In 2019 more than 34% of adults participated in lifelong learning in Sweden, making it the highest rate in the European Union. A government bill on municipal adult education was adopted by the Parliament on the 3 June 2020 aiming to strengthen competence provision, accelerate the integration of immigrants and facilitate re- and upskilling of adults.
Adult education has a long tradition and an important role in Sweden. Each municipality is responsible for offering adult education to learners enabling them to work and play an active role in society. Qualitative municipal adult education has the potential to equip individuals with relevant competencies throughout their lives and to respond in their offer to rapid changes in the workplace, as well as tackling skill mismatch. The government concludes that municipal adult education plays a key role in providing relevant competence at regional and national levels and that’s why its decisive role is emphasised in the law.
The government bill aims to:
- clarify the objectives of adult municipal education by means of amendments to the Education Act;
- raise State grants for VET learners in municipal adult education;
- increase the supply of VET in adult education to ease transition to new study and career paths, particularly for newly arrived immigrants, allowing them to integrate easily in the labour market;
- give priority for admission to IVET to adults who are currently not prioritised. This includes individuals with a diploma from an upper secondary higher education preparatory programme or someone with a tertiary degree from another country;
- provide more opportunities for VET in education for adults with intellectual disabilities, both in the form of apprenticeship and as school-based training.
In conclusion, the government bill on municipal adult education aims to tackle skills shortage, safeguard competence provision and ease transition to new study and career paths.
Skolverket, ReferNet Sweden (2019). Vocational education and training in Europe - Sweden. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports 2018.
Eurydice – Sweden: adult education