Exporting Swedish daycare

2:07 min

One of the hot topics at last week’s Amedalen politics gathering was how to export Sweden’s approach to preschools.

One of the keys to the high percentage of women in the Swedish labor market is the wide scope of affordable daycare here. And now there are voices suggesting that the Swedish system might be a brand new export market.

Elisabeth Thorburn is the founder of the organization Sweducare: “There’s a great global demand for childcare, high quality childcare,” she tells Swedish Radio News. “That includes all imaginable goods and services connected to preschools,” she says, adding that the Swedish model is special.

“It’s unique, and the Nordic countries together are all in the top rankings of the OECD and other organisations,” Elisabeth Thorburn adds.

Sweducare works with the export of services in the preschool sector, and according to a survey they’re carried out, a majority of the largest independent schools here have had one or more international visits during the past two years, from countries like Britain, Germany, and Japan.

A third of the schools have already began discussions on export possibilities, which Swedish Radio News says could mean new labor markets for Swedish preschool educators, and perhaps increased interest in training programs.

“The preschool teachers of the future will have an opportunity for international careers,” Elisabeth Thorburn says.

And there’s interest among the politicians for the government to consider what kind of export support funding might work in this area. Emma Norén is a member of parliament for the Green Party:

“We have a feministic foreign policy, where we talk about getting women into the labor market,” she says. “So this is really something to take up, to show what we do in Sweden, a preschool system that gives women the opportunity to get into the market place, good education for the young, and in addition the sustainability aspect that we have come so far with in Sweden.”