The public sector
The Swedish Education System
The Swedish National Agency of Education, Skolverket, is the central administrative authority for the public school system, publicly organised preschooling, school-age childcare and for adult education. An illustration of the Swedish Education system here.
There are also private and independent schools run by associations, cooperatives, foundations and companies. There are about 1300 independent school units in Sweden (2021/2022) and almost 4000 preschools, that is 25% of the total number of preschools in Sweden. The decentralisation of the K-12 education system means that your customer mainly can be found on a municipality level or directly at the independent, private school owners.
Higher Education and Vocational education
There are approximately 50 higher education institutions in Sweden. See full list here.
Number of students and (schools):
- Preschool: 522.000 (9 450)
- Grade 1-9: 1.090.000 (4 798)
- Upper Secondary: 360.000 (1.300)
- Adult & Swedish as a second Language: 200.000
- Higher Education: 400.000
- Higher Vocational education: 79.200
Level of digitalisation
A long history - digital frontrunners
In Sweden we have a long history of digitalisation and we have seen digital efforts in the education sector for over 30 years. The schools are generally well equipped with high speed internet, 9 out of 10 students in secondary school have access to a digital device provided by the school. But there is still a lack of equality among schools, both in access to digital devices and learning resources but mostly in how they are used, even though the majority is more or less mature.
Technical standards and interoperability
As an effect of early digital efforts and differences between the municipalities and schools, we do not have a cohesive, seamless digital ecosystem when it comes to the soft infrastructure, i e standards for interoperability and data exchange. For example there are different SSO-solutions in the market and each municipality will have a digital ecosystem that you must integrate with.
It is important to make sure that you have knowledge about the technical standards that are applicable on your segment of products and services.
Our yearly reports - if you want to find out more about the Swedish edtech market and the history of digitalisation in schools (in Swedish though).
Supporting authorities and organisations
Technical standards and interoperability
- SIS, Swedish Institute of standards, and the committee SIS TK450 Information management within the education sector.
- FFIS, Forum for information management in schools. A forum run by Skolverket, the National Agency of Education together with Swedish Edtech and SALAR (Swedish association of local authorities and regions) in order to encourage and support interoperability.
- DIGG, Agency for Digital government
The market - competitors & partners
Sweden is known for its innovative climate, being a country fostering great entrepreneurs and several start up success stories. It is also a country who has led the way in providing high-quality education to its population, being one of the first countries to introduce compulsory government-run schooling for 7 to 13 year olds in 1842. And just over 50 years later, the concept of distance learning was invented in Sweden via Hermod's national correspondence courses. As a result, there is an edtech ecosystem of companies, government and institutions who exists to stimulate innovation and share best practice.
So Sweden is one of the countries where you have the most edtech companies and startups. Make sure you have a picture of both your competitors and your potential partners.
Get an overview of the market
- Edtechkartan, an overview of the companies that offer products and services to the Swedish schools (preschool, K12). Edtechkartan defines the different processes in school, on three levels: administrative (Huvudman), school leaders (Skolledning) and educational (Undervisning). And under each process relevant companies are tagged.
- European Edtech Map, an overview of edtech companies operating in the European market, including Sweden
Test your products on the Swedish Market
- Swedish Edtest, our national test bed for digital learning resources, owned by Ifous (an independent research institute) with Swedish Edtech Industry as partner. Here you get the possibilty to meet educators and teachers to test your products in a "real" education environment and this according to a research based method for testing in classroom situations.
If you want to be a part of Edest, you need to be a member in Swedish Edtech Industry (application of interest here).
The rules of the market
The Swedish Public Procurement Act
LOU, Swedish Public Procurement Act. A law that regulates how the public sector can make their purchases. This means that most schools are regulated in what they are “free” to buy and not. There are often framework agreements that you need to consider and maybe use as a way in to sell your products.
Then there are the private and independent schools run by associations, cooperatives, foundations and companies. These are not affected by the Procurement Act and are therefore considered to be easier to address.
The decision making
When reaching out to the schools aiming to sell your products, you need to find out who is in charge and are allowed to make decisions about what to buy. It is not the teachers. They may have a budget to buy learning materials, but they are not allowed to make decisions when it comes to buying new digital products. Here you have to talk to the principles and probably someone at the head of administration. You need to work both ways. From the top (administration) and from the bottom (the teachers).
Also notice that every municipality has its own ways of building and managing their digital ecosystem. And when it comes to agreements, both main agreements, SLA and Data processing agreements, there are often different persons/roles involved. For GDPR and the Data processing agreements, SALAR has templates (in Swedish and in English) used by many of the municipalities. In Sweden the municipalities are the personal data controller, which means that they do the risk analysis and information security check and someone in the head administration is the one signing the Data processing agreements. This someone can be different from municipality to municipality depending on how they are organised.