European Education Area Progress Report 2021

Education and Training Monitor 2021


1. Key indicators

Figure 1 – Key indicators overview
Sweden EU-27
2010 2020 2010 2020
EU-level targets 2030 target
Participation in early childhood education
(from age 3 to starting age of compulsory primary education)
≥ 96% 95.0%13 95.6%19 91.8%13 92.8%19
Low achieving eighth-graders in digital skills < 15% : : : :
Low achieving 15-year-olds in: Reading < 15% 17.4%09, b 18.4%18 19.7%09, b 22.5%18
Maths < 15% 21.1%09 18.8%18 22.7%09 22.9%18
Science < 15% 19.1%09 19.0%18 17.8%09 22.3%18
Early leavers from education and training (age 18-24) < 9% 6.5% 7.7% 13.8% 9.9%
Exposure of VET graduates to work based learning ≥ 60% : : : :
Tertiary educational attainment (age 25-34) ≥ 45% (2025) 42.3% 49.2% 32.2% 40.5%
Participation of adults in learning (age 25-64) ≥ 47% (2025) : : : :
Other contextual indicators
Education investment Public expedienture on education as a percentage of GDP 6.4% 6.9% 5.0% 4.7%19
Expenditure on public and private institutions per FTE/student in € PPS ISCED 1-2 €8 10112 €9 01618 €6 07212,d €6 35917,d
ISCED 3-4 €8 43012 €9 11018 €7 36613,d €7 76217,d
ISCED 5-8 €17 35812 €17 99718 €9 67912,d €9 99517,d
Early leavers from education and training (age 18-24) Native 5.9% 5.3% 12.4% 8.7%
EU-born :u :u 26.9% 19.8%
Non EU-born 11.3% 16.2% 32.4% 23.2%
Upper secondary level attainment (age 20-24, ISCED 3-8) 87.2% 83.1% 79.1% 84.3%
Tertiary educational attainment (age 25-34) Native 43.0% 49.9% 33.4% 41.3%
EU-born 57.8% 69.0% 29.3% 40.4%
Non EU-born 36.0% 42.2% 23.1% 34.4%

Sources: Eurostat (UOE, LFS, COFOG); OECD (PISA). Further information can be found in Annex I and in Volume 1 ( Notes: The 2018 EU average on PISA reading performance does not include ES; the indicator used (ECE) refers to early-childhood education and care programmes which are considered by the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) to be ‘educational’ and therefore constitute the first level of education in education and training systems – ISCED level 0; FTE = full-time equivalent, b = break in time series, d = definition differs, u = low reliability, := not available, 09 = 2009, 12 = 2012, 13 = 2013, 17 = 2017, 18 = 2018, 19 = 2019.

Figure 2 - Position in relation to strongest and weakest performers

Source: DG Education, Youth, Sport and Culture, based on data from Eurostat (LFS 2020, UOE 2019) and OECD (PISA 2018).

2. Highlights

  • Prevention of bullying is strong and effective, but the well-being of pupils is decreasing.
  • Teachers’ well-being suffered during COVID-19, potentially worsening further the attractiveness of the profession.
  • The percentage of pupils who leave school without a certificate is the highest in the EU, and variations point to inequalities.
  • Tertiary education attainment is already higher than the new EU target and interest in studying has increased due to the pandemic.

3. A focus on well-being in education and training

Well-being of pupils in Sweden is decreasing. A recent inquiry also looking into students’ well-being found an increasing incidence of mental, social, and psychosomatic problems among children and young people (SOU, 2021). A national survey of citizens’ health also shows a downward trend in the mental well-being of students aged 16-29 compared to professionals of the same age (Folkhälsomyndigheten 2018), and that the proportion of 15-year-olds who had at least two psychosomatic problems more than once a week has doubled between 1985/86 and 2017/18 (Folkhälsomyndigheten 2018a). While early childhood education and care (ECEC) teachers’ education is focused on children’s well-being, this reduces progressively for teachers at higher levels of education. Current well-being measures consist mainly of anti-bullying measures and the unified student health services ‘elevhälsa’ (encompassing psychologists, special needs teachers, school nurses, school doctors and school counsellors) in schools and at universities, introduced in 2010. At universities these services are usually outsourced and their quality varies.

