallinska Skolan, in 1908. Free image Wikipedia. The girls’ schools were private schools, existed in cities only and had a typical middle-class profile. The schools had relatively high tuition fees and the students had to pass a proficiency test to be admitted. From 1874 the girls’ school were partially funded by the government. In the 1900s the society took a better responsibility for girls’ education and the need for special girls’ schools lessened. There was in the 1900s also an idea that all education should be co-educational which made girls’ schools obsolete. Disestablishment of the girl’s school began in 1956.

Grundskolan - Nine-year

compulsory school

Grundskolan introduced in 1962

In 1962 a bill was passed in Parliament and a new School was introduced, Grundskolan. Grundskolan replaced Folkskolan and lasted for 9-years; the Nine- year compulsory school. Grundskolan is a comprehensive school. Compulsory education refers to a period of education that is required of all people and is imposed by government. The Swedish compulsory school attendance  embraces ages 7 to 16 in Grundskolan. So, it is compulsory to attend school from the age of seven. Compulsory school attendance includes everyone living in Sweden independent of citizenship. In the UK compulsory school attendance embraces ages 5 to 18. In the US compulsory school attendance embraces ages 5 -8 to 15-18. However, ages vary between states. Beginning age varies 5-8, ending age varies 15-18.

Grundskolan is divided into three stages:

Lågstadiet - The primary school of the comprehensive school Lågstadiet (Primary school) in Sweden was the term used for grades 1 – 3 in the Nine-year compulsory school (grundskola) from 1949 to 1994. Since 2017 this term is again the official name for grades 7 – 9. Mellanstadiet - The intermediate level of the comprehensive school Mellanstadiet (Intermediate school) in Sweden was the term used for grades 4 – 6 in the Nine- year compulsory school (grundskola) from 1949 to 1994. Högstadiet - The senior level of the comprehensive school Högstadiet (Senior school) in Sweden was the term used for grades 7 – 9 in the Nine-year compulsory school (grundskola) from 1949 to 1994. Since 2017 this term is again the official name for grades 7 – 9. Since 1994, these terms are no longer in official use, but are still used informally. However, in 2017 the terms were reinstated. After högstadiet, there is no compulsory school attendance. In the USA Junior High School basically corresponds to the Swedish högstadiet. Beside these three stages there is a Preschool: Förskoleklass – Preschool Class A Swedish förskoleklass is a voluntary school for children from at the age of 5 and 6. Local governments have a duty to offer förskoleklasser from the age of 6 but many offers förskoleklass from the age of 5. This preschool is often referred to as grade zero.

School Year

Sweden has two semesters, Fall semester and Spring semester and the school year begins in the end of August every year and lasts until the beginning of June the following year. School holidays are; Fall holidays, Christmas, Sport holidays in February, Easter and the long summer holidays (from beginning of June to the end of August).

Teachers

The Grundskola employed three new types of teachers depending at which stage they were teaching: Lågstadielärare Mellanstadielärare Högstadielärare The Lågstadielärare and the Mellanstadielärare are homeroom teachers while the högstadielärare are subject teachers. In lågstadiet and mellanstadiet students remain in one classroom throughout the school day, except for specialized programs such as physical education, library, music, and art classes. In högstadiet, students move to different classrooms for different subjects. English is the first foreign language in Swedish schools, then there is a choice of different languages as second and third foreign languages. The first foreign language is mandatory.

The History of the Swedish

School System

Fackskolan

In 1962 when the new Grundskola was established a continuation school called Fackskola also was established. The Fackskola was a preparatory vocational school to complement the Gymnasium (Senior High School) and lasted for 2-years. The Fackskola replaced the Realskola and the girls’ schools (Flickskolan) as a secondary school. In 1971, Fackskolan merged with Gymnasium and Yrkesskolan (Vocational school) to become the new "Gymnasiet".

