Education in Sweden has recently introduced school reforms in order to improve the results of the schools and to create a higher status for the teaching profession. Social factors have had a big influence on education in Sweden and created an impact. In this piece of writing, I will be discussing and looking into equality in Swedish education as it is a main social factor and compare it to education in the UK. One of the main social factors is equality and The Swedish Education Act states that “all children and young people are to have equal access to education, regardless of gender, where they live or social or economic factors” (Swedish Institute, 2012). This therefore shows that equality is crucial in society as Sweden believes in everyone being entitled to the same opportunities, rights and obligations in all areas of one’s life. There are different forms of equality that Sweden takes into account. Gender equality is one of the cornerstones of Sweden, meaning men and women are to be given the same treatment. It is one of the reasons why gender pedagogy is becoming more and more common in Swedish pre-schools (förskola) that are being attended by children aged between one and five years old. The main aim and focus is the needs of the children and providing them with the same opportunities despite their gender or any other differences that they may have; this encourages them to be free from the expectations of society that it has on males and females. Karin Graff, who is a child psychologist, indicated that adults treated children differently according to their gender. In an official government report from 2006, where 34 projects were conducted focusing on equality, the evidence showed that teachers focused more of their attention on boys. It also showed that teachers spoke to girls in a conversational way whereas when teachers spoke to boys, it was in a strict and disciplined way. Although the teachers were completely unaware that they treated the children differently based on their gender, making teachers more aware of this and changing how they treat them would be the first step to creating gender equality in education. Another method, which has been put into practice, is separating boys and girls into different groups. Due to this method, boys have been able to improve their language skills and been able to understand the needs of others better and girls have been able to gain more confidence (Hasbar, 2010). The results show that gender pedagogy has been successful due to the positive improvements in the behaviour of children. Gender equality is therefore very important to Swedish education, which is the reason why it is addressed throughout elementary school in Sweden; to help children prepare themselves for further education. In reference to gender equality in education in Sweden and comparing it to education in England, there is not a huge amount of difference as gender equality plays a key role in both. In the UK, a scheme called the Gender Equality Duty has been introduced for a number of reasons. The reasons were to create “better informed decision-making and policy development, a clearer understanding of the needs of service users, better quality services which meet varied needs, more effective targeting of policy and resources, better results and greater confidence in public services; and a more effective use of talent in the workforce” (Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education, 2011), in order to improve areas of one’s life. In addition to that, it is fundamental that public authorities are proactive about tackling discrimination, preventing harassment and promoting equality as it will help speed up the process and it also allows children to be taught that we are all equals in this world. Each school in England have specific duties to act on, which are to research and use relevant information about eliminating discrimination and harassment and promoting gender equality, consult stakeholders to determine...
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