Prevention of bullying, as an aspect of well-being, is strong and effective. Conflict resolution is a part of teachers’ education. Anti-bullying is also part of continuous professional development initiatives, and measures are obligatory for each ECEC institution and school. The Education Act prescribes that staff has an obligation to report all forms of degrading treatment to the principal, who reports it to the school provider to investigate and take action. Additionally, the non-profit organisation ‘Friends’ is working with schools to stop bullying, providing them with knowledge and tools and offering to design a tailor-made three-year programme for each school based on the analysis of their challenges. All this has achieved good results: the share of students reporting being bullied at least a few times a month is among the lowest in the EU (19.3% v EU 22.1%) (Figure 3). Girls and high-achieving students are less likely to be bullied, but these differences are smaller than the EU average (-2.3 pps gap v EU -4.7 pps gap, and -8.3 pps gap v EU -15.9 pps, respectively). The effects of socio-economic status (SES), migrant background and school characteristics are negligible (OECD, 2019, Vol. III).

Pupils feel safe, but feeling of safety decreases in the higher grades. An annual national questionnaire examines the sense of security and well-being of children in ECEC and school pupils in compulsory and secondary schools. In 2020, 86.5% of pupils in the fifth grade of compulsory school said that they feel safe in school, 18.2% were afraid of other pupils and 9.8% of adults in school, and 81.6% believed adults will interfere if one pupil is mean to another. For grade 9, the same statistics are less favourable, with marked loss of trust in adults: 79.4% feel safe, 18.7% are afraid of other pupils and 18.3% of adults in school. Only 62.4% expected adults to help in conflicts (Skolinspektionen, 2020). This points to the need for further investigation of the causes and appropriate measures. Due to strong protection of children’s rights by the Education Act and Ombudsman for children, some teachers are afraid to intervene in conflicts, for fear of being reported for degrading treatment (Lärarförbundet, 2020).

Figure 3 - Percentage of students reporting being bullied at least a few times a month, PISA 2018

Source: OECD, PISA 2018.

No specific well-being measures have been introduced during COVID-19 as ECEC and schools did not close. ECEC facilities and compulsory schools up to grade 6 were kept open, without the use of protective masks. Secondary schools and higher education institutions (HEIs) applied distance or blended education as needed (see description of Swedish approach in Monitor 2020). For upper secondary schools, a survey of a pupils’ organisation showed that during distance education every second pupil felt worse, experienced increased stress and a lower sense of belonging and context (Sveriges elevkårer, 2020). In school year 2021/2022, schools returned to in-situ teaching, as it is best for majority of pupils (despite stress it caused teachers) except around Christmas and later blended learning until April. Upper secondary school principals believe that distance education went well, but that pupils in introductory programmes and with social anxiety at home were more vulnerable. Some principals tried to provide those students with additional support through individualised follow-up, communication and health interventions, but no national measures were taken for these groups (Skolinspektionen, 2020b). Temporary ordinance allowing schools to schedule teaching in other ways than usual during the pandemic has been extended until 31 July 2022 (Regeringen, 2021). A state subsidy of EUR 20 million for free and infection-free holiday activities for 6-15-year-olds in 2021 has been proposed (Regeringen, 2021b). In higher education (HE), the picture was mixed. Students experienced feelings of loneliness, isolation and longing for social student life, but some also felt increased flexibility, appreciated the opportunity to study more efficiently and access more study materials online (UKÄ, 2021). There have been more applications for higher education, more cheating during exams and more drop-outs among students whose parents have low educational attainment. Higher education staff experienced more stress (UKÄ, 2021).

