In response to being asked by the government to develop a national strategy for digital skills in education, the Swedish National Agency of Education has decided that all upper secondary learners should be able to learn general and applied programming.

The government has now announced a strategy (March 2017) which includes programming skills in compulsory school, and revised curricula and subject syllabuses for upper secondary education to improve learners’ digital competence. Diploma goals for vocational education and training (VET) programmes have been updated in line with the need for digital competences in different vocations.

The syllabuses of upper secondary programming subjects have been revised to help better reflect technological developments and labour market needs. In addition to general programming courses, ‘applied programming’ has been introduced as a new subject and is included in all upper secondary programmes. This new subject will allow students to deepen their knowledge of programming in relation to their chosen field of study and help them to develop an ability to use programming as a tool to solve complex problems and situations. For example, students in the creative arts could be able to learn how to programme music, while students in the industrial engineering field could learn to programme smart industry robots. Programming courses and applied programming are also applicable in adult general and VET education.

The discipline of programming is constantly developing and the fields in which it is applied are expanding, so the contents of the applied programming syllabus are formulated in general terms to open up for rapid changes and new areas of application. The teaching of applied programming, therefore, should not only include programming concepts, theories, models and methods but also develop the ability to apply computational thinking and programming to solve present and future problems, as well as an awareness of the possibilities and limitations of programming in these situations.

More information: Sweden – Improved IVET digital competence