VET and HRD research in European countries > Overview

Sweden  []  Summary

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In Sweden the majority of vocational education and training occurs at the upper secondary school level. Overall, the Swedish upper secondary education has been somewhat unique since the reform of upper secondary school in the 1970s, which integrated ‘theoretical’ (i.e. academic) programmes and ’practical’ (i.e. VET) programmes. Most countries in Europe have chosen other paths.

Given the unification of VET into the Swedish upper secondary system, there are also goals to engender general knowledge and prepare students for entry to higher education. That said, the current system of VET training at the upper secondary level better reflects socio-political values than specific, national VET/HRD research initiatives and recent major reforms will result in enhanced quality of Swedish VET and the development of upper secondary apprenticeship training from the autumn of 2007. Overall, there is a belief that upper secondary vocationally oriented training needs to be improved so that more students acquire the knowledge they need both for the labour market and in their life in general.

There are also VET pathways at the post-secondary level in Sweden, the largest of which is advanced vocational education. Other forms of post-secondary vocational education can include supplementary education programmes, sector-based training, continuing education, folk high schools, etc. 

In summary, although recent VET/HRD research has not had a direct impact on VET policy in Sweden, the country does have a tradition of evaluating policy. These evaluations are often commissioned by Government and ultimately impact policy development. Key agencies funding and conducting research include the Swedish council for working life and social research and the Institute for labour market policy evaluation. There is also research into VET/HRD conducted at pedagogical and other departments at Swedish higher education institutions.

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Source: Cedefop - National Research Report Sweden (details see Bibliography)
Editor: Sabine Manning  © WIFO