A stitched panorama of an old school in the swedish city of Helsingborg.

Education in Sweden

From the age of 6 all children are entitled to be admitted into pre-school class, known as förskola in Swedish. This introduces children into their formal compulsory schooling.

Education for children is compulsory in Sweden, from age 7 into teens years, including the year the child turns 16. After that a child may leave formal education. During these years of a pupil’s life, there is attendance at compulsory comprehensive schools in three stages.

Every school year begins in mid to late August, there is the customarily mid-December to early January break. This is to divide the year but to also allow family celebrations of the festive season. Then all school years end in early to mid-July.

Home schooling is tightly regulated by government and is quite minor in comparison to some other countries.

Most schools in the country are municipality schools, in the sense that they are operated by the local municipality. There are also autonomous and publically funded schools, which are also referred to as free schools. Municipal and free schools share much of the same objectives, yet their orientation may differ.

Upper secondary schools and universities are funded by tax. A small number of boarding schools or private schools are privately funded. It is also possible to start up and operate independent for profit schools. The particular school may cater for special requirements such as for the deaf or particular religion. This is an economical viable way of gaining more funding for the cost of the education of the nation.

The following is the general path a Swede may progress along during life:
Aged 1 to 5 – Pre-school provides all young children’s development needs of stimulation and adult supervision.
Age 6 – This is when any child can attend a pre-school class, for a year in preparation for mandatory school.
Age 7 to 16 – This is the mandatory period for all children to attend primary school. It consists of grade 1 to 9, a total of 9 years since 1972. It is compulsory that all pupils aged 12 to 15 learn and have classes in English, Swedish, foreign language, math, NO (physics, chemistry, biology, technology), SO (social studies, history, religion, geography), physical education, art, music, carpentry or sewing and home economics. The grading system is A, B, C, D and E from highest to lowest passing grades. F is awarded for failure.
Age 16 to 19 – This is the time for upper secondary school, also known as the education of Gymnasieutbildning. This is a tertiary school that teachs a pupil over three years. It is a type of university college. These three years are designed to prepare the teenager for higher education or have vocational teachings. Some students though do these studies for four years or more. When a student has opted to do the vocational education, he or she must do at least 15 weeks workplace training as part of their studies.
For 2 to 5 years – there may be attendance in higher education in undergraduate &graduate/master's level, at university colleges or universities. This will enable the student to progress to postgraduate programmes at university (or university colleges permitted to do research in the studied field) in the doctorate level. This form of education is free for Swedish, EU/EEA and Swiss citizens.