Sweden cancels 2020 university entrance exams

Amid a record number of applications to Swedish universities, the country’s Council for Higher Education has decided to cancel the entrance exams this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

After much deliberation and mixed messages from the government and education authorities, and after having consulted college presidents around the country, the Council announced on Tuesday that it would cancel the bi-annual entrance exams known as the Swedish Scholastic Aptitude Test (SweSAT), reports Xinhua news agency.

The decision follows on the heels of a Tuesday op-ed, signed by 21 presidents of universities and higher-education colleges who argued that it would be unwise to go ahead with the national exams this year due to the risk of “cluster contagion”.

“If 21 presidents tell me that they cannot take responsibility for any spread of the infection, well then I can’t change my decision,” Karin Roding, Director-General of the Council, told Radio Sweden.

The SweSAT is normally held twice a year at a number of locations throughout Sweden and is used as one of the means to gain admission to higher-education institutions.

It is made up of questions on mathematics, Swedish vocabulary, English reading comprehension and more.

In 2019, over 67,000 Swedes registered for the exam, an 11 per cent decrease compared with the year before, according to the Council for Higher Education which administers the SweSAT.