Startpage for Swedish National Agency for Higher Education

Please note! The Swedish National Agency for Higher Education was closed down on 31 December 2012. Instead two new agencies have been established: the Swedish Council for Higher Education and the Swedish Higher Education Authority. This website will continue to operate as the new agencies will have links to information it contains.  

Report 2008:30 R

Bridging programmes for international graduates

Surveys carried out by higher education institutions (HEIs) offering bridging programmes for international students suggest that the majority of students enter employment on completion of these programmes and a high proportion continue with further studies. Many students also enter employment before completing such programmes.

It can be questioned whether this is due to the study programmes themselves, and whether offering more bridging programmes for international graduates is the most effective way forward in terms of cost and time.

Högskoleverket (Swedish National Agency for Higher Education) has shown in previous studies that bridging programmes for international graduates are most successful if conducted at HEIs. The following aspects are particularly important if international graduates are to succeed in entering employment in Sweden:

Language. Many international graduates have difficulty with the Swedish language in the teaching situation, placements and recruitment process. Course literature in English is also a problem. Extensive language support is required.

Contacts. International graduates lack relevant contacts in Sweden and knowledge about Swedish customs and social skills used during the recruitment process. A range of suitable placements are required.

Time. Many graduates are not able to spend the study time required because of family obligations and the need to earn money. In combination with language difficulties, this can lead to graduates taking 2-2.5 years to complete their training. The Swedish National Agency for Higher Education (Agency) recommends that study programmes are more individualised.

Academic recognition. It can be difficult for international graduates to have their prior learning accredited. The graduates often do not have the documentation available to make this possible and sometimes HEIs do not have the required knowledge, will or resources available for the recognition process.

Regulated professions. The Agency is able to recommend bridging programmes for teachers and Socialstyrelsen (National Board of Health and Welfare) is able to recommend bridging programmes for nurses. More information should be made available about the roles of the Agency and the National Board of Health and Welfare with regard to regulated professions. 

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