Figures released on Monday by the Swedish Association of Local Authorities in Regions (SALAR), show that 31 percent of students are unable to complete Swedish secondary education programmes, known as gymnasieskola or gynmasiet, within the expected three years.
In Sweden, students can choose to enroll in variety of secondary school programmes with different educational content, some of which emphasize studies to prepare students for university, while others are move vocational in nature.
Even after four years, about a quarter of students have yet to receive their high school diplomas.
In the worst performing municipality, only 43 students completed secondary school on time, while the best-performing municipality saw 88 percent of its students finish high school on time.
However, many Swedish high school drop outs do go on to complete their secondary education studies in adult education programmes, resulting in 90 percent of 24-year-olds in Sweden have attained a high school degree.
According to the study, which is based on figures from students who started high school between 2005 and 2007, about three to five percent more boys than girls fail to complete high school in Sweden.
“Every student who leaves high school without a degree is a tragic failure for the individual and a blow for the school,” SALAR’s Maria Stockhaus said in a statement.
The organziation recommends five strategies to bring down Sweden’s high school dropout rate.
Among the five “success factors” outlined by the group are ensuring that school staff engage with students in a positive manner and that the schools present clear goals and emphasize results.
In addition, schools interested seeing more of their students graduate on time should see to it that students choose programmes that suit their skills and interests, that they are involved in shaping the work of the school, and that school’s make accomodations based on students’ individual needs.
“The reasons for why people abandon their studies varies. In order to successfully implement the measures we propose, there needs to be a common view on the part of school staff as well as cooperation between schools, home, the business community, civil society, and social services,” said Stockhaus.
“With goal oriented, hard, and persistent work, municipalities and schools can prevent students from dropping out of high school.”