The Educationalization of the Swedish Welfare State and the Expectations of School Teachers

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The establishment of a comprehensive school for all children in Sweden in the 1960s was a change from the previous selective school system. There was a great belief in the importance of increased equality and the new school had a strong focus on “democracy” and “fostering future citizens” and arguably less emphasis on “knowledge transfer.” This chapter examines the new expectations on both the teacher’s and student’s roles with an increased focus on student participation and the teacher’s social role. Centrally planned and student-active teaching methods, such as group work and individual projects, emerged that teachers were expected to implement. The difficulties with implementing centrally developed solutions became clear in the 1980s. Sweden started moving from a centralized view of education to discussing the importance of not politically steering teachers. New public management took hold in the public sector. The chapter furthermore explores if the Swedish school system may have been a case of “educationalization,” which has become a feature of many countries’ school systems: Education was seen as a vehicle for reducing social differences and increasing social mobility.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2022

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