Education Policies In Sweden Provide Good Educational Opportunities For All

One main concept for education in Sweden is that every child, no matter what their background is, should receive a free, high quality education. This begins with free preschool. Since 1998, age six preschool has been required for all students. The curriculum for Swedish preschools includes principles of solidarity, responsibility, equality and teaching of values, based on democratic principles.

Some children start at younger ages in supplemented day care when their parents are working or in school. Other preschool programs begin at ages four and five. Fees are minimal for age four and five preschool. Most parents are only charged a small, flat rate. First-rate education in Sweden is regarded as an important way for the country to always have a well-educated population.

Quality Education Begins In Preschool

A new preschool curriculum program went into effect in 1998, replacing the old preschool curriculum used since 1987. The new curriculum is based on a shared foundation of values. The curriculum then builds upon ideas that each child is capable of developing their own ideas and theories about things going on in the world. Each child also has innate abilities to explore the world around them and to formulate concepts in their own way. This is believed to help children develop self-confidence in their abilities.

Swedish education takes a holistic approach to educating the whole child by providing care for them. This helps foster a feeling of safety in their surroundings. Then, modern thinking is to concentrate on areas like developing skills, learning facts and critical thinking, along with curiosity led education.

School Reforms Introduced

Several reforms were introduced in the Swedish Education Act from 2011. Students are now allowed more choices about where they attend school and what they will learn. A new curricula was instituted in July of 2011 which created goals for students that were easier to understand. Goals included improvements in science classes, technology education, communications, language and mathematics. It also included mandatory testing for students during years three, six and nine of their required school attendance.

A new grading system also took effect, replacing an outdated pass and fail system. Other grades were given for those who either passed with high achievement or failed to pass. These grades were replaced with a system of issuing A through E as passing grades, with F as a failing grade. Today, teachers are also required to have professional certifications to help improve quality of education.

Free Schools Sought As A Way To Improve Educational Opportunities

To give all students better opportunity, regardless of economic status, free schools began in Sweden. This means schools that were once private now admit disadvantaged students and receive government subsidized funding for this. Funding equals what would have been spent on students in traditional schools.

Free schools can also receive extra donations. It's hoped this will help disadvantaged students by forcing schools to improve. Free schools follow a similar model to charter schools in the United States and it's believed that they'll raise academia levels.

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