Sweden's education responses to the influx of Ukrainian students

Under the EU directive, Ukrainian refugee children have the right to education in preschool, elementary school, special primary school, special school, Sámi schools, leisure centers, and upper secondary school and upper secondary special school if the education begins before they have reached the age of 18. 

The government is taking measures to support preschools and schools ahead of the expected influx of Ukrainian refugees. The National Agency for Education has been tasked with several assignments to enable strengthened reception conditions in preschools and schools. 


Preschool is voluntary, but municipalities must offer preschool to children from the age of 1 under certain conditions, and to all children the year they turn 3 for at least 3 hours a day free of charge. 

Basic Education 

Children who have received a residence permit with temporary protection or who are asylum seekers have the right to education, organized by municipalities, but they do not have compulsory schooling.  

Ukrainian refugee children must be admitted to school as soon as it is appropriate with regard to their personal circumstances, within one month of arrival. However the first step is to assess the students’ knowledge, using the National Agency for Education’s survey material for assessment of newly arrived pupil’s knowledge, steps 1 and 2. 

The assessment must be made promptly and thereafter the principal must make a decision on the appropriate placement in the year group and teaching group for the student. The National Agency for Education has been commissioned to produce comparisons between the Swedish and Ukrainian education systems to facilitate the principals’ assessment of newly arrived students' previous education and knowledge. 

Due to the expected large refugee reception, the government has decided on a temporary ordinance on a special quota in independent schools. The ordinance means that a principal for an independent preschool class, compulsory school or compulsory special school may reserve a limited number of places per academic year for students who have resided in Sweden for less than two years. Students who are included in the special quota are given priority over other applicants. 

Higher Education 

The Association of Swedish Higher Education Institutions (SUHF) stated they are ready, in collaboration with Scholars at Risk (SAR), to support and help Ukrainian researchers fleeing the war. 

Research projects with Russian and Belarus higher institutions have halted. In parallel, a number of chemistry laboratories are offering research positions to Ukrainian researchers. The Karolinska Institute has activated its Memorandum of Understanding with Kyiv’s Bogomolets National Medical University and is preparing to receive researchers and students. 

The National Agency for Education has been commissioned to take measures to attract residents and newly arrived people with relevant language skills to work in schools. The authority shall also provide information on the availability of Ukrainian-speaking and Russian-speaking staff in the school system. 

A municipality that provides education to children and young people who have received a residence permit with temporary protection can receive state compensation for their costs. An application is made to the Swedish Migration Board. Municipalities are entitled the same compensation as for asylum-seeking children and students, except that there is no right to compensation for upper secondary studies started after the age of 18. 

The Swedish section of Scholars at Risk is currently investigating the funding needed for increased SAR placements at Swedish universities. 
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced scholarships for Ukrainian scientists to perform research in Sweden. The research shall be conducted at a Swedish university or at one of the research institutes of the Academy. 

The EU issued operational guidelines for the implementation of Council implementing Decision 2022/382, establishing the existence of a mass influx of displaced persons from Ukraine within the meaning of Article 5 of Directive 2001/55/EC, and having the effect of introducing temporary protection (2022/C 126 I/01). As such, EU Member States shall grant access to their education system to persons under 18 years old enjoying the temporary protection status under the same conditions as their own nationals and EU citizens.


Government sources:  

"Åtgärder Ska Underlätta Utbildningen För Barn Och Elever Som Har Flytt Kriget I Ukraina." Regeringskansliet. Last modified March 24, 2022. 

"Information Om Massflyktsdirektivet." Migrationsverket. Accessed March 30, 2022. 

"Nyanlända Barns Rätt Till Utbildning." Accessed March 30, 2022. 

"Filmade Föreläsningar Om Mottagandet Av Barn Och Ungdomar Från Ukraina." Accessed March 30, 2022. 

Other sources:  

 "Universities Gear Up to Help Ukrainian Academic Refugees." University World News. Accessed March 22, 2022. 

"The Situation in Ukraine." Migrationsverket. Last modified March 22, 2022. 

"Swedish Support for Ukrainian Scientists." Larsson, Per. Stockholms Universitet. Last modified March 18, 2022.