Country information for Sweden - Teacher education for inclusive education
New teacher education programmes
In its bill ‘Top of the class – new teacher education programmes’ (Government Bill 2009/10:89), that was passed by the Riksdag in April 2010, the Swedish Government proposed that the degree of Bachelor/Master of Education should be replaced by four new professional degrees: a degree in pre-primary education, a degree in primary school education, a degree in subject education and a degree in vocational education. The requirement in the Higher Education Act that there should be a special body responsible for teacher education and for research associated with such education in higher education institutions that have the right to award degrees in education has been repealed. The new education programmes started in the autumn of 2011.
New professional degrees
The four new professional degrees include knowledge objectives in the subject to be taught, objectives concerning other key knowledge, and skills of a more general nature for school and pre-primary teachers. The new degrees lead to 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 an educational science core of 60 higher education credits. Sixty higher education credits (European Credit Transfer System equivalents) are equivalent to one year of full-time studies.
1. Degree in pre-primary education
The degree in pre-primary education comprises 210 higher education credits. The programme is clearly oriented towards work in pre-schools. Over the course of the programme, prospective pre-primary teachers will acquire the knowledge and skills required to meet the learning and care needs of the youngest children, and gain very solid knowledge of how reading, writing and basic mathematical skills are acquired.
2. Degree in primary school education
The degree in primary school education allows for three specialisations: the first directed at work in pre-primary class (for children the year before they start compulsory school) and years 1–3, the second at work in years 4–6, and the third at work in out-of-school care (in so-called recreation centres which cater for children before and after the school day and during holidays).
2.1 Degree in primary school education directed at work in pre-primary class and years 1–3 of compulsory school
The degree in primary school education directed at work in pre-primary class and years 1–3 of compulsory school comprises 240 higher education credits. This programme gives the teacher a broad range of knowledge and equips them to follow pupils’ development and teach most subjects. Knowledge about the development of reading and writing skills and in-depth knowledge of mathematics for younger children should be an essential part of their skills.
2.2 Degree in primary school education directed at work in years 4–6 of compulsory school
The degree in primary school education directed at work in years 4–6 of compulsory school comprises 240 higher education credits. The requirements concerning both a broad orientation and in-depth subject studies are considerably higher. Student teachers will acquire a well-defined profile as a teacher oriented towards teaching in school years 4–6 (ages approximately 10 to 12). Apart from knowledge of Swedish, mathematics and English, the subject studies should allow for choice, with pupils choosing from social subjects, natural science subjects and technology, or one or more practical or artistic subjects.
2.3 Degree in primary school education directed at work in out-of-school care
The degree in primary school education directed at work in out-of-school care comprises 180 higher education credits. The programme should primarily focus on knowledge in the field of out-of-school teaching and one or more practical or artistic subjects.
3. Degree in subject education
There are two specialisations for pupils in subject education: one directed at work in years 7–9 of compulsory school (International Standard Classification of Education – ISCED – level 2) and the other at work in upper-secondary school (ISCED level 3).
3.1 Degree in subject education directed at work in years 7–9 of compulsory school
The degree in subject education directed at work in years 7–9 of compulsory school comprises 270 higher education credits, 195 of which are to be in the subjects themselves (this includes the degree project and parts of the school placement). This specialisation will provide teachers with the skills to teach three subjects. The programme provides a limited number of subject combinations so as to suit the needs of the school system and increase teachers’ employability.
3.2 Degree in subject education directed at work in upper-secondary school
The degree in subject education directed at work in upper-secondary schools comprises 300 or 330 higher education credits, 225 or 255 of which will be in the subjects themselves (this includes the degree project and parts of the school placement), depending on the choice of subjects. This specialisation will provide teachers with the skills to teach two subjects. The programme provides a number of subject combinations so as to suit the needs of the school system and increase teachers’ employability.
4. Degree in vocational education
The degree in vocational education comprises 90 higher education credits. To be accepted on the programme, basic eligibility for higher education studies is required, as well as advanced and relevant vocational knowledge. It is possible to provide programmes with great flexibility in terms of time and location, as well as to enable those with vocational skills to study to become a vocational teacher.
Different paths to degrees in education and pre-primary education
For those who have sufficient knowledge of at least one subject, a supplementary teacher education programme will lead to a degree in subject education. This supplementary teacher education programme will comprise 90 higher education credits.
Since 2007, a special supplementary educational programme has been offered at higher education institutions to those with foreign teaching qualifications to enable them to qualify for employment in the Swedish school system. This programme will be continued.
At present, there are many teachers employed to teach subjects for which they lack formal qualifications. The government has therefore initiated a further educational programme for unqualified teachers. Through this, higher education institutions can validate previous professional teaching and offer individualised educational programmes that enable participants to meet the requirements for a degree in education, or one of the new professional degrees.
Entitlement to award degrees
Higher education institutions wishing to organise teacher or pre-primary teacher education apply to the Swedish National Agency for Higher Education for entitlement to award the new professional degrees.
Degree in special needs education
The Postgraduate Diploma in Special Needs Training has been extended to include specialisations for deafness or hearing impairments, visual impairments, serious language impairments and learning disabilities. This will meet the needs of special schools and schools catering for children with disabilities, and for special needs teachers with specific knowledge about the groups of pupils in these schools.
From 1 January 2013, the Swedish National Agency for Higher Education ceased to exist as a public authority. Its operations were transferred to two new public authorities: the Swedish Higher Education Authority (Universitetskanslersämbetet) and the Swedish Council for Higher Education (Universitets-och högskolerådet).
Last updated 14/02/2018