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Education Structure of Sweden

With its emphasis on self-governing studies, Sweden is ranked among the world best leaders in education. The teaching model directed at Swedish universities and university colleges is based on the aphorism ‘freedom with responsibility’. This means that students have rather less teacher-led time than is usual elsewhere, essentially taking up their studies in groups or on their own.
The Swedish education system encompasses several different schooling and education, designed for students of different age groups and with differing abilities and requirements.

In Sweden, attending school is compulsory for all children aged 7-16. The age when children may begin school is flexible: a child can start going to school at the age of 6, 7 or 8 years. Compulsory school is free of cost. The same standard of education is to be provided throughout the country and is to provide a platform for further studies.

The school (academic) year begins at the end of August and runs to the beginning of June the subsequent year, encompassing a total of around 40 weeks. The regular school week is five days long, Monday through Friday. A longer holiday on account of Christmas is taken from around the 20th December to the beginning of January. Homeschooling is also closely supervised by the government and very limited.

The structure of education in Sweden comprises Pre-School, Primary and Lower Secondary School, Upper-Secondary Education, Vocational & Education Training, and Higher Education. 

Pre-School Education in Sweden

The pre-school system is intended for children from the age of one until they start in pre-school class or compulsory school. Pre-school takes a holistic view of children and their needs and is designed so that; care, development, and learning come together to form a whole.

Primary and Lower Secondary School in Sweden

Compulsory schooling starts at the age of seven. It is mandatory for children to begin attending school at the age of six on parental application. 
9-year, standardised compulsory education is the compulsory form of schooling at primary level and at lower secondary level.
It has been divided into three different levels: lower level, intermediate level and upper level. Each level encompasses three school years. Only at upper level does some degree of differentiation takes place.

Age: 7 to 16
Type of school: Grundskola
Duration: 9 years
Award (Certificate/diploma): Slutbetyg Fran Grundskola

Upper Secondary Education

After students have finished lower secondary school with satisfactory score in Swedish, English, and mathematics, they are permitted to seek admission in upper secondary school, also known as senior high school or (gymnasieskola in Swedish). Upper secondary education is undertaken by students from 16 to 19 years of age, lasts for three years, and comprises two common categories: preparatory and vocational education. 
A lot of upper secondary schools offer special programmes for the accomplishment of basic, vocational qualifications. The final certificate corresponds to a higher education entrance qualification.

Age: 16 to 19
Type of school: Gymnasium
Duration: 3 years
Award (Certificate/diploma): Slutbetyg Fran Gymnasieskola

Vocational & Education Training

Vocational education and training mainly takes place in full-time school institutions at upper secondary level. Together with the study and vocationally familiarized upper secondary schools, there is beginner training, an amalgamation of teaching in the principal subjects offered at upper secondary school and a practical course of vocational education and training which takes place in-company. 

Higher Education in Sweden

The Swedish higher education system not only comprises the traditional university studies, but also gives importance to Health Care Training, Technical Training, Teacher Training,  and a lot more. All higher education institutions in Sweden fall under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education excluding the University of Agricultural Sciences which falls under the Ministry of Agriculture. Higher education has been divided into two different sections:

  • Undergraduate Studies
  • Postgraduate Studies and Research
Undergraduate Studies:
The undergraduate programs in Sweden have been divided into credits, i.e. the successful completion of an undergraduate programs depend upon the credit points that you score. One credit denotes one week of full-time study and hence one year usually stands for 40 credits. The Diploma (Hogskoleexamen) is awarded after the successful completion of two years' full-time education and as a minimum of 80 credit points. It is awarded by all universities and higher education institutions. The Bachelor's Degree (Kandidatexamen in Swedish) is conferred after the completion of three years' full-time study and score at least 120 credits. In the major subjects, the students are required to score at least 60 credits each (three terms) and also an independent special project of at least 10 credits.

Since 1 November 2001 there are two types of Masters  in Sweden (Magistersexamen):
  1. The Magisterexamen med amnesdjup is awarded after the completion of a four years' full-time study and should score atleast 160 credits. In the major subject, in-depth studies of at least 80 credits (four terms) are required, which includes an independent special project of at least 20 credits or two projects of at least 10 credits each.
  2. The Magisterexamen med amnesbredd requires at least 40 credits including an independent special project of at least 10 credits. The Magisterexamen med amnesbredd is awarded in addition to a degree of at least 120 points. Apart from the general academic degrees, there are some 60 professional degrees (Yrkesexamen in Swedish) which vary in length between 40 and 220 points, depending on field of study. It includes the degrees of the Bachelor of Education for the Compulsory School, Master of Science in Engineering or in Agriculture and Doctor of Medicine.
Postgraduate Studies and Research:
The postgraduate study in Sweden known as Licentiatexamen (Licenciate degree) includes (two years of study and research and a student is required to score 80 points including a research thesis. The completion of an undergraduate degree with at least 120 points, makes a student eligible to pursue his postgraduation and research.

Doctoral studies consist of independent research, reading and methodology courses, seminars and individual literature surveys. One’s thesis must describe an account for organization and results of research, that will be published and have to be publicly defended.

School Education

The Swedish school education system comprises of compulsory schooling and a range of other types of voluntary schooling like schools for the Saami people of the Northern part of Sweden and special compulsory schools for the mentally handicapped. Post-compulsory education is offered through 17 different National Programmes, which makes a student eligible to go further for higher education. The National Programmes of upper secondary learning are accessible at Gymnasia and bring about the honour of the Slutbetyg Fran Gymnasieskola in Swedish.

There also various state-supported adult education lasting between the age group of one and three years of education and there are no formal assessments for it. Post-secondary comprise advanced vocational training (Kvalificerad yrkesutbilding in Swedish) which is proposed to meet the labour market's needs for the skills essential for modern production of goods and services. About one-third of the course period takes place at the workplace. As from January 2002, this type of training is a permanent part of the Swedish educational system but does not belong to the higher education sector. Admission is according to the three-year upper secondary education or equivalent proficiency. The training is usually intended to epitomize two years of study and leads to a Certificate of Advanced Vocational Training (Kvalificerad yrkesexamen in Swedish).
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