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Sweden: centralization and decentralization as implementation strategies
Department of Political Science, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Principal Development. Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
2013 (English)In: Transnational influences on values and practices in Nordic educational leadership: is there a Nordic model? / [ed] Lejf Moos, Dordrecht: Springer, 2013, 73-85 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

From the 1930s to 1980s, Swedish education was generally governed much in the same way as the rest of the social democratic welfare state. Policy was to be formulated at the national level through negotiation between leading politicians and representatives of major organised interests, implemented by neutral, rule-following civil servants and carried out by local authorities and professionals in the municipalities. In stark contrast, the past few decades have seen Sweden gain a reputation for having one of the most decentralised educational systems in the world, as decision-making powers previously held by the national parliament have been generously transferred to local authorities, quasi-markets, school leaders and other actors. At the same time, however, the state has not so much vanished as it has taken up a new set of core activities: centralised quality control through statutory regulations, oversight and sanctions. In this chapter, we document these changes and consider how the dual focus on centralisation and decentralisation has impacted on Swedish education. First, we provide an overview of the formal governing structure at the local level, focusing on how authority previously held by the state has been delegated to municipalities and independent schools. Second, we examine some of the new steering mechanisms enacted at the national level to control the performance of local actors. Third, we consider the role of educational leadership in the current system. This chapter concludes by assessing the implications of the reforms for the distribution of power between the state, the municipalities and the schools.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Dordrecht: Springer, 2013. 73-85 p.
, Studies in Educational Leadership, 19
National Category
Political Science Educational Sciences
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-67766DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-6226-8_6ISBN: 9789400762268 OnlineISBN: 9789400762251 PrintOAI: diva2:614003
Available from: 2013-04-03 Created: 2013-04-03 Last updated: 2016-06-10Bibliographically approved

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Johansson, OlofNihlfors, Elisabet
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