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Sweden Education Facts


As of 2018, compulsory schooling applies from six years of age and includes one year in preschool class and nine years of primary school. The right to preschool applies from one year of age and the vast majority of children go to preschool for several years. Almost everyone goes on to high school after elementary school.

General public school was introduced in 1842, when each parish was obliged to hold at least one school. Six-year school duty for the children was established in 1882, and it was gradually increased. A uniform nine-year elementary school was fully introduced in the academic year 1972/73 according to a decision ten years earlier. In 1998, all six-year-olds were given a preparatory school year, which has now become compulsory.

  • COUNTRYAAH: Country facts of Sweden, including geography profile, population statistics, and business data.

Most primary and secondary schools are run by the municipal authorities. The state defines the objectives and stands for evaluation. Following a reform in 1991, there is also a growing number of independent schools – free schools – which, like the municipalities, are tax-financed and fee-free. Just over four were high school students and 15 percent of the elementary school students attended a free school the academic year 2018/2019.

After several years of alarms about deteriorating quality of education and pupils with poor results, in 2010 a new school law was adopted which aims, among other things, to increase the focus on knowledge in teaching. Requirements increased for competent personnel, more comparative knowledge measurements were introduced and free schools were given the same regulations as municipal schools. A new rating scale was introduced, as were grades from the sixth grade instead of as before from the eighth grade. The high school received six university preparatory programs and twelve vocational programs. Previously, all programs gave basic college admission, although some were essentially vocational preparatory.

Two thirds of young people complete upper secondary school in three years. Nearly half of those who have left high school continue their education at one of the country’s colleges. Significantly more women than men read at college. The number of university institutions with the status of universities has increased in recent years. Today there are 15 state universities and two private, as well as some 30 colleges. Uppsala University, founded in 1477, is usually regarded as the country’s oldest, even though Lund (in what was then Denmark) had a college education somewhat earlier.

Adult education has old traditions in Sweden. Public colleges are run by popular movements, organizations or regions (former county councils). There is also municipal adult education (Komvux), at primary and secondary level.

  • Educationvv: Provides school and education information in Sweden, covering middle school, high school and college education.


Proportion of children starting primary school

99.4 percent (2016)

Number of pupils per teacher in primary school

12 (2016)

Public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP

15.5 percent (2015)

Public expenditure on education as a percentage of the state budget

15.5 percent (2015)



Wallström not welcome in Israel

December 16th

No Israeli government representative is interested in meeting Foreign Minister Margot Wallström when she visits the region. In Palestinian self-government, she is all the more welcome and both President Mahmoud Abbas and Foreign Minister Riad Malki receive in Ramallah.

SD excludes the MP

December 5

Anna Hagwall becomes politically savage in Parliament after the party has excluded her because of statements that are described as anti-Semitic and which are considered to have harmed the party. Hagwall suggested in a motion that the press subsidy be abolished to reduce the Bonnier Group’s power.


The EU extends border controls

November 11

The EU gives a clear sign for Sweden to keep border controls for another three months, despite the earlier statement that they would be abandoned by New Year. Denmark, Norway, Germany and Austria have also introduced border controls.


Raoul Wallenberg is pronounced dead

October 31st

Diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who was captured by the Soviet Union at the end of World War II and then disappeared was declared dead, 71 years later. Wallenberg saved thousands of Jews’ lives in Budapest before being taken away by the Russians. The Soviet Union has stated that Wallenberg died in a prison in Moscow in 1947, but the task has been called into question. Now Wallenberg’s family has nevertheless requested that the Swedish Tax Agency declare him dead. Raoul Wallenberg was born in 1912.

Pope’s visit to Lund

October 31st

Pope Francis participates in an ecumenical service celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation, at the cathedral in Lund. It is the first time in 27 years that a pope is visiting Sweden.

The leaves of Saudi Arabia

October 23

The prime minister is visiting Saudi Arabia together with a business delegation. He arouses criticism when he avoids using the word “dictatorship” and talks about the woman’s position slowly getting better in the country. He himself says in a comment that “the order is restored” regarding the previous diplomatic crisis between the countries (see March 2015).


