Folk high schools in Sweden

Folk high schools - study centers for adults - have a long background in Scandinavia and most of them have their roots in the popular movements. A characteristic feature of the Swedish folk high schools is, among other things, their freedom to develop the content and direction of their own courses.

The first folk high schools in Sweden were established in 1868 and today there are 150 such schools in the country. Despite being separate from the public school system, folk high schools are now an important and established part of the Swedish education system. 107 of the schools are run by various popular movements, organizations and associations (NGOs), while the remaining 43 are run by county councils or regions.

In having the freedom to develop the content and direction of their own courses, folk high schools diverge from ordinary schools in many ways. There is no centrally established, standard curriculum for the folk high schools; each school makes its own decisions regarding teaching plans within the limits set by a special ordinance.

Folk high schools offer a unique opportunity to enhance each individual’s human resources. The students’ experiences of working life and society are put to use in studies, and their contribution is vital. The schools constitute small, educational societies where each individual makes a difference. Studying in a warm and open environment, working closely with other students and staff stimulates personal growth and development. The traditional freedom of the folk high school has led to ample experimentation and educational innovation; problem orientated and thematic studies for longer or shorter periods are for example quite common.

Read more about folk high schools here.