Comparing these figures with the distribution of students attending the previous teacher-training programme, we see that the proportion opting for the early years of compulsory school has increased. The share of students who specialise in teaching at pre-school, in pre-school classes and at after-school centres has, on the other hand, declined. Regarding teachers in these latter activities, this is where the gap is widest between the National Agency for Education’s needs forecasts and the expected number of teachers in various categories, according to the students’ questionnaire responses.
According to the forecasts, three times as many teachers should be employed in pre-school and pre-school classes, and twice as many in after-school centres, as indicated by the survey results. However, it is important to remember that many students who wish to teach in the early years of compulsory school also become qualified to teach in pre-school and pre-school classes.
In terms of sex composition, there are major differences in students’ career choices. While many women want to teach younger children, the men mainly want to work in the upper classes of compulsory school and in upper-secondary and adult education. In all branches of education, however, the women outnumber the men. Among the students who wish to work in pre-school and pre-school classes, only 4% are men.
Of the students who have made their career choices, 80% still have the same basic intention regarding where they want to work as they had when they embarked on their studies. On the other hand, 16% of these have changed their occupational focus. Most of those doing so have opted for an activity that is closely related, in terms of the pupils’ or students’ age. Many state that they have changed their occupational focus in order to obtain greater personal job satisfaction. Two other factors with a bearing on their choice are, first, increased scope for teaching particular subjects and, second, general working conditions.
1. Translator’s note. The Swedish ‘pre-school class’ is a special form of education that the municipalities are now obliged to provide. It comprises activities (for three hours daily, according to the same curriculum as compulsory school and on the same premises) for six-year-olds. Children’s attendance is voluntary, but almost universal, i.e. nearly all six-year-olds in Sweden attend unless they (normally in the year of their seventh birthday) already attend compulsory school.