Sweden is one of the largest countries in Europe and the country mainly consists of forests, mountains and lakes, and the population is just under ten million. Timber, hydropower and ironstone laid the foundation for the prosperity that has grown with high-tech and biochemical industries.
Today, Sweden is a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary democracy, with the Monarch as the head of state. The capital city is Stockholm, which is also the most populous city in the country. Legislative power is vested in the 349 member unicameral Riksdag. Executive power is exercised by the Government, chaired by the Prime Minister. Sweden is a unitary state, currently divided into 21 counties and 290 municipalities.
Compulsory schooling is from the age of seven in Sweden and comprises nine years of consistent schooling. Since 1998, all six year olds have the right to take a preparatory school year. The right to preschool comes from the age on one years and the majority of children attend several years in kindergarten. Nearly nine out of ten young people fulfill also the three-year high school.
Public elementary school was introduced in 1842, when every parish was required to keep at least one school. Six years of compulsory schooling for children was established in 1882 and it was expanded in stages. Nine years of schooling was fully inserted academic year 1972/73 following a decision ten years earlier.
Most primary and secondary schools operated by the municipality. The state defines objectives, accounting for evaluation. After a reform in 1991 are also a growing number of independent schools as well as the municipal taxpayer-financed and free of charge. Just over one in ten primary school pupil and every fourth high school student was in 2012 in a private school.