Society is developing faster and faster, but at the same time, the form of the school has remained stagnant for the last hundred years. It is something that we are beginning to see the effects of today. At the same time, we have a big problem with teachers finding it difficult to keep up with training at the same time that many choose to change careers because of the pressure that exists around a grade school. The school needs fundamental changes to function in the future, the first two are to put knowledge and the student’s learning in focus and to rethink what applies when during the course of life that we educate ourselves.
Overview – The Pirate Party wants to:
- The teacher is strengthened in his professional role
- School development is given a stronger research connection
- A norm of openness pervades the education system
- Knowledge measurement and evaluation is being reformed to more effectively fulfill its purposes
- Students develop key competences for a knowledge society
- The school’s resource allocation is in relation to responsibility and needs
- Pupils’ right to support, health and co-determination is strengthened
- The individual is given better opportunities to learn throughout life
Every individual has the right to good quality education. We advocate a free education system, from primary school to postgraduate education. Free access to knowledge and education is a prerequisite for freedom and economic and social development.
In a free and democratic society, it is necessary that the individual has the opportunity to participate in social life. Therefore, it must be of the highest priority to create institutional support for the individual to develop into a mature, critical thinking person who participates in society.
New teaching methods and educational materials are necessary to adapt the education system to the needs of the knowledge society. Pupils and students need to be trained to be competent and information technology-savvy citizens, because digital exclusion is the path to an economically and socially impoverished society.
We advocate an openness standard throughout the education system, where access to knowledge, learning materials and research under open licenses is standard, and where digital tools for teaching and organization are developed under open source. Cooperation between teachers, schools and academia must be encouraged and developed.
In order for the school to be able to develop as society changes, we must create conditions for those who have the skills to be able to drive the development. Therefore, we advocate stronger research links, reduced political detail control and bureaucratic obstacles, as well as better conditions for teachers and school leaders to lead the development of the school for the knowledge society.
1. Teachers’ professional development
Skilled teachers are the single most important factor in strengthening students’ knowledge development. Good teachers are knowledgeable, clear, carry out well-planned teaching and create respectful relationships with students. We need to create the conditions for more skilled teachers, by improving teachers’ working environment and skills development. In this way, we can strengthen the teachers who are in the profession today, and increase the attractiveness of the profession for future generations of students and the trained teachers who have left the profession.
We advocate reduced centralized political control, that decisions are made to a greater extent by those directly affected. In the case of the school, it means a stronger trust in and therefore greater freedom for teachers and principals to shape teaching and the school’s organization.
Therefore, we want to:
§1 Create clearer merit-based professional programs for teachers where progression has a clear connection to subject deepening, didactic deepening, school development work or other relevant merits;
§2 Ensure that teachers have time for and access to continuous, high-quality and relevant continuing education;
§3 Ensure that changes in the curriculum are also accompanied by strategies for teacher training;
§4 Review teacher training and ensure that it prepares teachers well for the practical reality they face in school;
§5 Improve the education in information technology in the teaching of the teacher training courses and teacher continuing education;
§6 Reduce bureaucracy and free up time for teachers to plan, implement and develop their teaching;
§7 Strengthen the exchange of experience and cooperation between teachers within the municipality, nationally and with teachers throughout the EU through, for example, teacher exchanges and guest teaching.
2. Strengthened research connection in school development
Sweden has long been moving towards a knowledge society, which means that knowledge or information constitutes the greatest value in society. It is knowledge that is in demand on the labor market and that enables participation in society. It gives the school new goals and a need to change the way we look at learning – we are not finished learning when we leave school, but in school we build a base to be able to learn throughout life and be active participants in society.
Technology is not only a tool, but also brings with it new opportunities to organize teaching and school. The policy needs to create conditions for researchers and teachers to explore and develop these possibilities.
Today, teachers leave their basic education and in most cases never look back towards academia, and large parts of educational research are theoretical. The Pirate Party wants to create a significantly stronger connection between academia and school, and strengthen collaborations around school development between different actors, so that new models, methods and tools can be developed that respond to the school’s real needs in the knowledge society.
Therefore, we want to:
§8 That experiments with practice schools are developed and expanded. The purpose of these should be to improve the connection of teacher education and teacher training to the practical reality of the school and its challenges, to conduct practical academic research and continuous evaluation of new models for teaching and organization of the school, as well as to function as a cooperation hub for school development throughout the country. Name change to research schools or university schools (cf. university hospitals);
§9 Carry out and evaluate trials with alternative ways of organizing school with greater flexibility regarding, for example, pace of study, class division, timetables and school environment, with the goal of finding models where students’ different potential can be used in a better way;
§10 Stimulate cooperation between school-academy-business-civil society so that digital technology for school is developed in interaction with school, teachers and students to solve the real problems of school.
