Preschool and primary schoolPreschools are overseen on a municipal level in Sweden, and attendance is optional and available for children from one year up to the fall semester when they turn six years old. In 2020, 85.4 percent of all children of preschool age were attending one of the 9,589 preschools in the country. That was the highest share during the period from 2010 to 2020. While children can enter preschool from the age of one, preschool attendance was most common for four-year-olds.
After preschool, the next step on the education ladder is primary school. Primary school institutions are also overseen by municipalities and consist of nine years of compulsory education. The nine years are divided into three stages: lower school, intermediate school, and junior high school. The number of primary schools decreased since 2012 and amounted to 4,798 institutions in the school year 2020/21. However, the number of pupils attending primary school increased annually since 2010, reaching roughly 1.1 million pupils in 2020; a development which resulted in a constant increase in the average number of pupils per primary school in the country.
Upper secondary and higher educationContrary to primary school, upper secondary education is optional in Sweden. Over 360 thousand students were admitted to the 1273 upper secondary schools in the school year 2020/21, which was the highest number of students since 2011. Unlike primary schools, the average number of students per upper secondary school decreased significantly over the past decade and amounted to 283 students per school in 2021.
Upper secondary schools primarily prepare for higher education, and nearly 360 thousand students were registered at higher education institutions in Sweden in 2019. Most students were enrolled at the University of Stockholm, with close to 45 thousand registrations. Other popular universities were Uppsala University, and the University of Gothenburg. In terms of gender, a larger proportion of women than men complete a higher education course of three years or more. Despite this significant difference, more Swedish men than women hold doctorate degrees (PhDs).