Name: Higher education (Högre utbildning)
Period(s): -1983 (SMS)
Code book: V


Data on the post-upper secondary level (gymnasium) education of the cohort members until the end of 1983 was obtained through Statistics Sweden in October of 1984. This data is currently stored in two separate data sets; COLL and EDUC. The former data set comprises of detailed information as regards to the cohort members’ post-upper secondary level education in 82 variables whereas the latter data set consists of 21 cumulative summary variables that measure six educational sectors. In total, 5,084 cohort members (2,517 males and 2,567 females respectively) had been registered to have taken part in post-upper secondary education by the end of 1983. Two additional observations (id numbers 5733 and 149492 respectively) were found in the data sets after the delivery from Statistics Sweden. However, these observations were removed since they did not have any values in the foundational metropolitan data sets. It was thus concluded that they had been added erroneously by the mentioned governmental agency.

Throughout the measured period, there were quite stark changes that took place in the higher educational institutions. This resulted in the fact that the cohort members’ post-upper secondary educational careers were measured in two separate educational systems throughout three time periods. The new system was implemented in the fall semester of 1977. As regards the division of the time periods in the new system, there is a slight discrepancy between the ‘programs’ and ‘courses’ where the former ended in the fall semester of 1980 while the latter ended with the spring semester of 1981. In rough terms, the time periods were thus divided into the following categories: pre-1978, 1978-1980, and 1981-1983.

The old system offered post-upper secondary education on the undergraduate level at six universities, fifteen undergraduate colleges (högskolor), and a number of separate engineering, medicine, teaching, agricultural colleges. With very few exceptions, such as the privately owned Stockholm Business School (now Stockholm School of Economics), all of these institutions were run by the state. The table below presents a few examples of the various types of undergraduate programs that were offered in the old system.

In the natural and social sciences as well as in the humanities, undergraduate education leading up to degrees of BA or BSc tended to be offered in the form of independent one semester courses (fristående kurser). Depending on the subject, the students had to complete either six or seven of such courses in order to earn their degrees. It is noteworthy to point out the fact that the old system additionally included some military colleges as well as other
artistic programs. Moreover, the students had the option of pursuing ‘combinations’ of senior upper secondary and college undergraduate courses. The data material used herein does however lack data on the privately-owned and state run nurses’ colleges since Statistics Sweden did not record the students in these institutions.

With the introduction of the new system, the (higher) educational system underwent a rather vast expansion, both in terms of the admission possibilities as well as the programs and courses it now offered. Some of the 3-year programs that had previously only admitted students with three-year upper secondary degrees were now open for (1) students with 2-year upper secondary degrees and (2) students who were over 25 years of age, had a broad working experience and a basic knowledge of the English language.

Furthermore, community colleges and ‘folk high schools’ were introduced into the higher educational system. The latter tended to be boarding schools that were run by primarily popular movements and foundations. One important implication of the inclusion of the folk high schools into the educational system was the fact that our information on practical and vocational programs increased greatly after 1978. In addition, since nurses’ training schools were integrated into the medical faculties at the universities and colleges, we do have data on the nursing students since the implementation of the new system.

With the introduction of the new system, the higher educational institutions attempted to construct profession-oriented programs geared toward the young ‘traditional’ first-time students coming directly from the upper secondary schools. The idea was to allocate the younger students who had not yet entered the labour-market to these programs in order to facilitate their transition between education and the labour-market. The older ‘non-traditional’ students were, on the contrary, expected to take one-semester courses in order to improve their position on the labour-market. The outcome of these ideas worked out well in the natural sciences but not in the social sciences or in the humanities since the latter lacked, from the perspective of the market, meaningful programs. Hence, many traditional students continued to take up the independent courses.