Teachers’ well-being has suffered during COVID-19. According to the survey of a teachers’ union, teachers in ECEC and schools have experienced a high level of stress due to very high workload during the pandemic (78% of teachers) and conflict with parents due to unclear instructions on access to ECEC (58% of ECEC teachers) (Lärarförbundet, 2020b). Many teachers questioned the early return from distance teaching to presence in schools (opinion of 60% of upper secondary teachers) (Lärarnas Riksförbund, 2021). Every second teacher worried about being on sick leave due to work-related stress and 70% worried about colleagues being on sick leave (Lärarförbundet, 2020b). At the same time, 77% of principals in compulsory schools thought that the pandemic did not have much of an effect on the school’s ability to perform its task (Skolinspektionen, 2020c).

One third of all pupils feel that they do not belong at school, and this feeling is more frequent among disadvantaged and migrant pupils, further reducing their educational outcomes. The sense of belonging (67%) has decreased by 2.3 pps since 2015 (v EU 65.2% with 1.6 pps decrease). It is lower for students with low SES (0.27 mean index points gap v EU 0.2) and migrant background (0.13 mean index points gap v EU 0.1) (OECD, 2019, Vol. III), who are at higher risk to achieve lower educational results (see Monitor 2020). Higher sense of belonging positively affects reading score (4 points increase in reading per one-unit increase in the index of sense of belonging after accounting for students’ and schools’ socio-economic profile), while grade repetition has a strong negative effect on reading (87 points v EU 58.5 points). Loss of sense of belonging upon repeating a grade is the second biggest in the EU (0.27 v EU 0.11) (OECD, 2019, Vol. III).

4. Investing in education and training

Investment in education is high and continues to increase. Investment in education continues to increase, and spending on education as a share of GDP (6.9% v EU 4.7%) was highest in the EU in 2019, and as a share of total general government expenditure it is equally among the highest (14.1% v EU 10%)1. The share spent on compensation of employees in total general government expenditure is the lowest in the EU (44% v 64% EU average)2

Substantial investments from the national budget are planned across all educational levels. In ECEC, language development is supported by EUR 10 million in 2021 (Regeringen, 2020). In preparation for the introduction of ten years of compulsory schooling by formally integrating the preschool class into it, a state subsidy corresponding to 70% of the school providers’ costs is planned for the professional development of ECEC teachers. EUR 10 million have been set aside for this in 2021, EUR 2 million in 2022 and from 2023 onwards EUR 17 million annually (Regeringen, 2021c). The Swedish school system has been given additional funding of SEK 1 billion (EUR 100 million) in the Budget Bill for 2021 to increase equity and continue to raise learning outcomes. A further EUR 38.5 million has been provided for schools in areas with socio-economic challenges, and EUR 17 million for holiday schooling (Regeringen, 2020). The government has also proposed to set aside EUR 770 000 annually in 2021 and 2022 for the project Uppdrag fullföljd utbildning3, to help more pupils complete upper secondary education (Regeringen, 2020b). To enable more people to study a foundation year offering preparatory education needed for eligibility for some HEI studies, the government proposed an investment of approximately EUR 40.5 million in 2021 (corresponding to 4 000 additional full-time students), and its extension to 2022 (Regeringen, 2020b). Due to the growing interest in studying, the Budget Bill for 2021 proposed funding corresponding to study places at HEIs for almost 19 000 new full-time students (Regeringen, 2020c).

5. Modernising early childhood and school education

ECEC participation is high, but it is lower for children with migrant background. ECEC attendance by children under three is high, at 53.1% in 2019 (EU 35.3%); and a little over two thirds of them spend 30 hours or more in ECEC (37.1% v EU-17 21.5%)4. Participation between age 3 and the beginning of compulsory primary education was at 95.6% in 2019, just below the new EU-level target of 96%, but above the EU average of 92.8%, and 0.5 pps higher than in 20185. However, children with migrant background participate less (SCB, 2019). During COVID-19, some municipalities reduced access to some groups (like children of unemployed people) due to the lack of staff, and some parents kept their children at home despite ECEC being open. ECEC is not mandatory. Another challenge in ECEC is the increasing size of groups, which was aggravated during COVID-19 due to growing sick leave rates among ECEC staff (Folkhälsomyndigheten, 2021). A recently completed inquiry ‘Preschool for all children – for better language development in Swedish’ proposes that ECEC should be compulsory from five years onwards, that municipalities should do outreach activities and ensure that all children who are in need of ECEC for their Swedish language development (i.e. children of newly arrived migrants) are enrolled in ECEC to learn Swedish early on. ECEC staff should be provided with professional development in supporting language development (SOU, 2020a).