Today’s Gymnasium - Upper

Secondary School

Gymnasiet (definite article, singular of gymnasium) was established in the 1600s. In 1856 a school reform replaced the Gymnasium with the new established Läroverk. In 1970 the Gymnasium was reintroduced and the Läroverk was disestablished. The gymnasium consists of three years, usually starting at the year the students are turning 16 years old after nine years of compulsory school. There are no tuition fees. In the USA Senior High School basically corresponds to the Swedish Gymnasiet. Gymnasiet is formally elective, although most attend it. Gymnasiet is divided into so-called "programs", i.e. different types of choices of educational focus. The two most common "programs" are "social science" (samhällsvetenskap) and "natural sciences" (naturvetenskap). The "programs" are further divided into orientations. There are currently seventeen different "national programs" (centrally defined program curricula) with between two and four centrally defined orientations. In addition, there are local programs and orientations, but most schools use the national programs. Since the fall semester of 2011, there are eighteen national programs, six college preparatory programs, and twelve vocational programs. The programs are divided into two general categories: preparatory and vocational. All programs give basic qualifications to attend a university, but preparatory programs typically satisfy more of the various special qualifications that are required to attend some university courses and programs. The courses that a student takes depending on program and orientation can be divided into four levels: core subjects, program-specific subjects, orientation subjects, and individually selected courses. Core courses are courses that everyone, regardless of program, must study to satisfy the requirements for a student degree. Program- specific courses are the additional courses that a student is required to take to fulfill the program requirements. To attend secondary school, the prospective student applies to attend a certain program at a certain school, competing for entrance based upon his/her elementary school grades. After Gymnasiet, students can apply to a university in order to receive a tertiary education. General academic degrees are offered by public universities and university colleges that tend to attract students on a regional basis. Besides general academic degrees, the higher education system in Sweden also provides a number of professional and vocational degrees in fields such as engineering, law and medicine.

Universitet - University

A university is an institution of higher education and research which awards academic degrees in various academic disciplines. Universities typically provide undergraduate education and postgraduate education. Universities in Sweden are predominantly funded by the state and free of charge for the students. There are no tuition fees. However, tuition fees for foreign students were introduced in 2005. Citizens of EU and EEA member states and citizens from Switzerland remain exempted from tuition fees in Sweden, and the amounts of public grants granted to promising foreign students was increased to offset some of the impact.

History

During the Middle Ages Swedish students were sent to Paris for higher education and later also to German universities. An early name of universities was Academies. Uppsala University, founded in 1477, is the oldest university in Sweden. Early universities in Sweden and its then foreign provinces: Uppsala University, founded in 1477 in the city of Uppsala, 50 km north of Stockholm. Dorpat University, founded in 1632 in today’s Estonia. Åbo University, founded in 1640 in the city of Åbo in today’s Finland. Lund University, founded in 1668 in Skåne province, southern Sweden. Greifwald University, founded in 1456 in Northern Germany, Swedish university from 1648 to 1815. So, in 1700 there were 5 universities in Sweden but in 1815 only two, Uppsala and Lund. Estonia was lost in 1721, Finland in 1809 and the last provinces in Germany in 1815. The early universities had four faculties; Faculty of the Arts (Humanities), Faculty of Theology, Faculty of Law and Faculty of Medicine. A Dean is the head of each faculty. A faculty is divided into sections and the sections into departments (Swe: Institution). Head of each department is a Perfect (Swe: Prefekt). The image shows the University Hall, Uppsala University. Photo David Castor. Free image Wikipedia. The office of The chancellor of the Swedish Universities and Colleges was established in 1852. In 1870 women were granted the right to take upper secondary school examinations and the right to study at medical faculties at universities (no other faculties at this time). Stockholm got its first college in 1878 and Gothenburg in 1891. These two colleges were soon developed into universities. However, they were not given the official status as universities until 1954 respectively 1960 (Stockholm University and Gothenburg University). Umeå University was established in 1965 and Linköping University in 1975. In 1990 the colleges in Karlstad, Örebro and Växjö were reorganized into universities.

Degrees

On 1 July 2007, a new higher education system went into effect in Sweden. Higher education became divided into three levels: Basic level (grundnivå) Advanced level (avancerad nivå) Doctoral level (forskarnivå) The new changes also included removing several professional / vocational degrees (yrkesexamina) as well as redefining other pre-existing degrees. Basic level (grundnivå) To be admitted to a program at the basic level, a student must complete an education at Gymnasium level or its equivalent. The degrees that can be obtained at the basic level are: University Diploma (Högskoleexamen), 2 years, 120 higher education credits (högskolepoäng) Degree of Bachelor (Kandidatexamen), 3 years, 180 higher education credits Advanced level (avancerad nivå) To be admitted to a program at the advanced level, a student must have obtained a 3-year Swedish degree at the basic level or a corresponding degree from another country or some corresponding qualification. The degrees that can be obtained at the advanced level are: Degree of Master (One year) (Magisterexamen), 1 year, 60 higher education credits Degree of Master (Two years) (Masterexamen), 2 years, 120 higher education credits Both degrees require completing a thesis. The Degree of Master (Two years), Master Exam, is a new degree that is intended to be closely linked to continuing education at the graduate level. Doctoral level (forskarnivå) To be admitted to a program at the doctoral level, a student must have obtained a Swedish degree at the advanced level or completed at least 4 years of full-time study with at least one year at the advanced level or a corresponding degree from another country or equivalent knowledge. The degrees that can be obtained at the doctoral level are: Degree of Licentiate (Licentiatexamen), 2 years, 120 higher education credits Degree of Doctor (PhD, Doktorsexamen), 4 years, 240 higher education credits Postgraduate academic titles are Docent Associate Professor) and Professor. Each department has an administrative officer, the Prefekt (Prefect), who often is a Docent.

