Initial teacher education and training
The bill ‘Top of the class – new teacher education programmes’ (Govt. Bill 2009/10:89), was passed by the parliament in April 2010 and replaced the degree of Bachelor/Master of Education by four new professional degrees: a degree in preschool education, a degree in primary school education, a degree in subject education and a degree in vocational education. The current teacher education programmes started in the autumn of 2011. The four professional degrees include knowledge objectives in the subject to be taught, and objectives concerning other key knowledge, and skills of a more general nature, for school and preschool teachers. The professional degrees aim to offer greater clarity regarding the three components of teacher education: studies in the subject to be taught, a school placement comprising 30 higher education credits and core education subjects of 60 higher education credits (equivalent to one year of full-time studies).
Teacher training in special needs education
Teacher training in special needs education is offered at an advanced level for those who have a teaching degree. There are varieties of the course, but they are typically 90 higher education credits or 1.5 years full-time studies.
Conditions of service
Certified teachers and stricter qualifying rules
In July 2012, a system of national certification of teachers and preschool teachers (lärarlegitimation) entered into force. To be qualified to teach at a school, a teacher should be certified and qualified for certain subjects and grades. Certification is required for a teacher to be able to independently set grades and to be a mentor to new teachers. Only certified teachers are qualified for permanent employment. A teacher or preschool teacher can apply to be certified after a degree in initial teacher training or initial preschool teacher training. If a teacher or preschool teacher seriously neglects their work, their certification may be withdrawn, such decisions will be taken by a special committee - the Teachers' Disciplinary Board - under the Swedish National Agency for Education (Skolverket).
Specific legislative framework
In addition to general labour legislation conditions, employment regulation procedures apply as well as the requirements for teaching qualifications, promotion, work content etc set out in the Education Act (Skollagen) and in the Higher Education Ordinance (Högskoleförordningen).
The parliament approved the bill ‘The new Education Act - for knowledge, choice and security’ (Govt. Bill 2009/10:165) in June 2010 and the new Education Act has applied since July 2011. The act reformed the conditions of service for teachers:
- Senior subject teachers (lektorer) will be re-introduced into the entire school system. A teacher who has passed a Licentiate or doctoral degree and has demonstrated excellent quality of teaching over a period of service of at least four years is to be appointed a senior subject teacher.
- Clearer and more stringent rules will be introduced on the necessary requirements for teachers to be permanently employed to teach.
Continuing professional development
The National Agency for Education (Skolverket) is the central administrative authority for the public school system, publicly organised preschooling, school-age childcare and for adult education. The agency also ensures that Swedish education maintains a good standard of quality through national schools development programmes and continuing professional development of the staff. The agency also distribute grants and arrange head-teacher training programmes. There are several government organisations that offer professional development for teachers, including the Swedish Council for Higher Education (Universitets- och högskolerådet), the National Agency for Special Needs Education Schools (Specialpedagogiska skolmyndigheten) and the Living History Forum (Forum för levande historia) and many others.