Sweden decides on a less digital approach to schools

Sweden invests more in print media for the education sector, and plants to apply breaks to the use of digital devices in schools.

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Owing to the decline in the country’s performance on the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS), the newly installed Swedish government allocated 64.7 million to purchase print books. Politicians and experts criticised the country’s hyper-digitalised approach to education used under the previous administration. In the 2021 iteration of the PIRLS, Sweden’s fourth-grade learners dropped 11 points from its 2016 average performance. 

Even though its 555 average score on the PIRLS still places Sweden amongst the top ten performers like Taiwan and Singapore, its Minister of Schools is adamant about a curriculum change for more printed books, quiet reading and handwriting practice. Less time will be devoted to acquiring digital skills, particularly for preschoolers.

The Ministry will no longer make digital learning and devices mandatory in preschools, a policy implemented by the National Agency for Education.

Why does it matter?

Amidst the drive to digitalise education, other European countries have also implemented cautionary measures to mitigate the potential risks associated with the digitalisation of education. The sentiments resonate with several local and international groups, including the UNESCO GEM 2023 report, which cautions educators to tailor technology to reflect education inclusivity, efficiency, sustainability and the local context.