While basic skills results are promising, the pandemic has impacted national tests and possibly negatively affected equality. The percentages of low achieving 15-year-olds in Sweden are below the EU averages, but above the EU-level target. However, a national audit showed that the improvement noted in PISA 2018 might have been affected by participating schools excluding more foreign-born pupils than allowed (Riksrevisionen, 2021). The share of 16 to 19 year-olds whose digital skills are above basic level is high (71% v EU 57%) and has slightly increased between 2015 and 2019 (by 1 pps)6. The proportion of those eligible for upper secondary school increased from 82.5% in 2017 to 85.6% in 2020 (Regeringen, 2021d), as did the average grades in grade nine. National tests in primary and secondary schools have been cancelled during the pandemic (Regeringen, 2021e). Inequalities may have increased, as schools faced difficulties in responding to the different needs of children and pupils and providing individualised support (NAE, 2021). In the National Reform Programme (NRP) the possibility for pupils in grade 3 of upper secondary school to take part in holiday schools has been expanded to avoid pupils leaving upper secondary school without sufficient competences.

Early school leaving is below the EU average, but Sweden has the highest percentage of pupils leaving school without a certificate; variations point to inequalities. The share of early leavers from education and training is below the EU average and the EU-level target (7.7% v EU 9.9%), but it is twice as high for foreign-born pupils (15.6%). At the same time, the completion rate for upper secondary or post-secondary school (20 to 24-year-olds) is below the EU average (64.9% v EU 66.8%)7. The percentage of pupils who leave compulsory school without eligibility to national programmes in upper secondary school is the highest in the EU (20.2% v EU 4.4%) (see figure 4). Here Sweden records the biggest difference between private and public schools among the EU Member States (12.4 pps); pupils from public schools are leaving school without a certificate much more often. It is also much more frequent in schools that have many pupils who repeated a grade (8.7 pps v EU 3.4) (OECD, 2020). This points to inequalities and segregation issues in schools. Pupils with migrant backgrounds also generally attend public schools, and they are more at risk of leaving school without a certificate/diploma. The government is looking into ways to ensure that all pupils complete upper secondary education. The most important measures proposed in the inquiry ‘Upper secondary school for all’ are: providing pupils with mentors that would monitor their progress, extending teaching time, assessing the knowledge of all newly arrived pupils and developing supporting teaching materials, and providing teachers with in-service training in guidance, support and mentoring (SOU, 2016).

Figure 4 - Proportion of students in school’s final grade who left school without a certificate, PISA 2018

Source: OECD, PISA 2018. Note: Certificate that allows the student to enter post-school education or employment; results based on principals' reports. For Sweden: Proportion of students in school’s final grade who left school without eligibility to enter post-school education programmes.

The government has initiated inquiries into the state governance of education and student health. The government has launched an inquiry into the possibility of the state taking over the following tasks from municipalities: the employment of school staff, the financing of schools, the management of education and the day-to-day running of the schools. The inquiry should also analyse the consequences of this for municipal self-government and the possibilities for adaptation to local needs (Regeringen, 2020d). Teachers and teachers’ trade unions are in favour of this change. An inquiry on active support and student health analysed how pupils could be supported to reach minimum competence levels together with improved mental health. For instance, the report includes recommendations on the maximum number of pupils for which a doctor, a nurse, a psychologist and a school counsellor can be responsible. The proposal requires more support personnel, and would mean annual cost increase of nearly EUR 82.6 million (SOU, 2021).

