Future scenarios in a context of local educational governance


Background: In the 1990s significant changes took place in the Swedish educational system. Previously strong central government control was replaced by a goal-oriented system with considerable local control with greater freedom of action and on-site influence. Decisions as to the concrete form, content and organisation of teaching were to be made at school level. The responsibility of meeting national objectives decided by the Riksdag (Swedish parliament) now lies with the local authorities (municipalities).


Objective: To use scenarios to examine the applicability of futures thinking as a tool for school improvement, decision-making and planning within the national and a local context. MSU agreed to a two-year commitment with the purpose of contributing to an internationally broad application framework for future thinking in education.  This means that the Swedish initiative adopts a deliberate future-oriented approach to support innovative capacity for leadership, operative strategies and school improvement in according with the Swedish decentralized educational philosophy and responsibilities of the Agency.


Target: Primary and secondary education


Timeframe: 2005 – 2008


Who runs it: The Swedish National Agency for School Improvement (MSU), Analysis and Support Unit (AU)


How does it work: The Agency is using the OECD scenarios in two phases and action levels--on the national level and in the Borås municipality.


On the national level:

  • Phase 1 :
    • Project group participation in scenario-analysis training program arranged by consultants.
    • Initiating the survey, Schooling 2021.
    • Organizing future-oriented thinking seminars at the Agency.
  • Phase 2:
    • In cooperation with the Institute for Future Studies, an anthology discussing the future of public and independent schooling was produced and presented at an open seminar.
    • Translating OECD Trends in Education.

In the Borås municipality:

  • Phase 1: Work according to the TAIDA model (a framework for thinking of the future: Tracking, Analysing, Deciding, and Acting) in a pilot municipality, Borås.
  • Phase 2: Exploratory study evaluating the municipality’s processes, starting with Phase 1, September 2007.

Evaluation: Continual, formative local evaluations organized in the municipality as well as a summative evaluation at the end of the project on Sweden’s participation in SfT as a whole.


Project related websites:


Project related documents (.pdf):

Sweden, Schooling 2021 Publication


Project report (.pdf):

SfT country report Sweden


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