En ojämlik skolplikt? Problematisering av skolfrånvaro i en decentraliserad skola

  • Maria Arvidsson
  • Viktor Vesterberg
Nyckelord: Education Act, compulsory schooling, school absence, equality, decentralized school


All children in Sweden have the right to attend school from the year they reach the age of six. But are all children obliged to be there? Sweden have had compulsory schooling since the end of the 19th century. This means that there is an obligation to be in the school and attend its activities. A changed governance of the school during the last decades of the 20th century, from centralized to decentralized, opened up for the possibility of local school practices to define how the compulsory schooling should be interpreted and applied. In this article we scrutinize whether this has opened for potential inequalities regarding compulsory schooling in Sweden. In doing this we analyze law and policy documents that in different ways prescribe how deviations from school duties, so-called school absence, should be handled and by whom. The purpose of the article is to elucidate the effects of state-formulated guidelines regarding the management of school absence in Swedish compulsory school. Inspired by Carol Lee Bacchis’ WPR (What´s the Problem Represented to be) analysis, we interrogate how departures from compulsory schooling are portrayed as a problem and what meaning are ascribed to compulsory schooling - not least from an equality perspective.
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