Differentiation as a Consequence of Choice and Decentralization Reforms—Conditions for Teachers’ Competence Development

Karolina Parding, Anna Berg-Jansson, Therese Sehlstedt, Susan McGrath-Champ, Scott Fitzgerald


This paper examines the conditions for teacher competence development as they relate to the current restructured governance of the education sector in Sweden. In reviewing the literature, contextual factors in the workplace are often pointed out as central to conditions for competence development. However, we argue that a sector-level approach is useful in examining and explaining competence development conditions, especially in times of governance change. We describe how a workplace’s geographical location and budgetary situation, along with its size and age, relate to how teachers experience their working conditions. The findings indicate that the organization of work at a local workplace level impacts the conditions for competence development. Moreover, various regional and local characteristics seem to affect the conditions for competence development in that the organization and governance of the education sector create different conditions for competence development.

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