children playing

Five years with the maximum fee

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Skolverket, English Summary of Report 294
Swedish National Agency for Education (Skolverket)
Publication Date: 
1 Apr 2007

Excerpts from report:

The Swedish National Agency for Education was commissioned by the Government to follow up and evaluate the childcare reform that was carried out in Sweden between 2001 and 2003. The report is intended to provide a brief description of the reform and its effects.

Some of the effects of the reform in the report are described in the following. Variations in fees have decreased considerably and municipalities' fee systems have become simpler and more uniform after the introduction of the maximum charge. The reform has also led to higher enrollment, particularly in pre-school. Availability of pre-school is very high, while the availability of leisure-time centres is still variable among municipalities.

Follow-ups have shown that there are some conflicts. For instance, municipalities are responsible for offering places in child care without unreasonable delay, within 3&em;4 months after the person with custody has requested a place. However, this may conflict with quality requirements. According to the Education Act, there shall be staff with sufficient education, training and experience to meet children's needs for care and good educational activity. Also, child groups shall have a suitable composition and size, with premises fit to accommodate these. Different strategies have been developed by the municipalities to accommodate such circumstances including creating larger child groups, temporary activities, and special morning groups.

The Swedish National Agency for Education has noted that the effects of the reform accord in many ways with the existing goals and intentions. However, the importance to safeguard quality issues is expressed.