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Sweden

Preprimary & Primary Education


Childcare, Preschool, & Nursery Schools: Sweden's push for educational reforms has included childcare and nursery schools since 1998. The state delegated responsibility for their supervision to the National Agency for Education (NAE). The NAE oversees childcare, including preschool children and nursery schools. The state also provides after-school childcare sites that look after children younger than seven years old, while their parents are at work or pursuing educational opportunities. The last state regulations for activities in after-school care were written in 1998.

Local constituencies follow goals for childcare and preschools established by the Swedish Parliament, the Riksdag. Thus, even allowing for individual needs of one locale from another, the government requires certain goals and procedures that remain consistent throughout the state. Responsibility for carrying out those objectives falls directly upon the National Agency for Education. To ensure future reforms and continuous updating as technology changes and new educational theories are considered, the NAE also is responsible for educational research and development.


Primary Education: In the seventeenth century, following Gustav Adolphus' attempts to improve and expand university education in Sweden, the nation imposed a sense of civic responsibility on local communities, asking them to provide elementary education for the well being of the citizenry. Church law limited the focus of the curriculum to reading and religious instruction, the purpose being more to elevate or save the souls of children than to elevate their minds. In 1842, the voluntary aspect of education was removed, and law introduced compulsory education. From that time, the curriculum became more expansive, and the focus no longer was on Bible readings by 1870, but on a broad range of academic subjects.

Compulsory primary education was established in 1842 for the earliest grades. One hundred years later, reformers worked to expand compulsory education to the age of 16. Since 1972-1973, primary education became compulsory for the first nine years of schooling, encompassing all of primary school and the first two years of secondary education. Some children begin primary school at age six, but it is only compulsory at age seven. The Education Act allows parents to choose either a public or private school for their children's compulsory stay in school.


Additional topics

Education Encyclopedia - StateUniversity.comGlobal Education ReferenceSweden - History Background, Constitutional Legal Foundations, Educational System—overview, Preprimary Primary Education, Secondary Education