Only Taiwan performs better than Sweden in the ICCS knowledge survey, which has tested what pupils know about and are engaged in democracy and social issues in 22 countries.

"Children and young people are the future of society, so I think it's very good that we learn about how society is governed," eighth grader Mahya Sadat Najibi told SVT.

These are questions that are a big part of Swedish civics education, according to student Isolde Person, who is also in the eighth grade.

"In social studies, we basically only talk about democracy, human rights and ideologies," says Isolde Person.

Difference in results between groups

At the same time as the Swedish pupils rank highly, and perform better than the neighbouring countries Norway and Denmark, the test also shows that there are challenges in the Swedish school.

The gap has widened between the lowest performing and the highest performing pupils, and socio-economic background is pointed out by the Swedish National Agency for Education as the factor that has had the greatest impact on the results of the proficiency test.

The test shows, among other things, that pupils with highly educated parents have higher scores than pupils from low-educated homes, and Swedish-born pupils get better results than pupils who immigrate.

Increased gap girls-boys

Once again, the boys do not reach the same score as the girls. And the gap between Swedish boys and girls has increased significantly since the first ICCS study in 2009.

The difference in points between Swedish girls and boys' results is the second largest of all countries, only Bulgaria has a larger gap.