Telia is required for billion in bribes

September 14

Authorities in the US and the Netherlands demand SEK 12 billion in settlement from the telecom giant because of “unethical behavior” when the company established itself in Uzbekistan (see also September 2015).


US Vice President visiting

August 25th

US Vice President Joe Biden meets with Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and other representatives of the government and commends Sweden for the generous refugee reception. He also warns of allowing Russia to build a new gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea – a message that assessors believe is the main reason for the visit.

Thread crime in focus

22 August

A debate about gang crime intensifies when an eight-year-old boy is killed by a hand grenade in an apartment in Biskopsgården in Gothenburg. A man written in the apartment is one of eight who was sentenced earlier this month to between seven years and life imprisonment for interfering in an acclaimed shooting drama at a restaurant in March 2015, when two people were killed and eight injured.

Turkish protest against Wallström

August 15th

Turkey calls itself Sweden’s chargé d’affaires in Ankara after Foreign Minister Margot Wallström tweeted that Turkey should have decided to legalize sex with children under 15 years. The background is a ruling in Turkey’s highest court that has raised protests in several places.

Minister resigns after steering wheel

August 13th

High School and Knowledge Lift Minister Aida Hadzialic is leaving the government after she was found to have 0.2 per cup of alcohol in her blood in a sobriety check, which is the limit for drunk driving. Hadzialic was the youngest minister to date in Sweden when she took office in 2014. She is later replaced by Anna Ekström.


Scandal within the OAG

July 11

Misunderstandings with, among other things, corruption of friendship cause the anti-corruption agency Transparency International to demand that all the national auditors resign. One of them has already left her post, after it was revealed that she promised high-profile services to acquaintances before they were advertised, and tailored the job ads for them. The OAG is a government agency with the task of examining how government funds are managed.

Vattenfall is authorized to sell lignite operations

July 2

The government decides that the state-owned energy company may sell its lignite operations in Germany. This is a contentious decision as the business already causes greater carbon dioxide emissions per year than the total emissions in Sweden and sales can mean increased coal mining. According to Vattenfall’s owner directive, adopted by the Riksdag 2010, the company must be a leader in climate change and it must not open new lignite mines, which a new owner can do. At the same time, the Government is launching a so-called emission brake, which means that Sweden will buy emission rights that are then not used. Sales must be approved by the European Commission.


Sweden gets a coveted UN place

June 28

When the General Assembly votes on which countries will sit in the Security Council in 2017–2018, Sweden secures one of the two seats that are important for the Western European Group already in the first vote, with 134 of 193 votes. This means a success for the government, which according to critics in the opposition has run a campaign in which dictatorships have eroded cohesion and excessive resources have been invested.

Strict asylum laws are adopted

21 June

The Riksdag approves a tightening of the asylum policy, which means that temporary residence permits become the norm instead of permanent ones. In order to obtain a permanent residence permit, jobs and self-sufficiency will usually be required. The law shall apply for three years. The proposal has received strong criticism but is adopted by a large majority.

Energy settlement across party boundaries

June 10th

The government and the opposition reach an agreement that is described as historic, with the goal that all electricity will be renewable by 2040. Despite there being no decision that nuclear power must be completely discontinued then, and previous decisions that existing reactors may be replaced remain. The decision also includes that the tax on nuclear power should be phased out gradually. At the same time, large investments are made in wind and hydro power.

Border checks until November

June 1st

Minister of the Interior Anders Ygeman says border checks will remain until 11 November, citing security being too low at the EU’s external borders. The EU approved extensions to the Scheng exceptions in May.


government reshuffle

May 25

Prime Minister Löfven, as announced, presents some changes to the government: Isabella Lövin, who has been a development minister since before, is also given responsibility for climate issues, and in addition becomes deputy prime minister after Åsa Romson. New in the government are Karolina Skog (MP) as Minister of the Environment, Ann Linde (S) who becomes Minister of Trade and EU and the former language speaker Peter Eriksson (MP) who becomes Minister of Housing and Digitization.

