- a brief historical overview
|The history of
public education in Sweden is long and varied. This short
introduction is not complete and since I'm not an expert
on this subject it may not be a selection of facts that a
professional historian would use.
The first schools
The first schools were
organized by the church (katedralskolor
in the dome parishes) and some monasteries (klosterskolor)
in the late middle ages. These were only for the
privileged students and mainly for education to become a
Early school forms
Trivialskola, from Latin trivialis = common and trivium = a 3-road-crossing. The 3 "roads" were the 3 subjects taught: Grammar, Rhetoric and Dialectics. The school form was first used in 1649 and ceased in 1820.
school form, created in the school law of 1649 but with
roots back in the middle ages, where writing and
mathematics for every-day use was taught. In the law of
1724 this was renamed
The education on a wider scale and accessible to most people was evolving as from the beginning of the 18th century, The church law of 1686 (again emphasized in the law named konventikelplakatet in 1726) gives the local church a responsibility to organize education in reading. The klockare (literally "bell-ringer", an employee of the parish) was tasked to teach all children in the parish to read and the basics of Christian faith. The institution of husförhör "encouraged" development of reading skills and basic knowledge of the Christian faith for all people. In fact the literacy in Sweden (reading skills) is assumed to be about 90 % already in the 18th century !
Early "school books"
The books that were
available to a broader public was the book of hymns and Lilla Katekesen
(The Small Catechism). The importance of "Lilla Katekesen"
in the old Swedish society can hardly be overestimated.
It was used not only as a source of religious knowledge
but was equally important as the first "reader"
- texts used for learning to read. It also served as a
small dictionary and most editions had a "väggtavla"
section at the end - a number of general advice to
different people like the husband, the wife, the child,
the labourer etc - advice and rules for "good and
Småskola and Folkskola
The creation of a
regulated school for all children, covering many subjects
beside the Christian faith, named folkskola
(literally "people's school or school for the
people") was created by a law of 1842. This
states a compulsory school attendance from the age of 7
(no later than 9) and the responsibility for all socken
(parish) and towns to arrange and fund the schools. As
from 1878 (normaltimplanen = standard
schedule) every child was entitled, as well as required,
to a total of 6 years at school.
The compulsory education was given in the folkskola for 6 - 7 years. Higher education was given at several different types of schools. The most common were the läroverk, early named lärdomsskola, created in the 19th century, usually 4-5 years and then the next level, the gymnasium (not to confuse with the English word) of 3-4 years. The next step is the University.
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|Last updated by||F Hae||2005-05-23 00:36||© Fredrik Haeffner, 2001-3|