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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
National reforms in school education


14.Ongoing reforms and policy developments

14.2National reforms in school education

Last update: 27 March 2024


Improved student health

Today's student health is not enough. Relevant support efforts are often introduced far too late and access to today's student health is often deficient and varies greatly between schools. Therefore, the government is now appointing a new investigation that will be tasked with developing proposals that will strengthen student health and the school's support efforts. 

A special investigator is set to analyze and propose how student health can be strengthened in order to better meet the students' needs. The regulations on support measures in schools must also be reviewed. It must, among other things, become easier to place students in smaller and flexible teaching groups. 

The assignment must be reported by March 7, 2025 at the latest. 

The investigator shall, among other things, 

  • analyze and take a position on what the mission and purpose of student health should be, 
  • suggest how student health's medical, psychological and psychosocial interventions can be strengthened, 
  • analyze and take a position on the appropriateness of the design of student health's current leadership and management, 
  • analyze and decide on alternative principals, 
  • propose a student health guarantee with the goal of achieving appropriate deadlines for receiving support and help from student health, 
  • analyze and propose how cooperation between student health, the school in general, health care and social services can be improved, 
  • propose how the work with support and special support can be improved and made more efficient, and 
  • submit the necessary legislative proposals.

For more information (in Swedish) and even more

A national study on anti-Semitism in the school system

Anti-Semitism is a growing problem in society which, among other things, affects children and young people. The Government commissions the Swedish National Agency for Education to carry out a national study on anti-Semitism in the school system in order to identify which problems and needs exist. 

The Government commissions the Swedish National Agency for Education to carry out a national study on anti-Semitism with the aim of investigating children's, pupils' and staff's experiences of contemporary anti-Semitic expressions, incidents and attitudes in the school system. The assignment also includes that the authority must describe how the school system works to counter anti-Semitism. The Swedish National Agency for Education must also provide examples of initiatives that contribute or have contributed to countering anti-Semitism in the school system. The assignment is to be partially reported no later than December 2, 2024, and a final report must be submitted no later than December 1, 2025.

For more information (in Swedish)

The Swedish National Agency for Education is tasked with surveying student absence

Student absenteeism is a big problem in schools today. At the same time, knowledge of the extent of absence is insufficient. The Government therefore commissions the Swedish National Agency for Education to survey student absenteeism. 

In November, the Government set up an inquiry which will come up with proposals for permanently improved safety and study tranquility at school. The inquiry's mandate includes submitting proposals for a national absence register. The government is already giving the National Board of Education the task of surveying student absences in the compulsory school forms. 

The assignment must be reported to the Ministry of Education by 20 December 2024 at the latest.

For more information (in Swedish)


School social teams to reduce long-term absence from school

Pupils with a high absence from school may find it difficult to meet the goals in education and thus run a greater risk of ending up in exclusion. In order to improve safety and study tranquility at school and to increase students' attendance at school, the government invests in school social teams. 

School social teams are a way for the school and social services to work together to strengthen the conditions for students to achieve the goals of education, create a calm and safe school environment and to increase student attendance at school. The government is introducing a new state grant to school principals for personnel costs in school social teams. The government also gives a joint task to the National Board of Education and the National Board of Health and Welfare to support school principals and social services when it comes to setting up and organizing their school social teams. The assignment also includes evaluating the effects of the investment.

For more information (in Swedish) 

The government appoints an investigation to stop grade inflation

Today, there are major problems with unequal grading in Swedish schools. The government is therefore setting up an investigation to look at how the grading system can be changed so that grading becomes more equal and legally secure.

The investigation must analyze and propose changes to the grading system and the merit evaluation system. The investigator will, among other things
  • analyze the pros and cons of the system for grading and merit evaluation in the Swedish school system in relation to other countries' systems
  • submit a main proposal, as well as an alternative proposal for a system change which means that results on national exams, degree exams, or the like, can be used to increase the equivalence of grades or merit values
  • submit proposals on how grade inflation and lack of equivalence in grading can be countered even in subjects that do not have national exams.

The assignment must be reported no later than February 21, 2025.

For more information (in Swedish) 

Proposal to move from municipal to state ownership

On December 22, 2020, the government decided on a committee directive on the conditions for state leadership of the school (dir. 2020:140). According to the directives, a special investigator must produce a decision-making basis that can create the conditions for state leadership for all forms of schooling except preschool and municipal adult education (komvux).

The government later assessed that there might also be other alternatives than the state becoming the owner of the schools, which strengthen the state's responsibility for the school system. The investigator was therefore made free to also present other alternatives than a state ownership. 

The investigator presentated the following two options in November 2022. 

Option 1 – a complete nationalization with state ownership of the schools

In this first alternative, the state has both system responsibility and owner responsibility. System responsibility includes both public schools and komvux as well as independent schools. This means, among other things, that the state takes over the municipalities' responsibility for the distribution of financial resources to the school.

Option 2 – a system where the state strengthens its responsibility but without taking over the ownership of the schools

In this second alternative, the municipalities still have the owner responsibility for the municipal schools and komvux. Independent schools still have individual owners and there is no change compared to today in terms of management and operational responsibility as well as the employer's responsibility for these.

In the same way as in the alternative of a complete nationalization, the state has system responsibility both for municipal schools and komvux as well as for independent schools. On the other hand, the system responsibility may look a little different in comparison to the complete nationalization, because it needs to be adapted to the fact that there are more owners in this option. There will also be a difference in the responsibility for resource distribution where the municipalities retain a certain amount of responsibility to varying degrees, based on the variants outlined by the investigation.

