About AcadeMedia AB
High-quality education and conditions that allow everybody to reach their full potential – these are the guiding principles of AcadeMedia, the biggest education company in northern Europe. The company’s size per se provides a sense of security and creates the opportunity for the company to be a long-term stakeholder in education that helps build communities.
Net Sales 2022
: SEK 14 000 m
: about 20 000
: Håkan Sörman
After a long and difficult period during the pandemic, 2022 was a year in which AcadeMedia was able to return to its normal routines. As a result of the pandemic, much of the teaching, especially among older students and adult learners, took place online. The insights gained by both teachers and students on different teaching methods are crucial going forward.
In total AcadeMedia has more than 700 units with almost 200,000 preschool children, school-age students and adult education students. It employs around 18,900 people. It is northern Europe’s leading, single largest independent education provider, with operations in Sweden, Norway, Germany and the Netherlands. In Sweden AcadeMedia offers preschools, primary and secondary schools and adult education. Where the other countries are concerned, there are preschools in Germany, and also primary and secondary schools and adult education since fall 2022.
GROWING IN EUROPE THROUGH ACQUISITIONS
In November 2022 the group announced its acquisition of the German school company Fürstenwalder Aus- und Weiterbildungszentrum, FAWZ. The deal marked a breakthrough outside Sweden in education above preschool level, adding around 2,300 school and adult students and 320 employees to the group. President and CEO Markus Strömberg explains:
“We’re continuing with our international strategy. Sweden and Norway are relatively mature as markets, while there are great opportunities for expansion in the surrounding countries. We’ve had a challenging few years with the pandemic, but I’m proud to say that, in spite of this, we’ve been able to maintain a pace of 15 new units per year.”
Sweden is still the largest country in terms of operations, and there were Swedish parliamentary elections in 2022. In the election debate, there were calls to limit the activities of independent schools in various ways. However, Marcus Strömberg makes a distinction between the political debate and what is actually happening in people’s daily lives.
“Demand for independent schools has never been greater than it is today, and it exceeds supply,” he says. “Nearly one million parents have a relationship with an independent school due to their children attending one. I feel that the political debate differs from public opinion.”
ADVOCATING REFORMS FOR FREEDOM OF CHOICE AND QUALITY
Marcus Strömberg points to the unique nature of the Swedish model – that everyone can attend an independent school, not just those with a lot of money. At the same time, a great deal of responsibility falls upon the independent schools, and in particular on AcadeMedia as the largest operator, to ensure that all schools are of good quality. This is why AcadeMedia is advocating a series of reforms regarding the grading system, school vouchers, school choice and national testing. The aim is to create a school system with freedom of choice, without leaving individual schools and students behind. At the same time, high-performing students should be acknowledged and receive teaching appropriate to their individual level.
Constructing upper-secondary schools in campus form is another idea that highlights and integrates students from different backgrounds and different areas of interest and education. Opened in 2022, the Södermalm and Vasastan campuses in Stockholm are examples of bringing together several upper-secondary schools with different specializations in one place. They have 4,200 students in total.
“Together, the Södermalm and Vasastan campuses are our largest investment to date, with a financial commitment of SEK 1.2 billion,” says Markus Strömberg. “We’re taking upper-secondary education to the next level with these initiatives.”
ADULT EDUCATION IN GAME DEVELOPMENT
AcadeMedia’s adult education saw slightly weaker growth in 2022, but this was compared to record levels, as many people applied for courses during the pandemic. After the pandemic, many adults have gone back to work. A successful venture at post-secondary level is game development courses. The year saw the acquisition of Futuregames, which is ranked as one of the world’s top games courses. The group already includes the renowned The Game Assembly.
“Never before has AcadeMedia done so much for so many,” says Markus Strömberg. “We’re following our roadmap of international growth and investing in quality and pedagogy in a safe environment.”
Significant events 2022
Acquisition of the German school group FAWZ.
Acquisition of preschools in the Netherlands.
The government has proposed school reforms that are expected to provide a clear, long-term regulatory framework within which legitimate independent schools can continue to operate.