Sweden has a well-established tradition of broad public education. Child care, compulsory school and upper secondary school lay the foundations for lifelong learning. The formal system has the task of bringing about equal recruitment and making the importance of social background less dominant. Adult education is one way of reducing existing education gaps and breaking the trend where people end up outside lifelong learning. Adult education has well-established traditions in Sweden. Apart from formal learning in the public education system, non-formal and informal learning take place both in working life and in private life. Policy is directed to supporting adult learning, and promoting the development of structures for coordination between different players supporting learning. The tools of labour market policy are an important part of state investments in lifelong learning.
Strategies for Lifelong Learning
The term ”lifelong learning” presupposes flexible learning pathways, individual awareness of the opportunities available and the demands to be imposed on different forms of education. Information and guidance are key issues. Other central issues concern follow-up and evaluation. Equivalence and gender equality remain unchanged as important goals of educational policy.
The principles of lifelong learning on which the Swedish education system is based are described in the document The Swedish strategy for lifelong learning. A summary of principles and orientations (May 2007). However, the principles discribed in the document have been applied for a considerable time and are not new, but remain relevant. Policy development in line with the principles described has continued. Quality is a key word, and this applies not least to the early stages in education where basic knowledge is a priority. In higher education, a priority is quality development through a new quality assurance system and a new system of resource allocation. In municipal adult education the possibilty to taylor education to the needs of the individual is strengthened. Curricula have been based on learning outcomes for many years. The Swedish Government’s overall EU priorities for 2015 include initiatives for high quality education that prepares all young people for their future professional lives and eases the transition between studies and working life, alongside initiatives for vocational education and training and lifelong learning.
National Qualifications Framework
Sweden has introduced a national qualifications framework in accordance with the European Parliament recommendation on a European Qualifications Framework for lifelong learning. Learners, graduates, education providers and employers can use the framework to understand and compare qualifications awarded in different countries and by different education and training systems. The Government determines which level of the national qualifications framework certain qualifications correspond to. It will be possible to apply for level assessment of other qualifications. It is the awarding body of a particular qualification that applies for level assessment, the awarding body will be charged for the level assessment. The framework was introduced 1 October 2015. The Swedish National Agency for Higher Vocational Education (Myndigheten för yrkeshögskolan) is the responsible authority. For more information see the National Qualifications Framework, (SeQF, Sveriges referensram för kvalifikationer).