Sweden’s school and education system

07. October 2019.


  • Is for children from 1 to 5 years
  • 8/10 children at this age spend a few days of the week there
  • The importance of playing in a child’s development and learning is emphasized
  • The interests and needs of children are also key components of their education in the preschool curriculum
  • Gender-aware education is increasingly common in Swedish preschools
  • The aim is for children to have the same opportunities in life, regardless of gender


All children are offered a place in kindergarten starting in the autumn when they turn 6 until they start compulsory schooling. Kindergarten is designed to stimulate each child’s development and to provide a platform for their future schooling.

Primary and secondary schools

The Scandinavian model of education is special in the following – there is no organizational difference between primary and lower secondary education. The compulsory elementary school in Scandinavia lasts 9 years. Students go to first grade at the age of 7. At the age of sixteen, students move from lower to upper secondary schools based on their demonstrated success in lower secondary school. Primary school is free, which means that education, as well as school transportation, teaching aids, school supplies (pens, notebooks) and even food, are free. The only thing that has to be paid, but at a reduced amount, are school trips.

Classes are held only in the morning shift, and there is no Religion class in primary schools. Students are required to be independent, to research and to work on projects of their choice. In fifth grade, for example, they learn how to make a presentation. In seventh grade, students assemble electrical circuits independently. By the end of elementary school, all students must know how to cook, sew, swim, and play one instrument. Grades are earned at the end of second, fifth, seventh and ninth grades. They are expressed in letters, G means sufficient, VG is very good and MVG is excellent. If the assessment requirements are not sufficient, then a written explanation is given.

It is important to emphasize that in Scandinavia, the proper development of children, as they learn and go to school, is of high importance. Physical education classes are very important and students must spend a minimum of 20% of their time doing PE, which means that they have at least twice a week PE classes. It is a must to learn how to swim(there is a swimming class at least once a week) and techniques are valued. At the end of high school, each student must be able to swim 400 meters, independently. At the end of the ninth grade, students take a state/final exam in three subjects: Swedish, English, and math. You have to get at least 10 points (or more) of a total of 20, in order to receive the high school diploma.

Secondary schools are divided into vocational schools and high schools. High school students can choose from several different programs, ie what they want to focus on (economics, art ..). There are 17 courses and two are “general”, which prepare high school students for university. Compulsory subjects are Mathematics, English, Swedish, Art, Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, Religion, and Physical.

If you like how the school system works in Sweden and are interested in living in this nordic country, feel free to contact us and we will provide you with additional information on how you can get a job in Sweden.
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