724 61 Västerås
Västerås Folk High School is an adult education centre with 60 employees in the city of Västerås, providing predominantly basic and secondary education for adults.
Västerås is an industrial city of 110 000 inhabitants on the shore of Lake Mälaren in the Västmanlands county in central Sweden, about 100 kilometers west of Stockholm. The municipality includes a number of surrounding communities so that the overall population is 145 000; of which 26 000 who were born in other countries, including Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Turkey, Bosnia-Herzegovina and former Yugoslavia.
Various industries (with companies such as ASEA, ABB and Westinghouse) have been the main economic pillar of Västarås for a long time, and are still important. The largest employer today, however, is the municipality with 11 000 employees. Västerås is also a centre of higher education. Interesting with regard to education is also Rudbeckianska gymnasiet, the oldest gymnasium in Sweden, which was built by Johannes Rudbeckius in 1623.
Västerås folkhögskola is one of Sweden's currently 154 folk high schools. Folk high schools offer courses for adults from the age of 18. Many folk high schools are run by popular movements, such as organisations within the workers', temperance or Free Church movements. Others are operated by county councils or regions. The schools have different profiles and emphases in their activities. The folk high schools are not guided by national curricula, but instead are free to shape their activities on their own.
Principals of Västerås Folk High School are:
- ABF - Workers' Education Association
- LO - The Swedish Labourers´Organization
- Hyresgästföreningen - The Tenants´Organization
- IF Metall - Swedish Metal-workers´Organization
- Handelsanställdas förbund - The Commercial Employees´ Union
- Riksbyggen - A company owned by the building unions
The overall objective of Västerås Folk High School is to provide general civic education. Integral to this aim is to provide not only knowledge and skills, thus raising educational standards, but also to provide experiences and social awareness leading to a broader and deeper democratic participation. Västerås Folk High School offers a unique opportunity to enhance each individual’s human resources.
The traditional independence of the Folk High School has led to extensive educational innovation, including problem-orientated pedagogy and theme work in small groups, in which active participation by the students is emphasized and this is why Folk High Schools continue to be a necessity within the Swedish society. A certain level of interest has also been directed towards groups with special educational needs, e.g. people with short basic education, people with various disabilities and immigrants.
Västerås Folk High School offers general courses, suitable for those who have not completed their secondary education, since they can provide equivalent knowledge. The subjects studied here closely resemble those in comprehensive schools or upper secondary schools; however, a different approach may be adopted. There is no centrally established curriculum, as we determine our own programme.
The participants study from one to three years depending on their previous educational background. The lowest age of admission is normally 18 years.
Västerås Folk High School has permanently about 500 students in various courses, attended by 60 employees. The headquarters of the school are close to the city centre.
Västeras folkhögskola follows the Scandinavian tradition of daytime, long-term adult education with the goal to strengthen democracy. The approach of Folk High School is unique in its view of knowledge as something to be shared in the group and of participants being equal with the tutors. Many of our politicians and leading personalities in the world of culture have been fostered in this environment of education.