Grading

Three sets of grades exist in Swedish universities and university colleges. Some universities have introduced a seven-grade scale (A-F, Fx), that is similar to the ECTS scale, but with a criterion- referenced grading instead of relative grading. The most common scale is a three-grade scale that consists of U (Underkänd in Swedish, Fail), G (Godkänd, Pass) and VG (Väl Godkänd, Pass with Distinction). In this set VG is the highest. The other grade set consists of (U, 3, 4, 5) where 5 is the highest. This grade set is normally given in courses within technical professional degrees. Finally, there are some courses, within two systems of grading, in which you can only get G (Pass) or U (Fail). For instance, for a one semester thesis (specialized level) in Computer Science for a Master's degree at some institutions one can only get the grade G (Pass) or Fail, while for an equivalent thesis at other institutions one can also receive the grade VG. The ECTS grading scale The ECTS grading scale is a grading system defined in the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) framework by the European Commission. Since many grading systems co-exist in Europe and, considering that interpretation of grades varies considerably from one country to another, if not from one institution to another, the ECTS grading scale has been developed to provide a common measure and facilitate the transfer of students and their grades between European higher education institutions, by allowing national and local grading systems to be interchangeable. Grades are reported on a carefully calibrated and uniform A-to-F scale combined with keywords and short qualitative definitions. Each institution makes its own decision on how to apply the ECTS grading scale to its system.

Student Loans

There are only a few private schools in Sweden with tuition fees. So, the majority of all schools are either public schools or so-called Independent schools (private schools publicly funded (Charter schools)). These schools, from elementary school up to college and university, are free of charge. Lunch is included from Elementary school and through Gymnasium (Senior High School in the US). However, even if there are no tuition fees there are still costs to be covered for students at colleges and universities, such as lodging, student literatures and food. Swedish students receive economic help from the Swedish National Board of Student Aid (CSN) for studying. Every student is entitled to 12 semesters of allowances and student loans. Allowances are usually 699 SEK per week (June 2016: 75 EUR; 84 USD; 58 GBP) with loans covering the rest. The limits for loans and allowances may be substantially increased under certain circumstances.

Dormitories

University campuses have a number of dorms for the students. There are no tuition fees at Swedish universities and colleges, but students must pay a fee for their lodging at the dorms. Since the 1960s the dorms have been mixed, i.e. male and female students living in the same dorms. Swedish dorms normally have single rooms, i.e. students do not have to share rooms. The students have their rooms in hallways sharing a kitchen between them.

Friskolor - Independent Schools

Prior to the 1990s, there were only a handful of private schools in Sweden, mostly tuition-funded boarding schools, whereof Sigtunaskolan and Lundsbergs skola are the most well-known. A major education reform in 1992 allowed privately run schools offering primary or secondary education to receive public funding for each student, at a level similar to what public schools receive. These are called "independent schools" (Friskolor), and in 2008 there were around 900 of them. The "independent schools", similar to charter schools in the United States or academies in the United Kingdom, are funded with public money (skolpeng) from the local municipality, based on the number of pupils they have enrolled, in the same way Swedish public schools are. Consequently, they are not allowed to discriminate or require admission examinations, nor are they allowed to charge the students any additional fees. They are, however, allowed to accept private donations. Anyone can start an independent for-profit school, or a chain of such schools, in Sweden. Many of them offer an alternate pedagogy (such as Montessori), or a foreign/international, religious or special needs (such as hearing-impaired) profile. There are also several secondary schools with an elite sports profile. Internationella Engelska Skolan  and Kunskapsskolan are the two largest "independent school" chains. In 2008, more than 10% of Swedish pupils were enrolled in "independent schools". More about private and independent schools in Sweden.

Summary Education in Sweden

2018

The Swedish Nine-year Compulsory School (Grundskola) basically corresponds to Elementary School plus Junior High School in the US. The Swedish Gymnasium roughly corresponds to Senior High School in the US. The correct term in English for the Swedish Högskola is University College. In a number of countries, a university college is a college institution that provides tertiary education but does not have full or independent university status. A university college is often part of a larger university.

Source References

Wikipedia Nationalencyklopedin, NE (Swedish National Encyclopedia) Private and independent schools in Sweden This article in Swedish Top of page