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Dual Qualification in Sweden
Vocational programmes
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(1) National framework of the scheme; 
(2) Major features of the scheme;
(3) Educational concepts underlying the scheme;
(4) Organisational implications of the scheme;
(5) Evidence of the scheme's effect. 
Info unit 1 of 5 
Sweden: Vocational programmes

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(1) National framework of the scheme

In the view of the sponsoring minister as expressed in the Government Bill (1990/91) ‘Growing with Knowledge’, the educational system must be organised to a greater extent in such a way that it can meet both the individual's and society's demand for lifelong learning. In this context the upper secondary school takes on a strategic role. It must be a school where every individual can obtain education based on varying preconditions and needs.
    In determining the goals for upper secondary schools, all young people must be provided with relevant education. Working life requires to a greater extent than in earlier times good basic knowledge both in general and in vocational subjects. Upper secondary training has to provide everyone with the opportunity of making a contribution to working life and of developing in their work. The branch structure as it has existed hitherto must be replaced by a more flexible system. In addition to the guidelines for the national branches that are drawn up centrally and made available to the municipalities, scope must also be created for branches to be drawn up at the local level.
    According to interviews with politicians and experts involved in the planning of the Swedish upper secondary reform the main drive for change comes from an emphasis upon the development of working life and better opportunities for individuals to enter higher education. However, the interviews also show that the former opinion is more fully articulated, that is, the idea of the reform is based on the policy of manpower planning rather than on the policy of stimulating individual demand for progression.

Sources
INTEQUAL 
Contact

Robert Hoghielm
Info unit 2 of 5 
Sweden: Vocational programmes

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(2) Major features of the scheme

In the upper secondary school there are 16 nationally determined three-year programmes, comprising 2 programmes preparatory for further studies, in natural sciences and in social sciences, together with 14 vocationally orientated programmes. The programmes are further subdivided into branches. The natural science programme has two nationally determined branches, in the natural sciences and in the technical field. Within the social sciences there are three branches, in economics, the arts and civics. Within the 14 vocationally orientated programmes there are about 28 different national branches altogether. All vocational programmes are designed to give the basic qualification for eligibility for entry to higher education in order to create equal opportunities for students on different programmes.
    The branches have been drawn up so that they give not only broader but also deeper knowledge compared to the pattern of vocational training in place before the reform. In addition they are expected to respond to changes taking place in the industrial structure of society and to consequent demands for changes that will be imposed on schools. The branches are intended to attract girls as well as boys to as great an extent as possible. The division into branches occurs in the second year. However, this should not prevent a school from dividing up the class in the first year in such a way that it reflects the students' choice of branch in the second year.

Sources
INTEQUAL 
Contact

Robert Hoghielm
Info unit 3 of 5 
Sweden: Vocational programmes

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(3) Educational concepts underlying the scheme

Parliament has defined the minimum guaranteed teaching time for the national programmes not only in terms of subjects but also in total. All programmes contain a core of subjects and activities: Swedish, English, civics, religion, mathematics, science, sports and health, arts, individual options and special projects as well as local additions to subjects and/or subject-related practice. It is explicitly stated in the curricula that conditions should be created for integration between core and vocational subjects. Accordingly, both teachers in the vocational subjects and teachers in the core subjects have to develop flexible systems with scope for collaboration. Every effort must be made to increase the co-operation between different educational organisers, types of education and between different municipalities and county councils, so as to improve the accessibility of education and to improve its quality. The co-ordination of available resources can occur, for example, through the creation of local knowledge centres.
    At least 15 % of the total study time in the vocational national programmes is to be allocated to the place of work. The starting point for this part of education is that it should be planned and implemented on the basis of the educational and teaching goals that have been determined. The local organiser is responsible both for obtaining the necessary educational places and for the supervision of students in the practical component of their education. During this part of their education the students have a purely student status. The upper secondary school connections and contacts with employers are included in the municipal school plan.

Sources
INTEQUAL 
Contact

Robert Hoghielm
Info unit 4 of 5 
Sweden: Vocational programmes

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(4) Organisational implications of the scheme

The approach towards the management of schools has changed dramatically during recent years. Most important was the decentralisation of responsibility from central to municipal level. A part of the central government management is now centred on follow-up and evaluation activities. 
    When they leave school, students will be awarded a certificate which will contain a record of grades for all courses in upper secondary education. Student grades are awarded in relation to the demands made in the different syllabi. Grades will also be given for special project work. The syllabus will specify the criteria for awarding grades. Central tests will be developed in certain subjects to support this. It will also be possible to retake exams to achieve a higher grade in subjects that have been studied previously. As a result, the award of grades will be a continuous process and term grades will become redundant. 
    The changes in upper secondary school and adult education require supplementary training measures of different kinds. Many teachers need in-service training in their theoretical disciplines in order to broaden and/or deepen their knowledge. Changes in working methods and an increase in student influence reinforce the need for supplementary training not only for teachers and students but also for other personnel within the school.

Sources
INTEQUAL 
Contact

Robert Hoghielm
Info unit 5 of 5 
Sweden: Vocational programmes

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(5) Evidence of the scheme's effect

The number of students at upper secondary school has increased. The primary reasons are that all upper secondary school education and training was extended to three years, and that young people have had difficulty in finding work. There has been an increase in the number of available places in both upper secondary schools and municipal adult education schools in an attempt to combat unemployment. Almost 98% of all students graduating from compulsory schools in the spring of 1997 went on to attend upper secondary schools. Approximately 80% of the applicants were accepted for studies in the programme of their first choice and 90% of those beginning their studies at the upper secondary schools will complete their education within four years. The drop-out rate for students between their first and second year in 1997 was about 4% on average for the national programmes, slightly higher for some of the vocational programmes. In the individual programme the drop-out rate reached 35%.
    In the academic year 1997/98 the intake was about 42% to the two programmes preparatory to subsequent studies, and approximately 43% to the vocationally orientated programmes. Almost 4% attended specially designed programmes and 11% participated in the individual programmes. One third of the students graduating from upper secondary schools are expected to attend a university within three years after graduating.
    Of the students finishing their studies in spring 1997 with a school-leaving certificate the cohort was equally divided between students who had chosen the academic route and those who had followed the route of dual orientation. In the group of students following the academic route about 90% had achieved the basic qualification for higher education compared with approximate 75% of the students following the route of vocational orientation. It must, however, be stressed that there is a wide spread in progression figures between programmes, particularly between the programmes within the vocational route.

Sources
INTEQUAL 
Contact

Robert Hoghielm

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