Swedish 14-year-olds are ranked second in the international ICCS study presented by the Swedish National Agency for Education today. The ICCS measures knowledge, attitudes, and participation in civic, democratic, and social issues.
– It is gratifying that Swedish eighth grade students stand strong when it comes to learning about democracy and society. At the same time, the picture is split as we see a growing difference in outcomes between groups of students with different socioeconomic backgrounds. The school has a democratic mission based on important values. Education Minister Lotta Edholm says that young people having a good knowledge of democracy and social issues is crucial for them to be able to understand and participate in society.
The study shows that differences in outcomes are increasing between schools and between high- and low-achieving students. Students with a less favorable socio-economic background fare worse, and immigration background also affects results. The Education Minister also takes seriously the fact that Swedish students’ trust in people in general has declined further since the last ICCS study in 2016.
Schools have an important role when it comes to reversing worrying development. Therefore, the government proposed, among other things, strengthening the knowledge grant directed at the neediest schools and strengthening the state grant to improve the working conditions of teachers in schools in vulnerable areas. Lotta Edholm says the government is working to improve the working environment for teachers, increase safety and calm at school and in classrooms, and invest in early interventions.