Several inquiries into reforms of the upper secondary education delivered their reports and proposals in 2020. The inquiry into the planning and dimensioning of upper secondary education proposes more nationally and regionally coordinated planning of the educational offer in upper secondary school and in adult education to better meet the needs of pupils and the labour market. Upper secondary school providers would also have to provide factual information about labour market outcomes and transition to HE (SOU, 2020b). The Assessment and Grading Inquiry proposed that subject grades should replace course grades, while maintaining division by levels and awarding grades by level (SOU, 2020c). Pupils in vocational schools should be given real possibilities to study the subjects they need to become eligible for HE studies (Regeringen, 2020e).

Education materials and secrecy of school data are currently an issue. Surveys have shown that teachers cannot buy the teaching materials needed, that schools’ purchases are very unequal (and have decreased since the 1990s) and that students and teachers see teaching materials as very valuable (Läromedelsförfattarna, 2020, 2021 and 2021a). Textbook authors, teachers unions and students organisations want to have the right to teaching materials introduced into the law, increased resources for them and teachers to have influence over their purchase. Regarding the recently introduced secrecy of school data requested by independent schools (see Monitor 2020), an attempt to change it due to the need for transparency was refused by the Parliament. A temporary secrecy-breaking rule has been introduced between 1 July 2021 and 1 July 2023 that enables open access to relevant school information, while a long-term solution is being investigated (Riksdagen, 2021).

6. Modernising vocational education and training and adult learning

A combination of language learning and VET should speed up labour market integration. It will consist of vocational courses in municipal adult education and Swedish for immigrants or Swedish as a second language. The focus will be on a specific profession, with language courses tailored for that field. This will shorten the time before establishment on the labour market for people who are often far from it.

The upper secondary business and administration programme has been replaced with a modernised sales and service programme focussing on digital and green skills. It is to be adjusted to provide retail-specific content concerning sustainability and digital competences, relevant to e-commerce, to be able to meet the demands of a changing landscape in commerce (Cedefop ReferNet Sweden, 2020). This ambition is also supported by the national strategy for digitalisation, which emphasises the importance of digital transformation at all education levels.

The government approved curricular changes to impede traditional gender patterns in February 2021. The curricular changes are a response to counteract sexism, sexual harassment, forced marriage and honour-related violence and oppression, and should communicate an overall modernised view of gender. This amendment would counteract the competence shortage so that more jobs traditionally done by males can be accepted as VET tracks for women, and vice versa (Cedefop ReferNet, 2021).

Municipal adult education benefited from big investments, including in mapping and validation. Large investments were made in adult education in light of the pandemic. In 2020, the state took a bigger responsibility for financing of vocational adult municipal education. Among the measures for 2021, Sweden increased funding for more study places in adult education (17 000 additional state-funded places). Funds were allocated for temporary mapping and validation of previous qualifications and knowledge within municipal adult education, to increase the number of validated qualifications, and improve the students’ opportunities for supplementary education.

The prioritisation rule for selection for municipal adult education has changed and a new preparatory degree for university study has been introduced. Previously, selection priority for municipal and regional adult education was given to those with ‘least education’, while now it is for those with the ‘greatest need’, to facilitate studying for a change of career path. A new preparatory degree for university study by municipal adult education has been introduced. It can be obtained by passing courses from several different programmes.

No national strategy or specific measures on well-being exist in adult education. Municipalities can choose to offer student health in adult education, but no national data exists on the extent to which this is done. Adult education is not legally required to have student health corresponding to that in primary and secondary school. The health authorities are tasked by the Government to develop a basis for a new national strategy for mental health and suicide prevention from 2023 onwards, but this is not limited to education and there is no specific mention of different types of education (Regeringen, 2020f).

Box 1: (ESF): KASAM 2.0 Alla ska med!

