Time use in Swedish schools

Publicerad 2002 av Lisbeth Lundahl

Social Sciences Pedagogiskt Arbete Educational Work Samhällsvetenskap
Typ av publikation: Konferensbidrag
Typ av innehåll: Refereegranskad publ.

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During the last twenty-five years, Sweden has turned from an education system characterised by strong central management and detailed regulation to having one of the most decentralised systems in Europe (OECD 1998). This shift has been accompanied by the introduction of market mechanisms, such as choice, vouchers and increased competition, and by considerable cuts in the budgets of municipalities and schools.

Today the State prescribes the educational objectives of pre-school, primary and secondary school, and controls the extent to which educational goals have been reached. Most other decisions, however, concerning e.g. the organisation of work, choice of methods and class sizes, are delegated to the local and, in particular, to the school level. Recently, still further steps towards decentralisation and deregulation have been taken, in regards to the regulation of time use and time allocation in primary school.

In this paper we critically examine the potential effects and importance of such a step, based upon an empirical study among school managers and headmasters. 1 Initially, the Swedish case is briefly presented and discussed in an international perspective.