School children © Getty Images
The Swedish school system is beside municipally run schools based on independent schools, so called friskola. The friskola is funded by a combination of tuition charges, gifts and investments from a foundation. All independent schools are tax-financed through an educational voucher for every enrolled student called skolpeng, which is a permanent sum, paid by the Swedish Government. Invented in the 1990s the independent schools have received a vast amount of pupils. While during the 1990s 15,000 were attending independent schools, the number has risen up to 120,000 pupils in 2012/13.
The Swedish National Agency of Education supports, supervises and evaluates both municipally run and independent schools. Furthermore the agency tries to strengthen the dialogue between government and education providers in order to create a more sustainable basis. The Swedish school system has been facing several problems in the last few years, one being the absence of long-term conditions for education providers. The Swedish National Agency of Education has identified the problem and is now trying to help solve it.
In the 2014 budget proposal, Swedish government proposed to invest SEK 960 million (around £90 million) into research and development, including universities and higher education providers. This includes SEK 600 million (around £56 million) which will be spent on research and on the apprenticeship of researchers at universities and colleges.
Education material for pupils and adults with special needs: Around 4-5% of Sweden’s population has dyslexia, around 15,000 people are deaf. 10,000 of those become deaf during their childhood. According to statistics, 70,000 Swedes stammer and around 40,000 people have some kind of speech disorder.
Innovative education material for natural sciences. From 2012-16 the Swedish Government plans to invest SEK 245 million (around £23 million) on extensive mathematic classes to focus on children who will become Sweden’s future engineers.
Digital education material – business opportunities may occur in the ICT sector as Sweden is undertaking research with e-book readers in primary schools. There are currently 25 publishing companies in the Swedish teaching material market of which five dominate the market. However, the quality of printed and digital teaching material has decreased for the last few years and therefore priorities lie in raising the quality of digital and printed teaching material.
Digital media for new education methods, such as “flipped classroom”, where students learn new content online.
Getting into the market
To successfully enter the Swedish market, UK companies can either apply for tenders or sell directly into the independent schools.
Please note that tenders and tender documents are in Swedish only, if not procured via TED. Therefore, we recommend UK companies to have local partners e.g. translator, law firm etc ready before applying.
Another alternative is to sell via an agent or distributor that is already established in the market.
Market intelligence is critical when doing business overseas, and UKTI can provide bespoke market research and support during overseas visits though our chargeable Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS).
To commission research or for general advice about the market, get in touch with our specialists in country – or contact your local international trade team.
Sabine Kauer, British Embassy Stockholm. Tel: +46 (0)8 671 30 46 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
UKTI runs a range of events for exporters, including seminars in the UK, trade missions to overseas markets and support for attendance at overseas trade shows.
Skolforum (School Forum)
27-29 October 2014
Gymnasiemässan (High School Trade Fair)
20-22 November 2014
Bok och bibliotek (Gothenburg Book Fair)
25-28 September 2012