“We have never seen a bigger rise in school pupils, it is at the same level as the early 1900s,” says Social Democrat Anders Rubin, who is the chair of the Malmö school board.
Sweden’s population is the fastest growing in the EU. The official statistics agency predicts that it will grow by another million in the next nine years. And many of the new people will be of school age. It is the municipal councils that are responsible for making sure that everyone aged 6-16 can go to school.
In Stockholm, the fastest growing city in Europe, the city council needs to build enough schools to deliver over 25,000 more places by 2024.
The southern city of Malmö is expected to see a 60 per cent rise in school pupils, and in the northern city of Umeå the rise is expected to be 30 per cent.
Gothenburg, Sweden’s second-largest city is going to build 30 new schools, starting in 2019. Town planner Johan Nyström says it is hard to find space in the city.
“We don’t have any empty properties we can use, so we will have to convert places or to build new ones.”
And at Malmö’s school board Anders Rubin says they have some buildings used for cultural or adult education purposes that can be converted to schools.
There is already a great need for new teachers in Swedish schools, with currently 96,000 teachers employed.