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In 2015, the Government commissioned the Swedish National Agency for Education to propose two IT strategies, one for preschool and compulsory education and one for upper secondary education. The agency has completed the task and reported to the Government in 2016. The strategy includes the following vision for 2022:
- All students develop adequate digital skills.
- The school system is characterized by the potential of digitalisation, so that digital tools and resources contribute to improved results and efficiency.
In order for the vision to be realized, the following needs to take place, according to the strategy:
- The governance documents for upper secondary school need to clarify the task of providing students with adequate digital skills.
- Head masters need to have adequate ability to strategically lead digital development work.
- Staff working with students in upper secondary school need to have the ability to choose and use appropriate digital tools in their work.
- Staff working with students in upper secondary school need to have access to digital tools and teaching resources for work in and outside school.
- Students need to have access to digital tools and teaching resources for work in and outside school.
- There has to be sufficient infrastructure as well as technical and educational support at the school units.
- There has to be a wide range of digital teaching materials that make efficient use of digital techniques' capabilities, and in addition, other digital learning resources need to be widely used.
In March 2017, the Government decided on the following adjustments in curricula and syllabuses that aim to strengthen media literacy and online safety in different ways:
- programming is introduced as a distinct element in various subjects in compulsory education, especially in technology and mathematics
- the abilities of students to critically evaluate sources is to be strengthened
- the abilities of students to solve problems and translate ideas into action in a creative way with the use of digital technology is to be strengthened
- students are to work with digital texts, media and tools
- students are to use and understand digital systems and services
- students are to develop an understanding of the impact of digitalisation on the individual and society.
The amendments apply from July 2018. The Swedish Media Council (Medierådet) and the National Agency for Education (Skolverket) are the main government actors responsible for promoting the use of digital media, empowering children and young people as conscious media users and protecting them from harmful media influences.
The Swedish Media Council (Statens medieråd) is a government agency devoted to gathering, interpreting and disseminating research on children's and young people's use of media. The council also produces information and teaching materials on Media and Information Literacy (MIL) for schools and libraries.
The Swedish Media Council has, during January 2015–June 2016, been responsible for the Swedish part of the EU Commission's project Safer Internet, to promote a safer and better use of the internet and mobile technologies among children and young people.
Safer Internet Centre Sweden (SIC SE) worked with the concept of MIL based on the UNESCO framework and definitions, with minor national adaptations. The Swedish Media Council’s learning tool MIL for me, an online training resource on media and information literacy, is available at the Safer Internet network's site Betterinternetforkids.eu, as well as at the web site of the Media Council.
The digital training materials in 'MIL for me' are aimed for strengthening young people’s skills to cope with anti-democratic messages at the Internet and in social media. Part of that work is to strengthen young people's critical thinking and their abilities to evaluate different sources in relation to the media.
‘MIL for me’ won the prize for the best educational tool in media and information literacy for children and young people of the European network Insafe (a part of the Safer Internet).
No hate speech
Between 2013 and 2020, the Swedish Media Council run the European Council campaign No Hate Speech Movement in Sweden, at the directive of the Swedish government. The aim of the campaign is to prevent racism, sexism, xenophobia, and other forms of intolerance and to shield democracy from violent extremism. The campaign focuses particularly on promoting human rights, democracy and equality on the Internet, and encouraging source criticism and critical thinking in relation to media. The final report presents the main results.
In 2015, the Government gave the Swedish Media Council (Statens mediaråd) the task to develop the No Hate Speech Movement-campaign to include efforts to safeguard democracy against violent extremism. The campaign is to be specifically focused on the internet and social media, as extremist groups use the internet and social media to distribute propaganda and other materials that glorify and reinforce norms relating to masculinity and violence.
The Media Council provides schools with the method material 'Propaganda and the power of images' (Propaganda och bilders makt), as a part of their efforts to safeguard democracy against violent extremism. The campaign aims at strengthening the ability of children and young people to resist anti-democratic and pro-violence messages in the media.
See section 4.5, Key initiatives to safeguard democracy and prevent radicalisation which lead to violent extremism, for more information.