Studiefrämjandet* is one of the largest study associations for adult education in Sweden. We work mainly in the field of non-formal life-long learning. We have been part of the tradition of non-formal adult education – folkbildning – in Sweden since our foundation in 1959.
We organise study circles, cultural events, seminars and projects in all of Sweden's municipalities. Plenty of topics Studiefrämjandet's particular specialisms are nature, animals, the environment and culture.
But our topics vary and always depend on what our participants want to study. It might be gardening, parenthood, energy transition, watercolours, pet care, languages or programming computer games.There is a strong focus on activities for young adults, especially popular music, role-playing, dance and theatre. Music accounts for almost half of everything we do. We also run a showcase, Nemis – New music in Sweden (www.nemis.se)
Everyone is welcome to study with Studiefrämjandet. We have a strong commitment to socially and culturally disadvantaged groups in society and to groups with special needs such as immigrants, disabled people and the unemployed. In many places we run special projects with these groups, sometimes at the request of local government or government agencies.
Participation and life-long learning The overall goal is to give people the opportunity to increase their participation in society and to provide tools for selfdevelopment and life-long learning in order to maintain a high educational standard and to strengthen and protect a democratic society.
We receive state financial support via government grants; also funding from counties and municipalities. The rest comes from study circle course fees paid by the participants. Many study circles are free of charge for participants, especially those run in partnership with clubs or societies.
Studiefrämjandet is a non-party political and non-religious organisation which is democratically run on a non-profit basis. Individuals cannot become members of Studiefrämjandet.
However, we have 19 member organisations. These include The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, The National Federation of Swedish 4H, The Swedish Hunters' Association, The Swedish Touring Club (STF), and MoKS, an umbrella organisation for music and culture associations. Additionally, we also work in partnership with many other non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
Studiefrämjandet has developed several co-operative ties with organisations in other countries. Studiefrämjandet joined the EBZ Network (European Centres for Culture and Communication) in 2003.
Valla – our adult education college
Studiefrämjandet also runs an adult education college – folkhögskola. Valla Folkhögskola offers extended further education for adults, including special education for event producers.
The study circle
The core of Studiefrämjandets sphere of activities is the study circle. This is an effective educational method particularly suitable for adults since it makes the participants' own experiences central to the learning experience. The method fosters interaction, enabling all participants to contribute their different skills and talents. People attend study circles to acquire further professional skills or for personal development.
The study circle:
- Is a small group studying a specific subject or question of common interest.
- Has at least 3 (normally 5-12) participants including the circle leader.
- Meets usually once a week for a couple of months.
- People choose to study freely and participate during their free time.
- Goals for group studies are decided by the entire group –small group democracy in action.
- There are no credits or points and no examinations.
Swedish non-formal adult education
Swedish non-formal adult education has a long history. It started in the late nineteenth century when different educational movements developed alongside and in co-operation with new popular movements such as trade unions, farmers' associations, political organisations and churches.
Today Swedish non-formal adult education is organised through 10 study associations and 150 adult education colleges – folkhögskolor. Non-formal adult education in Sweden is available to everyone, its main task being to reduce the education gap in society and to reach those who have benefited the least from society's educational resources. It is free from government intervention and receives public support.