8.5 Developing cultural and creative competences
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According to the Curriculum for the upper secondary school, a task for the school is to promote understanding and compassion for others:
'The internationalisation of Swedish society and increasing cross-border mobility place high demands on the ability of people to live with and appreciate the values inherent in cultural diversity. The school is a social and cultural meeting place with both the opportunity and the responsibility to strengthen this ability among all who work there.
Familiarity with the culture and history of Sweden and the Swedish language should be strengthened through teaching in many of the subjects studied in the school. A secure identity and awareness of one’s own cultural origins, and sharing a common cultural heritage, strengthens the ability to understand and empathise with the values and conditions of others.
Schools must help students to develop an identity that can be related to and encompass not only what is specifically Swedish, but also that which is Nordic, European, and ultimately global.'
Since 2011, arts subjects are not among the obligatory foundation subjects (gymnasiegemensamma ämnen) in upper secondary education. The Upper Secondary Education Inquiry (Gymnasieutredningen) proposed that all the national programmes in upper secondary schools should again incorporate an arts subject. The Swedish Parliament rejected the proposal by a vote in June 2018.
Municipal culture schools
Municipal culture school (kommunala kulturskolan) form the largest voluntary cultural activity for children and young people in Sweden, and activities in arts school attract larger number of children and adolescents than the schools can accept. See chapter 8.2 for more information.
Folk high schools
The folk high school (folkhögskolan) is aimed primarily at adult students from the age of 18 years. There are about 150 folk high schools in Sweden. Many are linked to the civil society, CSOs, foundations or associations. Some 40 folk high schools are operated by county councils or regions. Each school is free to create their own profile, as there is not a common curriculum.
Studies in arts, music, handicraft, theatre etc. have a very strong position among the courses offered. For many young people a year or two in folk high school is their first step towards a creative carrier.
Young people's own cultural activities, outside of family or school context, often take place in study circles and in other activities within liberal adult education (folkbildning). Young people from the age of 13 years can participate in these activities.
Of all study circle participants in 2010, the share in the age range:
- 13-24 years was 13%,
- 25-65 years was 67%
- over 65 years was 20%
Of the total number, about 175 000 young people took part of a cultural study circle. Among them, only 36% were female while 64% were male.
Government grants to youth organisations and projects
There is a long tradition of government grants to non-profit youth organisations in Sweden. Support to young people’s creativity is one of the priorities. Of the year 2021 central government budget for the youth policy area, about 28 million euros (280 million Swedish kronor) were deposited as a state grant to youth organisations. More information is provided in section 5.6, Supporting youth organisations.
Besides the total figures above, it is currently not possible to estimate the size of the share that has been granted for benefiting young people’s creativity and cultural participation.
The Culture School Inquiry proposed in 2016 that a new vocational qualification of arts school teachers should be established. According to the Inquiry, a programme targeting the specific educational environment of culture schools is essential for many reasons, but especially in order to strengthen the educational foundations of the arts school sector.
This proposal has resulted in that, since 2019, six higher education institutions are offering new courses for those wanting to supplement their artistic education with pedagogy for work in culture school. The new courses are aimed at both active artists and people already working in the culture school.
Municipalities have a great need for teaching skills in areas of the arts that are not found within the scope of any of the existing training programmes’ main fields of study, according to the Culture School inquiry. Working in an arts school requires both artistic and teaching skills, which means that a arts schools teaching qualification should have a basis in educational science, but with artistic skills as an entry requirement.
The National Board of Housing, Building and Planning (Boverket) has been commissioned by the Government to distribute grants for better access to physical meeting places throughout the country. Support can be granted to measures aiming for adapting a community centre (samlingslokal) for youth activities.
A community centre is a location that is open and available to the civil society for meetings, study activities, cultural activities, entertainment, leisure or any other similar activity. Support may also be granted for stimulating young people's activities in the cultural and leisure area.