3. Open knowledge, open learning materials, open software
Historically, knowledge has been a privilege belonging to the few, locked behind financial, legal and physical barriers. Digital technology allows us today to copy and share knowledge and culture completely free; there is no production cost for a digital book once written, and scientific results cost nothing to share. The obstacles that have been put up – copyright, patents – are artificial. For us pirates, it goes without saying that knowledge is a commons, something that we own in common, for the good of all. When knowledge is free, innovation and development increase and democracy is strengthened when information is available to all.
Education is the core of a knowledge-based society and we advocate a clear exception in the Copyright Act for the use of copyrighted material for educational purposes. We also want to provide support, platforms and opportunities for teachers and educational resource creators to publish educational materials under open licenses, to make knowledge available both to other teachers and to students throughout the education system, and reduce school costs.
Free and open software increases the possibilities for collaboration between universities, schools and municipalities. You break the dependence on expensive IT giants and the lock-in in their systems, and can instead build on and build complements to each other’s systems so that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, and you drastically reduce the costs of maintenance and support.
Therefore, we want to:
§11 Work to stimulate a norm of openness throughout the education system from preschool to university, where we create and share knowledge with each other, for both the individual and the common good;
§12 Encourage and facilitate the creation and sharing of openly licensed teaching and learning materials;
§13 Exempting educational institutions from copyright restrictions in terms of showing video material, copying, etc., for example in line with how the rule of “fair use” does this in the USA;
§14 That the public sector strives to always use open software in large IT solutions;
§15 That the state sets up a cloud service under its own control and makes it available to, among other things, schools and authorities, in order to avoid lock-in effects and break the dependence on solutions from American or other IT companies that are not compatible with European legislation;
§16 Strive for the highest possible level of transparency in all publicly funded activities regardless of principal;
§17 Create the conditions for easy dissemination of successful education and teaching models between schools within and between municipalities, as well as between the country’s higher education institutions;
§18 That the teacher exception is replaced with a principle that it is not possible to patent publicly funded research results.
4. Knowledge measurement and evaluation that fulfills the purpose
Assessment of the individual’s knowledge as well as evaluation of schools and the school system needs to be done with methods that create the right incentives and fulfill their purposes.
Grades today are expected to fulfill four purposes:
as a selection basis for high school or university,
as feedback to the student and parent about the student’s learning,
as a basis for evaluating schools, teachers or the school system,
as motivation for the student.
The problem is that grades don’t work very well for these purposes. As feedback, grades are insufficient, as a basis for evaluation they create the wrong incentives, and there is ample research support showing that grades lower motivation for all but the very highest achieving students. Grades as a basis for selection have indeed been shown to correlate better with performance at the university than the university entrance exam selection, but here too there are more possibilities.
Knowledge measurement for the individual, as well as evaluation of schools and the education system, should be done with legally secure and effective methods that create incentives for knowledge development for the individual and continuous improvement of the school’s organization and teaching.
Therefore, we want to:
§19 Investigate how grades can eventually be replaced by methods of assessment of the individual that better fulfill their purpose, and which are also compatible with international standards;
§20 Shift focus to more continuous, formative feedback to students for their learning;
§21 Investigate the introduction of alternative methods for admission to high school and university, for example open admission or education- or subject-specific admission, as a replacement for grades as a basis for selection;
§22 Make available a national, digital platform under open source code for knowledge assessment in all subjects (including, but not limited to, national exams);
§23 That the frequency of national tests is reduced to being carried out as random tests, and that these are corrected centrally;
§24 As long as we have grades, reduce the scope of and clarify the knowledge requirements;
§25 That knowledge requirements aimed at assessing skills that develop at a later stage of brain development are removed from the curriculum knowledge requirements for grade 6 and, if necessary, also for grade 9.
5. Knowledge for a digital democratic society
The education system must provide all citizens with the basic skills needed to live independently in the knowledge society. Today’s media culture requires, for example, knowledge in everything from media production and information search to knowledge of media influence and digital well-being. Through education, we can improve people’s resistance to propaganda and psychological manipulation, which is necessary for a democratic society.
Therefore, we want to:
§26 Include basic competences for the knowledge society in the curriculum, in addition to literacy including legal foundations, digital security, basic financial literacy and media education.
§27 Facilitate collaboration between school, academia and civil society, with the goal of strengthening education in basic competencies for the knowledge society, and work to strengthen civil society and research in these areas.
