The Educational System of The United States vs Sweden


An American flag during an early fall sunset.

Hampus Arvidsson, Flash Staff Reporter

      Sweden is a first world country in the northern part of Europe with a population of just above 10 million people. Our state is built on a mix between Democratic Socialism and Constitutional Monarchy. Which means that yes, we do have a royal family but they have no power whatsoever and only serve as a symbol & representative of the nation, the actual power is in the hands of our elected government called parliament which leads our country through a milder form of a socialistic democracy.       Our schooling system consist of 13 years of base education and is a 100% free. kindergarten, Elementary school (grades 1 through 6), middle school (grades 7 through 9) & high school ( grades 10, 11 & 12). Kindergarten, elementary school and middle school works much like American schools. However, when it comes to Swedish and American High Schools, there’s a substantial difference. First of all there’s the small differences such as the fact that we don’t have any sports connected to the actual high schools and we go through most of our classes with the same group of people.

      But then there’s the fact that High School in Sweden is more like College in the US. We don’t just automatically get assigned a High School depending on what district we live in. We apply to our high schools, with our grades, just as America does with college. We also don’t really apply to the High Schools itself but more towards the High Schools specific program and departments we want to get into. Programs range from more academic ones such as the Social Science program, Science program and the Economy program to more practical ones such as the Electrical program, Restaurant & Nutrition program or the Health & Social Care program.

      So is it for better or for worse? Some might argue that the system faults with giving students an individualized learning, but that’s just what they’re getting. They get to, by themselves, pick and apply to exactly what High School and what program they want. It works for all students. The ones who know exactly what they want at the age of 15 can begin working towards their goals early in life, and the ones who ain’t quite sure of what they wanna do can choose a broader academic program and since the programs specialize into areas there’s great opportunities for students looking for work right after High School. It also reaches highly ambitious students through the Elite programs in not only Academics and Practical areas but also Sports. The system gives everyone an honest chance at reaching their goals wherever they come from or whatever they might be. Sure, students often have to travel a lot with busses and trains to get to their handpicked high schools which often ain’t too close to home, but they get free public transportation and time for some extra sleep so it might just be a bonus.

      Then there is one more substantial difference between the Swedish and the American educational system. In Sweden, everything is simply free. And that means that everything from tuition to writing utensils & notebooks to field trips and even the cafeteria food, is free by law. This apply to all levels of education, from kindergarten up to university and as believed by the Swedish people, gives every single Swedish citizen a fair chance at their education and upcoming careers.

A sign showing cafeteria prices at Fraser High School, MI. In Sweden all cafeteria foods are free and available to students during not only lunch hours, but throughout most of the day.
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