Spencer Platt/Getty Images News/Getty Images

16-Year-Old Climate Activist Greta Thunberg Has Taken A "Sabbatical Year" From School

by Morgan Brinlee

While many teenagers trudge back to school, one 16-year-old climate activists has traveled around the world by boat, taken her school strike for climate change global, and addressed world leaders at a United Nations summit. Now, she's slowly (and greenly) making her way to Santiago for a U.N. climate change conference, and her recent travels have caused many to wonder about her schooling. So, is Greta Thunberg homeschooled?

Although Thunberg may have missed a number of schooldays due to the weekly school strike for climate she started more than a year ago, the Swedish teen activist isn't homeschooled. In fact, homeschooling is "practically illegal" in Sweden, according to Bloomberg. Instead, Sweden's Education Act makes it mandatory for children to attend 10 years of school starting at age 6, according to the Swedish Institute. Those 10 years of compulsory schooling are, according to the Swedish Institute, broken down into förskoleklass, or the preschool year; lågstadiet, or first through third grade; mellanstadiet, or fourth through sixth grade; and högstadiet, or seventh through ninth grade. Gymnasium, which is also known as upper secondary school and consists of grades 10 through 12, is considered to be optional, according to the institute.

In June, Bloomberg reported that Thunberg had graduated from secondary education with 14 As and three Bs. Thunberg reportedly took home Bs in Swedish, physical education, and home economics, according to Bloomberg. While those are solid grades for anyone, let alone a student repeatedly missing school to protest in front of Swedish Parliament, Thunberg reportedly told the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter that she likely would have pulled off straight As had it not been for her weekly climate strikes.

Due to her recent travels and climate activism, Thunberg is currently on a year-long sabbatical from school, according to an announcement on her Facebook page. That, however, hasn't stopped her from continuing the school strikes that helped inspire a global movement. "‪Even though I’ve taken a sabbatical year from school, I will still demonstrate every Friday wherever I am," she wrote on Facebook in early September.

Seven years after she first learned about climate change, Thunberg began protesting what she believes to be policymakers' failure to adequately act on climate change by striking from school every Friday since August 2018. Her aim is to draw lawmakers' attention and raise awareness about the vital need for immediate action. She has since told lawmakers they have "stolen" her dreams and childhood with their "empty words" on climate change in a speech before the United Nations. Most recently, the teen activist joined dozens of other students and climate activists for a school strike in Iowa City, Iowa on Friday, as she shared on Twitter.

After leading tens of thousands of students in a Global Climate Strike and delivering an impassioned speech to world leaders at the United Nations, Thunberg will continue her sabbatical year by traveling throughout North America, visiting Canada and Mexico, according to NPR. In December, she is expected to attend a climate conference in Santiago, Chile.