The proposal of the investigation (in Swedish)

Digitization and a new emphasis on physical textbooks

In December 2022, the Swedish National Agency for Education submitted its proposal for a national digitization strategy for the school system 2023–2027 to the Government Office. The proposal is now sent on a referral. This particularly applies to views related to how children's and students' cognitive development, health and well-being are affected by their use of digital learning resources in teaching. 

It seems as digitization in preschools and schools has sometimes been rushed. This is shown not least by the fact that some municipalities have considered that textbooks, paper and pencils no longer are needed. All digitization must take place in a well-thought-out way and build on research and proven experience. 

On 2 March 2023, the government decided on a regulation that makes it possible for municipalities to apply for state grants to buy learning materials for the pre-school class, the compulsory school, the special school and the Sami school. The government grant can be used for textbooks. It can be textbooks with or without digital components that are designed to be used in teaching. 

More information (in Swedish)

The Government invests in emergency schools and increased access to special teachers

The Government has decided on a new state subsidy regulation. Grants according to the regulation must go to staff costs for emergency schools, special teachers and student health. The purpose is, among other things, to increase safety and study tranquility in schools and to strengthen the work with support and adaptations so that more students reach the educational goals. In total, the investments include SEK 535.5 million for 2023. 

In order to deal with students who disrupt teaching or threaten other students and teachers, the government is now implementing an initiative to enable municipalities to set up emergency schools, where students can be placed temporarily according to the provisions of the Education Act. The emergency schools thus contribute to securing the continuity of education for all students.

In order to strengthen the schools' work with support and adaptations so that more students will have access to effective support efforts at the right time. Investments are also being made to increase access to special teachers in schools and strengthen the opportunity for municipalities to set up special teaching groups. In order to increase the number of special teachers in the school system, SEK 200 million has also been set aside so that more people can train as special teachers.

The regulation enters into force and will be applied on 12 April 2023.

More information (in Swedish)


Reforms of course syllabi and curricula

From the school year 2022/2023, new course syllabi apply for compulsory school and certain curricula for upper secondary school. In the new curricula now in force, factual knowledge is emphasized more, especially for younger students. The new grading criteria are now also easier to use for teachers than the old knowledge requirements because they are less detailed and comprehensive. In addition, the content differs more clearly between stages and between courses. Factual knowledge is emphasized more in the new course syllabi.

Also there is a government memorandum containing suggestions for better opportunities for students in primary school, special school, Sami school and upper secondary school to study at a higher level and progress at a faster pace of study. It is important that pupils who do not receive the challenge they need in teaching are given the opportunity to develop according to their own conditions in order to reach as far as possible in their knowledge development. It can lead to a better teaching situation and to better knowledge results for these students.

Changes are proposed in the curricula for the compulsory school, the special school, the Sami school and the upper secondary school to further emphasize the school's responsibility for especially gifted and high-achieving pupils. It must be clear in the curricula that special attention must be paid to both the pupils who have difficulties in reaching the goals of the education and the pupils who easily meet the grade criteria or the criteria for assessing knowledge. It should also be clear that the headmaster has a special responsibility to ensure that the pupils have the opportunity to study at a higher level.

More information (in Swedish)

More information (in Swedish)

More information about studying on faster pace (in Swedish)

National professional programme for principals, teachers and preschool teachers

The Legislative Council's referral contains proposals for changes to the Education Act (2010:800) which means that a national professional programme is introduced for principals, teachers and pre-school teachers within the school system. The aim is to develop the quality of teaching, strengthen the professions, increase the attractiveness of the professions and thereby increase the equivalence of the education for the students.

National professional programme for principals, teachers and preschool teachers (pdf 813 kB)

It is proposed that the national professional programme should consist partly of a national structure for competence development for principals, teachers and preschool teachers, and partly of a national qualification system for certified teachers and certified preschool teachers. The national qualification system must contain qualification levels. One of these levels must require a third-cycle qualification. The national structure for competence development must contain, on the one hand, competence development efforts that can be the basis for qualification levels, and on the other hand, other competence development efforts for teachers and preschool teachers, as well as competence development efforts for principals. The municipalities' existing obligation according to the Education Act to ensure that staff are given opportunities for skills development must be specified to some extent. After the application, the Swedish National Agency for Education must decide that a certified teacher or certified preschool teacher has achieved a certain qualification level if the teacher or preschool teacher meets the conditions for the level. A decision on merit level must be appealable to a general administrative court. If a teacher or preschool teacher has his or her license revoked, a decision that he or she has achieved a qualification level shall cease to apply when the decision to revoke the license has become final.

The changes to the law are proposed to enter into force on 1 July 2024.

More time for learning - extra study time and extended holiday school

In a government bill, the Swedish government makes proposals for more teaching time for students who need it. The proposals aim to strengthen the school's compensatory mission and get more students to become eligible for the upper secondary school.

The government proposes that pupils in compulsory school grades 4-9 should be offered extra study time. During this study time, students can get help with homework and other school work. The offer must include at least two hours per week and participation must be voluntary.

The government also proposes that holiday school be extended by 25 hours. The extended holiday school shall be offered to students in compulsory school year 9 who risk not meeting the criteria for being eligible for upper secondary school.

The government bill (in Swedish)

Stricter rules for denominational elements in the school

The Swedish government is proposing to the Council on Legislation clearer requirements and stricter rules for denominational preschools, schools and after-school centers.

The government is now moving forward to increase control over denominational elements in the school system. The changes are part of the government's ongoing work to stop rogue and inappropriate actors from starting activities with a denominational focus.

The amendments to the law are proposed to enter into force on 1 January 2023.