Curriculum, subjects, number of hours
Employers and industry representatives play an important role in the planning and execution of post-secondary vocational education. The cooperation between employers and the education programmes is done in the form of contributing and influencing the pro¬gramme content, by for example taking part as lecturers, sitting in the programmes’ steering committees, welcoming study visits and by offering work placements.
In post-secondary vocational education, work placement or learning in a work environment (lärande i arbete, LIA) is an important part of alternating theory and practice. The work placement takes place in a work place and during the period the student is educated in the practice of the studied profession under the supervision of a representative of the employer. This gives the student the opportunity to advance their knowledge from school to a real-life environment. Work placement gives the student work experience and training in their profession early as well as contacts in the field which can lead to employment directly after their studies. The work placement is a part of the programmes and has clear objectives and goals of learning. It is the education providers responsibility to make sure that there are available work placement opportunities for the students that meet the requirements of the programme.
For every post-secondary vocational education programme there is an education plan (utbildningsplan) which is regulated by the Higher Vocational Education Ordinance (Förordning om yrkeshögskolan, SFS 2009:130). The education providers develop the education plan for the proposed programme in cooperation with employers and representatives from industries. The required content in the education plan should is presented in instructions issued by the the Swedish National Agency for Higher Vocational Education (Myndigheten för yrkeshögskolan) in connection to the yearly application round to start or continue to run a programme. The education plan is a general document which sets out the objectives, main content, admission reqirements, selection process, scope of the education, education provider and quality control. The objectives and content of the education programme is then defined in the syllabus (kursplan) which contains information about the specific course such as number of HVE-credits (YH-poäng), goals, main content, principles for grading and forms of knowledge control to be applied. The syllabus is implemented by the education management team.
The programmes steering comitte (ledningsgruppen) is to participate in the education providers work with developing and determining course plans, any changes in the course plan have to be determined by the steering comitte.
There are 16 educational areas in which hundreds of different professions can be chosen as a specialisation. The education programmes offered matches the demand for competences in the labour market and the selection of available programmes can therefore differ between years.
The 16 main educational areas are:
- Construction, plant and property
- Animal care, agriculture, forest and garden
- Economy, administration and sales
- Healthcare and body care
- Hotel, restaurant and tourism
- Healthcare and social work
- Journalism and information
- Culture, Media and Design
- Environmental protection and environmental protection
- Educational work
- Technology, manufacturing, operation and maintenance
The length of education programmes within higher vocational education (Yrkeshögskola) is measured in HVE-credits (YH-poäng). 5 HVE-credits correspond to one week of full-time studies. The development of programmes and syllabi is done in cooperation with representatives from the labour market. Their demands regarding which subjects to focus on for the role are taken into consideration when developing the programmes.
Higher vocational education caters to the demands of the labour market and therefore most of the education programmes result in a specific profession. Some programmes have a choice of specialisation within the studied profession but specialisation is often dependant on the work placement that the student chooses. Regarding the level of specialisation see 6.6- Assessment.
Teaching methods and materials used
Higher Vocational Education combines theoretical studies with a strong practical approach embedded in the workplace. By combining theory and practice the workplace training forms an integral part of the programmes. The programmes are divided into courses which are taught by teachers recruited directly from the labour market. The teaching can for example be done in the form of lectures, seminars, assignments and group work. Generally 1/3 of the programmes consists of workplace based learning courses in which the student has a supervisor at the workplace. The student's exam work is generally done in cooperation with the labour market.
The education provider can decide if books or other material that the student needs is to be bought by the students themselves or be offered at a cost. This cost can at a maximum correspond to the education providers aquisition cost. However, teaching tools which are used in the education have to be provided free of charge for the student. The programmes are developed so that all students qualify for financial aid from the Swedish Board of Study Support (Centrala Studiestödsnämnden, CSN). Some programmes charge tuition fees although most of them are free of charge for the student.