Strömsund municipality’s project involves all employees (1 280 employees, 80% participation required) and aims to increase competencies and combat exclusion based on participation, responsibility, respect and knowledge exchange. It should develop a sustainable working life model for employees, with lasting peer support through health-promoting development talks and ‘triocoaching’ dialogue, and reduce sick leave rates for women (twice as high as those for men). Employees take part in three thematic workshops: ‘What is a good working environment?’, ‘Health and strength in everyday life’ and ‘Workplaces that succeed’.

Due to COVID-19, activities have been carried out digitally. Quantitative participation targets have been achieved, but fewer managers than foreseen have received individual guidance.

Project period: 01/02/2019 – 31/12/2021.

ESF funding: SEK 7 898 604 (approx. MEUR 0.8)


7. Modernising higher education

Tertiary education attainment (TEA) is already higher than the new EU target. In 2020, the percentage of 25 to 34 year-olds with tertiary education was 49.2% (0.8 pps higher than in 2019), above both the EU average (40.5%) and the EU-level 2030 target of 45%. The gender gap is rather high, with women more likely to have completed tertiary education than men (17.7 pps v EU 10.8 pps)8. The gap between the native-born population (49.9%) and the foreign-born (47.2%) is small. The attainment rate for people born in another EU country is high, the third highest in the EU (69% v EU 40.4%)9. The TEA gap between the population living in cities (60.9%) and in rural areas (33.4%) is higher than the EU average (27.5 pps v 22 pps).

Interest in studying increased, but it is harder for students from a disadvantaged background and access to the aptitude test is limited. The pandemic caused an increase in HE applications and examinations. Teaching became digital and examination methods changed. It also made studying harder for new students with low-educated parents, whose dropout rates increased, while they decreased among students with highly educated parents. The number of disciplinary cases increased by 61% between 2019 and 2020, mostly for plagiarism and illicit cooperation (UKÄ, 2021). As the Swedish University Aptitude Test, granting access to one third of places at the university, has been cancelled (spring 2020) or severely limited in 2020/2021 (e.g. in spring 2021 they were only for those doing their last semester in upper secondary school or older) since the beginning of the pandemic, the government has been given the right to temporarily change the regulations for admissions to HEIs during peacetime crises (Regeringen, 2021f and Riksdagen, 2021b). It has not yet used this possibility. Long-lasting shortages of students for the professions of doctors, nurses and teachers persists, but interest in nursing education has increased due to the pandemic. In its NRP, the government proposes expanding resources to HEIs (the possibilities for part-time study, increasing the number of summer courses at HEIs and additional places at HEIs).

The pandemic has decreased general employment rate of HE graduates. The employment rate of recent HE graduates is high (90.8% in 2020, above EU 83.7%), but has slightly decreased by 0.9 pps in the last year, probably due to the effects of the pandemic10. The effect differed depending on the graduates’ sector of education, with fewer problems for nursing graduates.

Digitalisation and cooperation between HEIs have increased. An expert group’s report on the digitalisation of HEIs shows that HE has shifted to distance education relatively smoothly, resulting in a rapid expansion of digital teaching, use of digital resources and exchange of resources, information, knowledge and webinars, and cooperation between HEIs through various networks. However, it is important to keep in mind that digital transformation should only be a tool for developing HE pedagogy (Nyman, 2020). The report suggests, among other things, that more support should be given to HEI cooperation networks, the Recommendation on Open Educational Resources should be implemented, and the management of validation in HE should be reformed – transferred to a central government agency.

8. References

Cedefop ReferNet Sweden (2020). Sweden: modernised VET in retail is under way.

Cedefop ReferNet (2021). VET REF: developments in vocational education and training policy database. Cedefop monitoring and analysis of VET policies. [Unpublished].

Skola hemma [home schooling]. Support for the school during the Corona pandemic.

Folkhälsomyndigheten, (2018). Psykisk ohälsa bland högskole- och universitetsstudenter kan förebyggas (Mental illness among college and university students can be prevented). Folkhälsomyndigheten, Stockholm.

