One in three students in Sweden can’t pass senior high school and one in four drops school altogether or leaves with serious gaps in their grades. Many of them would’ve passed if the school had shown more encouragement, according to Sveriges Kommuner och Landsting (SKL, the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions). A third of all students lack final grades after the three years, some of them finish school after a final fourth year. But one-fourth of them don’t complete their studies at all—either dropping out or staying on with miserable grades. The differences between municipalities and schools are great and have also increased.

“Some municipalities don’t think they can do anything about the results. If they don’t have the ambition, or don’t feel they can get the students to stay, then they can’t,” says Per-Arne Andersson, department director at SKL. Anders Lovén, lecturer at Malmö University, agrees. He says it’s important that the school doesn’t give up on these students: “Young people are looking for someone who cares and also has demands,” he says. “When I ask my students what they’d like to say if they could go back and speak to their 16-year-old selves, they all say: ‘Pull yourself together!’ with emphasis.” One of the highlighted schools is MTG (Motorbranschens tekniska gymnasium, or the Motor Industry Technial High School) in Göteborg. Of the 48 students who began there in 2009, 45 graduated this year and almost every one of them has gotten a job.


The home town of fictional police inspector Wallander seems to have a positive effect on study results: Ystad students best in the south