30 years with independent schools:
New book about the Swedish school sector

It’s been 30 years since the “school choice reform” of 1992. In the new book, “A window opened …”, we look at the Swedish school sectors’ development – since 1842. Authors Anders Johnson and Nils Johan Tjärnlund explore how public and private schools have overlapped for almost two centuries in developing Swedish schools.

When the school choice reform, sometimes called school voucher reform (in Swedish, “friskolereformen”) was implemented in Sweden in 1992, many people in the school sector described it as a window being opened, letting fresh air in. Teachers, students and parents were given choices that did not exist under the previous public school monopoly. The new independent schools that emerged, and that receive government funding in the form of “student vouchers” but operates independently of the public school system, have since been a recurring topic of debate.  The debate is heating up even more now, ahead of the upcoming parliamentary elections in Sweden in September 2022.  But when you look even further back in Swedish school history, it becomes clear that private school forces have driven much of Sweden’s school’s development, ever since the first Education Act of 1842.

The book “A window opened … – From comprehensive schools to freedom of choice and diversity” opens by writer Anders Johnson who describes how the Swedish school sector has developed from the first Education Act of 1842, via innovative private girls and coed schools and the following public school monopoly, until the school choice reform 150 years later. Science journalist and historian Nils Johan Tjärnlund then describes the time after the school reform in 1992, in an essay where he has interviewed active school leaders and teachers about the past 30 years. In a concluding chapter, school leaders from independent schools reason about their experiences, the future of the Swedish school sector and about always having the students’ best interests front and center.

The book “A window was opened…” is funded by the Swedish Association of Independent Schools. All research and conclusions are the authors’ own.

The book is available for purchase in our Bookstore and where books are sold.

Project team

The book was project managed by:

Printed by Brand Factory.