Country Focus - Sweden

The school-system of Sweden is decentralized, hence there is a shared responsibility between national and local authorities concerning school where most responsibility and decisions are taken on local and school-level. It is mandatory for local/regional authorities and schools to share data with Statistics Sweden on behalf of The National Agency for Education.

There are 290 municipalities in Sweden, self-governed by local authorities, responsible for different sectors and activities, i.e., the school sector. The fulfilment of the National Action Plan for the Digitalisation of Schools in Sweden (2019-2022) therefore, to a large extent is dependent on the local authorities. All of Sweden's municipalities, county councils and regions are members of SALAR (Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions). SALAR represents the local authorities in the continuous cooperation with the Swedish Government Offices and the Swedish National Agency for Education. In an agreement (2018-2019) between SALAR and the Swedish Government, SALAR (in cooperation with the local authorities in Sweden and the school sector overall) developed the Swedish National Action Plan (2019-2022) for Digitalization in the School Sector. The National Action Plan consists of different suggested activities for both the Government and the local authorities to implement, of which one of the initiatives specifically focuses on digitally processed data for learning and monitoring. The National Agency is currently developing a new cycle of the National Action Plan for the period of 2023-2027.

Many schools in Sweden also have their own digital strategy based on the National Strategy. There is a national system for schools to assess their digitalisation, similar to the SELFIE tool. Sweden is planning to digitalise national tests for 3rd, 6th, 9th grade and upper secondary level in 2024 and testing will be accessed through a single sign on system for facilitating access as well as data exchange.

Since Sweden does not have a system for the use and exchange of national educational data, EdTech business has an important operational role in storing and managing educational data within and from local authorities and schools. The Swedish Edtech Industry is a trade association for EdTech companies operating in Sweden. It has been serving the education sector as an organisation since 2017 and represents over 90 educational technology companies operating in Sweden such as hardware, educational publishers, digital learning resources like learning platforms, apps and also management solutions.

With the rise of ChatGPT, the National Agency of Education started providing guidance for teachers on the chat tool. An Innovation Lab focuses on AI use within the agency. In parallel, Sweden is developing its own chat AI called "GPT-SWE" using a supercomputer at the Linköping University.

An interesting initiative that ensures collaboration between schools and EdTech is the Swedish Edtest project. Swedish EdTest was a project jointly funded by the Edtech sector, 12 municipalities, and Vinnova, Sweden's National Agency for Innovation. It brought together educators, students and EdTech companies to test products with real users. When schools test EdTech products, their testing work is recognised with a certificate. In turn, digital tool providers get feedback from educators and show that they take their thoughts into account. To date, more than 50 digital resources/tools have been tested and hundreds of educators have been involved in the Swedish Edtest.