Inequality is increasing in Sweden. Among children and young people, it is strongly linked to school and to the child's living and living environment. Almost every seventh child leaves school without a full score of.
Therefore, civil society is now mobilizing in a broad effort from Vinnova with the goal of creating an equal chance for all children to pass school. Reducing inequality is one of the UN's priority sustainability goals in Agenda 2030 ( objective no. 10) - and one of the objective where Sweden is not moving forward. On the contrary, we are backing down.
The learning effort Together towards common objective is to capture as many actors as possible in the network around the school child in order to be able to support children in time and capture the needs.
- These challenges are so incredibly complex that it requires cooperation from several actors with different roles around the child for us to get an overall picture and an impact, says Sara Hugosson, responsible for the initiative from Vinnova.
The child's world outside the school day
Vinnova has started work together with 13 organizations in Swedish civil society to begin this change. These include Bris, Friends, Läxhjälpen, Sverok and Idrott utan grenser.
- It is about capturing the children's needs via activities and networks around the school day. What do the children do before they come to school? Do they eat breakfast? Do they get homework help? Do they feel safe? What do they do after school? says Sara Hugosson.
- That there are safe adults outside the school if they do not have a safe place to go home to.
We want to find out what kind of efforts would make a difference in depth, and find out how Swedish civil society can be involved in reversing the development.
The investment is a way to gather the actors and get a common direction. They should be given the opportunity to take risks and dare to experiment together to find common solutions linked to the child and the school. The first phase, the learning meetings, has already started.
- Civil society actors are strong in the work for equality, and important in the change that must take place, says Sara Hugosson.
What really makes a difference?
The organizations get to learn a working method where all actors should be able to contribute and drive ideas and solutions. It is about seeing the context around the child and finding trigger points or gaps where something is missing and where together they can make a difference. All affected actors with different angles around the child need to participate to provide an overall picture.
- We call it "collecting the system in the room", says Sara Hugosson. It helps us to see what is happening in and around the child's everyday life and clarify where problems may exist and who needs to act to solve them.
actors from the public sector such as schools and leisure activities, as well as the business community, will also be able to participate in this survey of the system around the child.
The method should shed light on what really creates inequality among children, with a connection to school. And how we can change the root causes.
Ideas must be able to be tested in practice
- In a next step, this will lead to fast prototypes and tests, says Sara Hugosson. Here it is important that it takes place under controlled conditions because it is about children.
The organizations must therefore be able to test their ideas in practice to see what can provide security and conditions for children to absorb knowledge to create a more equal term.
- The purpose is for project groups to be able to test ideas in small-scale systems. The test can demonstrate different solutions in a real environment. We call it system demos, tests in reality that take place in very controlled forms. This is about children, and we must proceed very carefully.
Civil society builds equality
I Sverige has a long tradition of initiatives where idea- activities build up bodies that create equality. Our child care centers, libraries and ambulance services are some examples of societal functions initiated by civil society.
- Our vision is that this effort will make it possible for the next important function of society to emerge, says Sara Hugosson. What will be the next "library" or other body that meets children's needs to be able to complete school?
How do we get leisure available? Can we have schools open in the evening, for example? Is it a matter of course that Swedish schools close after the school day?
This investment should make us think. It will pave the way for initiatives that can quickly lead to testing to be able to scale up to something new in the system.
The goal is for the actors to have the opportunity to take risks and dare to experiment together.
It's about finding common objective and getting their activities in sync. To find synergies and meeting points in the common network around the school child where you can make a difference together. That is why we work with a so-called mission-oriented approach.
Said about mission-oriented innovation and system demo
By mission-oriented approach, we mean that several stakeholders work together from different angles to find solutions to a clear common objective (mission).
By system demo, we mean a test in a real environment on a larger or smaller scale where you demonstrate an entire system of parties involved who collaborate on an idea. These tests take place under controlled conditions and are sometimes exempt from regulations so that they can be carried out in practice.