Folkhälsomyndigheten, (2018a). Skolbarns hälsovanor i Sverige 2017/18. Grundrapport (Pupil’s health habits in Sweden 2017/2018. Basic report). Folkhälsomyndigheten, Stockholm.

Folkhälsomyndigheten (2019). Öppna jämförelser folkhälsa 2019 (Open comparisons of Public Health). Folkhälsomyndigheten, Stockholm.

Folkhälsomyndigheten (2021). Förekomst av covid-19 i olika yrkeskategorier – delrapport 2. Bekräftade covid-19 fall i Sverige 13 mars – 15 december. (Prevalence of covid-19 in different occupational categories - sub-report 2. Confirmed covid-19 cases in Sweden 13 March - 15 December). Folkhälsomyndigheten, Stockholm.

Lärarförbundet, (2020). Trygghet att skapa studiero – en rapport om lärares ansvar och befogenheter (Confidence to create a peaceful study environment - a report on teachers' responsibilities and powers). Lärarförbundet.

Lärarförbundet, (2020b). ”Läget är katastrofalt, pressat och ohållbart.” - Lärarnas syn på hur det fungerar att arbeta under covid-19 (The situation is catastrophic, pressed and unsustainable” Teachers’ view on how it is to work during covid-19). Lärarförbundet, Stockholm.

Lärarnas riksförbund, (2021). Smittskyddsåtgärder på skolorna. Så tycker lärarna och de fackliga ombuden (Infection control measures in schools. This is what the teachers and the union representatives think). Lärarnas riksförbund, Stockholm.

Läromedelsförfattarna, (2020). Rätten till kunskap. En rapport om läromedelssituationen i Sverige (The right to knowledge. A report on the situation for teaching materials in Sweden). Läromedelsförfattarna, Stockholm.

Läromedelsförfattarna, (2021). Ungas syn på läromedel (Young peoples’ views on teaching materials) Läromedelsförfattarna, Stockholm.

Läromedelsförfattarna, (2021a). Vårdnadshavares syn på läromedel (Parents’ views on teacing materials). Läromedelsförfattarna, Stockholm.

National Agency for Education (NAE), (2021). Covid-19-pandemins påverkan på skolväsendet. Delredovisning 3 (The Covid-19-pandemic’s effect on the school system). Skolverket, Stockholm.

Nyman, Kjell., (2020). Uppkopplad utbildning – en ESO-rapport om högskolans digitalisering (Online education - an ESO report on the university's digitization). Rapport till Expertgruppen för studier i offentlig ekonomi 2020:5. Stockholm. Statens offentliga utredningar.

OECD (2019 Vol. III), PISA 2018 Results (Volume III): What School Life Means for Students’ Lives, PISA, OECD Publishing, Paris,

Regeringen, (2020). Satsningar för höjda kunskapsresultat och fler behöriga lärare (Initiatives for increased knowledge results and more qualified teachers). Press release. Stockholm. Regeringen.

Regeringen, (2020b). Så här föreslås fler utbildningsplatser fördelas när regeringen satsar på universitet och högskolor i höstbudgeten (This is how it is proposed that more educational places be distributed when the government invests in universities and colleges in the autumn budget). Press release 22nd September 2020.

Regeringen, (2020c). Förutsättningar för ett statligt huvudmannaskap för skolan (Prerequisites for a state governance for the school). Kommittédirektiv 2020:140. Regeringen, Stockholm.

Regeringen, (2020d). Övergång till ämnesbetyg kan ge yrkeselever bättre möjlighet till högskolebehörighet (Transition to subject grades can give vocational students a better opportunity for university admission). Press release. Regeringen, Stockholm.

Regeringen, (2020e). Övergång till ämnesbetyg kan ge yrkeselever bättre möjlighet till högskolebehörighet (Transition to subject grades can give vocational students a better opportunity for university admission). Press release. Regeringen, Stockholm.

