The Swedish Schools Inspectorate’s View of Swedish Schools

  •  Lisbeth Lindström    
  •  Solange Perdahl    


The purpose of this article is to shed some light on and give some examples of how the Swedish schools have interpreted their mission of educating young people and preparing them for the role of active citizens. More specifically, we are interested in how the “good” or “aspirational” school is presented in the reports published by the Swedish Schools Inspectorate. Our departure point will be the inspection work conducted by the Swedish Schools Inspectorate between 2009 and 2012. The selection of data is based on our wish to highlight supervisory reports, quality audit reports and targeted inspection reports. Another selection principle has been that not only municipal schools, but also independent schools, had to be represented among the analysed documents. Five of the reports are quality audit reports, two are the result of targeted inspections, and finally we have analysed one supervisory report. The results indicate that the aim of improving the pupils’ knowledge results is a high priority for the Inspectorate, as is the goal to ensure all children and pupils’ equal rights to a good education in a safe and stimulating environment, and to develop their civic skills. The analysed reports show that the inspections have revealed inadequate fulfilment of all these goals. Whether school inspections can functionally contribute to fulfilling the goal of educational equality, improving the knowledge of Swedish pupils and helping them develop into good citizens is debatable. On the one hand, the auditing function in itself constitutes a threat to the school operations developing a sense of judgement that would allow for reflections beyond the concept of effectiveness, and on the other hand the audits may, paradoxically enough, liberate the strength to question the discursive dominance of the Swedish Schools Inspectorate, shaped by systemic world logic, and thereby achieve an independent development.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1927-5250
  • ISSN(Online): 1927-5269
  • Started: 2012
  • Frequency: bimonthly

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