Rwandans convicted of genocide

May 16

A 61-year-old man from Rwanda, now a Swedish citizen, is sentenced to life imprisonment for genocide and serious international crimes in his home country in 1994. He is also sentenced to pay damages to survivors for a total of SEK 855,000. This is the first time such damages are awarded in Sweden. See also June 2013.

MP chooses language tubes

May 13th

The party congress elects Gustav Fridolin, but Åsa Romson is replaced by Isabella Lövin, in accordance with the nomination committee’s proposal.

Strict punishment for convicted Syrians

May 11

A previously convicted man gets the sentence sharpened to seven years and life imprisonment, since Södertörn’s district court reversed the trial. The man is convicted of torture-like abuse but is now freed from international law. He will also pay more than SEK 260,000 in damages to the victim. The High Court reiterated the case for re-trial after the victim of the abuse was identified (see February 2015).


Fi leaders jump off

April 27

Sissela Nordling Blanco leaves as party leader and member of the party board in the Feminist initiative. She continues as group leader in Stockholm City Hall. See February 2015.

Storm within MP

April 25

The party’s two language tubes Gustav Fridolin and Åsa Romson make their seats available for the upcoming congress. After Kaplan’s departure, it has been turbulent in the party since a proposed member of the party board refused to take a female reporter in hand, citing his Muslim faith.

The Minister of Housing resigns

April 18

Mehmet Kaplan from the Environment Party had been criticized in the media and by the opposition for being at the same dinner as a representative who is said to have links with the right-wing Turkish organization the Gray Wolves. It was then discovered that in 2009, he had likened Israel’s actions toward Palestinians to the treatment of Jews by the Nazis, which led to increased criticism of him.

Telia Sonera becomes Telia Company

April 12

The Group changes its name to try to improve the brand, among other things after the corruption scandals in Eurasia (see also September 2015).

Terrorist suspected Swedish arrest in Brussels

April 9

Belgian police seize 23-year-old Osama Krayem from Malmö, suspected of involvement in the suicide attack in the Belgian capital on March 22, which claimed over 30 people’s lives. Krayem is arrested at the same time as several others who are also suspected to have been involved in the attacks in Paris on November 13, 2015, when over 130 people were killed.


New lowering of the repo rate

February 11

The Riksbank lowers the repo rate another step, now from -0.35 to -0.50 percent (see also February 2015).


Western Sahara is not recognized

January 15

Sweden will not recognize Western Sahara, the government announces. The issue has been on the agenda since the Social Democrats in 2012 – then in opposition – voted to recognize the territory occupied by Morocco. Relations with Morocco have been tense due to concerns in Rabat that a recognition was imminent. No EU country has yet recognized Western Sahara.

Wallström and Kommunal in windy weather

January 15

It is storming around Margot Wallström and above all the Municipal when it emerges that the Foreign Minister has been given a rental apartment in Stockholm’s inner city through the trade union. Wallström says she felt cheated when she got guarantees that the union followed the practice of housing queue. Many members leave Municipal and resignation requirements are raised by Chairman Anneli Nordström. She leaves a few days later.

Wallström not welcome in Israel

January 12

The message from the Israeli Foreign Ministry has since the Foreign Minister called for an independent investigation of the more than 150 cases where Palestinians have been killed by security forces or private individuals over the past three months. The reason is suspicion that Israel is using disproportionate violence. Israel’s position is that all were killed in connection with attempts to attack and kill Israelis. A wave of acts of violence against Israelis has claimed the lives of 26 Israelis during the period.

Sweden faces border controls

January 4th

The new rules, which are an exception to the EU Schengen rules, mean that travelers across the Öresund Bridge must show identification. Train passengers are forced to disembark in Copenhagen to show ID and change platform. The upset is great in the Malmö region where many commute across the strait.

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