Regeringen (2020f). Uppdrag att inkomma med underlag inför en kommande nationell strategi inom området psykisk hälsa och suicidprevention (Assignment to provide a basis for a forthcoming national strategy in the field of mental health and suicide prevention). Regeringen, Stockholm.

Regeringen, (2021). Tillfälliga regler för skolor förlängs för att ge lärare och elever tid till undervisning (Temporary rules for schools are extended to give teachers and students time for teaching). Press release. Regeringen, Stockholm.

Regeringen, (2021b). 200 miljoner kronor för smittsäkra och avgiftsfria lovaktiviteter för barn och unga (SEK 200 million for infection-proof and free holiday activities for children and young people). Press release 4th April 2021.

Regeringen, (2021c). Ny fortbildningssatsning förbereder för ett införande av en tioårig grundskola (New continuing education initiative prepares for the introduction of a ten-year compulsory school). Press release 1st March 2021.

Regeringen, (2021d). Kunskapsresultaten förbättras i svenska skolan (The knowledge results get better in Swedish schools). Regeringen, Stockholm.

Regeringen, (2021e). Vårens nationella prov ställs in (National exams cancelled in spring 2021). Press release. Regeringen, Stockholm.

Regeringen, (2021f). Möjlighet för regeringen att tillfälligt frångå huvudregeln för fördelning av platser vid urval till högskolan vid extraordinära händelser i fredstid (Opportunity for the government to temporarily deviate from the main rule for the allocation of seats in university selection in the event of extraordinary events in peacetime). Regeringens proposition 2020/21:136. Regeringen, Stockholm.

Regeringen, (2021g). Möjlighet för regeringen att tillfälligt frångå huvudregeln för fördelning av platser vid urval till högskolan vid extraordinära händelser i fredstid (Opportunity for the government to temporarily deviate from the main rule for the allocation of seats in selection to the university in the event of extraordinary events in peacetime). Regeringens proposition 2020/21:136. Regeringen, Stockholm.

Regeringskansliet. Digitaliseringsstrategin [digitalisaton strategy]

Riksdagen (2021b). Tidsbegränsad lösning för att säkerställa tillgång till skolinformation, Konstitutionsutskottets betänkande 2020/21:KU31; Riksdagen, Stockholm.

Riksdagen (2021b). Möjlighet för regeringen att tillfälligt frångå huvudregeln för fördelning av platser vid urval till högskolan vid extraordinära händelser i fredstid, Utbildningsutskottets betänkande 2020/21:UbU18; Riksdagen, Stockholm.

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Annex I: Key indicators sources

Indicator Eurostat online data code
Participation in early childhood education educ_uoe_enra21
Low achieving eighth-graders in digital skills IEA, ICILS.
Low achieving 15-year-olds in reading, maths and science OECD (PISA)
Early leavers from education and training Main data: edat_lfse_14.
Data by country of birth: edat_lfse_02.
Exposure of VET graduates to work based learning Data for the EU-level target is not available. Data collection starts in 2021. Source: EU LFS.
Tertiary educational attainment Main data: edat_lfse_03.
Data by country of birth: edat_lfse_9912.
Participation of adults in learning Data for the EU-level target is not available. Data collection starts in 2022. Source: EU LFS.
Public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP gov_10a_exp
Expenditure on public and private institutions per student educ_uoe_fini04
Upper secondary level attainment edat_lfse_03

Annex II: Structure of the education system

Source: European Commission/EACEA/Eurydice, 2021. The Structure of the European Education Systems 2021/2022: Schematic Diagrams. Eurydice Facts and Figures. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.

Any comments and questions on this report can be sent to:


1 Eurostat, COFOG, 2019.

2 Idem.


4 Eurostat, EU-SILC: ilc_caindformal.

5 Eurostat, [educ_uoe_enra21].

6 Eurostat: isoc_sk_dskl_i.

7 Eurostat: edat_lfse_03

8 Eurostat, [edat_lfse_03]

9 Eurostat, [edat_lfs_9912]

10 Eurostat, [edat_lfse_24].