History to become compulsory school subject

History is set to become a compulsory subject in Swedish high schools. Minister for Education Jan Björklund is a fervent supporter of the move, which is to be presented by the government as part of a high school reform package next year.

History to become compulsory school subject
Photo: Peter Grant/ Imagebank Sweden

Within a few years, all gymnasium students will be required to take at least a basic history course, including those who have chosen to pursue vocational programmes.

“Though history is a subject of major cultural importance, for the entire post-war period the Swedish education system has treated it like something the cat dragged in. In curriculum after curriculum the subject has become progressively smaller. It’s not acceptable,” Jan Björklund told Svenska Dagbladet.

The proposed reform has been added to an ongoing governmental report in the form of a supplementary directive.

The directive has been welcomed by all political parties and the National Union of Teachers (Lärarnas Riksförbund), which has long pushed for a change.

“We can’t stress enough how important it is that history as a subject is to be valued more highly at the gymnasium level,” said union chairwoman Metta Fjelkner in a statement.

The government is to present the full report at the end of March next year. The reforms are scheduled to take effect in autumn 2010.

The gymnasium is the top level of the Swedish high school system and is attended by pupils aged 16 to 19.