The Teachers' Lift 2
2012 - present
Teachers' Lift 2 is about securing the supply of certified teachers to the education sector (primary and secondary).
Data and labour market forecasts show a large shortage of certified teachers now and in coming years. By funding studies, the instrument aims at increasing the number of certified teachers. The aim is to raise the competence and increase the accreditation of qualified, practicing teachers, in subjects they already teach. Via courses given by the Swedish National Agency for Education, teachers improve their subject knowledge and acquire tools for enhancing didactic skills. The teachers also have the opportunity to exchange views and experiences with other teachers. Upon completion, teachers can apply for new subject accreditation within their certificate. A total of 1,906 participants have begun a course by 2016.
The mismatch problem in this context is that there are teachers working, but they lack the appropriate qualifications to obtain a certificate to teach. Through the instrument, these teachers can study and gain certificate to continue teaching.
Main responsible body
Swedish National Agency for Education (Swedish: Skolverket)
The government fund the Teachers' Lift via grants to the Swedish National Agency for Education, who contracts the universities to complete the courses within the Teachers' Lift. The teachers who are in need of additional qualifications apply for the courses. The school owners can apply for grants by the Swedish National Agency for Education to facilitate the studies. Higher grants are given for studying courses in subjects in areas where the demand for qualified teachers are higher. The government monitors the Teachers' lift and a couple of government authorities have evaluated the instrument.
During 2016 the cost of the instrument was SEK 186 million. The funding is provided by the government to the Swedish National Agency for Education to cover courses and state grants to teachers for taking part in courses. Funds are given on an annual basis. SEK 90 million is committed for 2018.
Teachers can receive education that allows them to be certified to teach. Pupils are taught by certified teachers, thus it serves the society as a whole.
Use of labour market intelligence
The Swedish National Agency for Education forecasts the needs of teachers now and in the future. The forecasts indicate which subjects and forms of education the country needs. The forecasts are used to design the range of courses.
The teacher's employer can apply for and receive state grants to finance individual teachers' studies. Government grants are paid by the Swedish National Agency for Education.
Frequency of updates
Analyses of the labour market needs of different categories of teachers are used to design the course offerings, based on forecasts. This does not happen with a predetermined regularity. There are ongoing forecasts made by several actors, but a comprehensive forecast of the need for pre-school teachers and teachers was made by the Swedish National Agency for Education in 2015. It shows the recruitment needs of different teacher categories in pre-school, school, leisure and adult education over 2014-2029.
The effort has been extended to include more groups of teachers after forecasts and available statistics show that there is a need for these teachers.
The Swedish National Agency for Education noted that some school owners do not prioritise this qualifying education to a great extent. Many school owners signal that government funding is too weak and therefore, one of the reasons why more teachers do not participate. Another reason is that the school owners consider that it is the teacher's own responsibility to acquire the required qualifications.
That teachers' employers encourage teachers to participate in the initiative, and teachers get the opportunity to participate, for example, through the possibility of combining work and studies.
The number of teachers who participated in the initiative and the number of teachers with the right certificate.
The fact that the Swedish National Agency for Education is offering courses in cooperation with universities is innovative in a Swedish context. It increases the opportunity to offer courses based on national analyses and assessments of the labour market needs, instead of the university's propensity to offer different courses.
Evidence of effectiveness
Since the beginning of 2012, approximately 13,500 people have begun a qualifying subject course within the framework of the Teachers' Lift. The Swedish National Agency for Education is concluding that the instrument is an important education initiative for teachers who need to make completions to get their credentials (according to the Agency's assessment of the situation in the Swedish school system 2015). The aim was to raise the competence and increase the accreditation of qualified, practicing teachers, in subjects they already teach. The instrument has lead to more certified teachers, and the Swedish National Agency for Education states that the instrument is so important that it should be a permanent instrument.
Engagement of stakeholders
The investment is dependent on government funding, and the National Agency for Education wishes the Government to continue the funding. The universities are involved by planning and implementing the courses within the Teachers' Lift in dialogue with the Swedish National Agency for Education. The universities market their own courses in relation to the teachers.
How to secure the future supply of teachers is an area that many EU countries need to take into account. The instrument may be worth considering for countries that need to develop skills among already existing personnel, to deal with mismatch within sectors. The entire layout would be possible to transfer to other countries. But the system is based on the fact that it is for the state to contract universities to implement the courses that the state considers necessary. Therefore, the system is transferable, however not easily, to other countries.
Given the alarming shortage of certified teachers, the government will most likely fund the instrument over the next few years.