High ability education in Sweden

The Swedish model

Authored by: Åke W. Edfeldt , Inger Wistedt

The Routledge International Companion to Gifted Education

Print publication date:  September  2008
Online publication date:  February  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415461368
eBook ISBN: 9780203609385
Adobe ISBN: 9781136028786


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In the 1980s, L.M. Cohan commented on the state of gifted education in Sweden in the International Encyclopedia of Education (Husén and Postlethwaithe 1985). Cohan summed up his observations by noting that in Scandinavia there were few provisions for gifted children, ‘…since the egalitarian ethic is dominant, and special provisions for the gifted are viewed as a means of maintaining the privileged positions of certain groups’ (p. 48). However, at the end of the twentieth century this state of affairs eventually lost its legal support. A new national curriculum was passed in 1994, leaving a door open for specific support programmes in favour of high-ability students fully in line with European Council Recommendation 1248 (1994). Yet, until the turn of the century, no Swedish Minister of Education was willing to jeopardise his or her political existence for the benefit of gifted children.

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