6. Democratic governance and logical resource allocation
It is a mistake to think that streamlining occurs automatically because expenses increase, without covering it with corresponding resources. The fact that universities’ compensation amounts are not calculated in line with inflation constitutes continuous, invisible cuts in the Swedish knowledge society.
A municipality must have the conditions to plan and operate in a smart way. Waste of resources must be minimized and money must be used where it benefits the citizens. The school is a large item of expenditure and it is important that the budget is used to create good conditions for all students in the municipality.
Therefore, we want to:
§28 That the productivity deduction for higher education and research be abolished.
§29 That resource distribution to schools takes place in relation to the school’s student composition, as well as in relation to the various responsibilities that lie on municipal and independent schools. This is to ensure that there is an opportunity to give students in need of special support the help they are entitled to according to the Education Act. With today’s funding system, it can be done through a weighted school grant.
7. Pupils’ right to support, health and co-determination
All students have their different strengths and weaknesses. Many develop mental illness during school, sometimes as a result of stress and performance anxiety, sometimes as a result of difficulties that lead to losing faith in one’s abilities very early on. Many high-achieving students end up skewed in the systems because they are not allowed to be challenged and develop at their own pace, when in fact they have enormous potential. In addition to the fact that it should be the right of all children to feel good and be seen for who they are, it is also positive to have diversity in a knowledge society. Today we need specialists, innovators, creative and social individuals. But all this cannot be in the same person, but individuals must be allowed to develop different specialties. In order to take advantage of each individual’s potential, in addition to skilled teachers, access to support and flexibility in the systems is also needed, so that the student feels empowered to influence his future.
Support needs to come early. Increased resources in early years will not only lead to reduced expenses in later years, but also to stronger knowledge development and improved mental health of students, and to a more positive attitude towards learning.
Therefore, we want to:
§30 That students with special needs are given early support. Already after the first semester of the first school year, literacy should be assessed and support provided immediately to ensure that all students reach an adequate level of literacy for the next grade. Also checking to detect reading and writing difficulties should be done early to give these students the chance to develop effective strategies. Amendments to the School Act are not enough but need to be accompanied by a strategy for implementation and allocation of resources;
§31 That further opportunities are given for knowledge testing with the aim of allowing students to progress faster through primary and secondary education, for those who want and have the capacity;
§32 That in the digitization of the education system, work is done to create IT solutions that are interoperable, where, for example, knowledge can be registered and taken by the student between schools, forms of schooling, etc. to create seamless transitions between different educational and social institutions, simplify administration and give the student a clearer overview of his knowledge development;
§33 That privacy by design and consideration of students’ privacy are central requirements in the development, purchase and use of digital solutions for the school;
§34 That the possibility of home education is reintroduced under the requirement of continuous contact with licensed teachers and school health care to ensure that the student’s knowledge development and health are not negatively affected.
8. Lifelong learning
Lifelong learning is necessary for today’s and the future’s labor market, whose knowledge needs are changing rapidly. The view of education and learning needs to change from being something that you engage in mainly at the beginning of life to becoming something that follows you in parallel throughout your life. One must be able to move more dynamically between education, work and leisure. No one should be hindered in their development because of possible mistakes in their teens, but there should be room to educate themselves throughout life.
Today, we learn not only within the traditional educational institutions or programs, but through open online courses, our own studies and through work. We have a large movement of people and skills between countries and many possible specializations outside of traditional occupational categories. For the sake of the individual and society, we need to stimulate and facilitate all types of learning, and also enable and quality-assure knowledge validation.
The mission of the innovation offices at the Swedish higher education institutions is to ensure that research and development at the higher education institutions is useful in the outside world. At the moment, their business consists of helping researchers secure idea monopolies on publicly funded research, which is the exact opposite of allowing the research to be useful.
Therefore, we want to:
§33 That commissioned education and open digital courses (so-called MOOCs) must be covered by the quality assurance system;
§35 Investigate the role of higher education institutions in legally secure examination of commissioned education and open digital courses and the relationship of these educations to other forms of education;
§36 Investigate how validation of real competence can take place to a greater extent and facilitate the translation of foreign degrees;
§37 Introduce the right to part-time to study;
§38 That the innovation offices at Swedish universities should not lock up publicly funded research behind idea monopolies such as patents, but work to make it useful in other ways;
§39 That the investments in innovation offices at the universities should also address alumni, to stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship throughout life and strengthen entrepreneurs with the competence and knowledge available at our universities;
§40 That the university should not be tasked with increasing admissions to programs with weak application pressure.