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EDUCATION

Failing pupils to sit extra school year

Pupils failing to graduate from compulsory level education (grundskola) could be forced to sit an extra year, according to a new government proposal to extend the age of mandatory school attendance to 17-years-old.

Failing pupils to sit extra school year

Pupils already have the opportunity to attend school for an extra year to boost their grades but are currently freed from legal obligations to attend school after their sixteenth birthday.

“It is permissible to retake a school year, but as compulsory education ends at 16 it means that many drop out,” education minister Jan Björklund told Dagens Nyheter.

Björklund explained that the the government proposal, which forms part of a new schools law to be presented on Monday, means that pupils will be offered tailored supervision during the additional school year.

“Some need special resource teachers, some simply need more time,” he said.

Björklund reasons that the changes are needed to underline the obligations of the nine-year compulsory level education system to all pupils.

He wants to see the extra year introduced as soon as possible to ensure that pupils do not leave school lacking the basic qualifications for high school (gymnasium) courses.

The extra year could be introduced as early as year three as the first indications of a pupil’s progress emerge in conjunction with the first stage of national tests in Swedish and mathematics.

“The purpose of these tests is to catch those who don’t make the grade,” Björklund told Dagens Nyheter.

The education minister also promised that pupils who wish to voluntarily undergo another year of school would be allowed to do so.

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HEALTH

Swedish opposition proposes ‘rapid tests for ADHD’ to cut gang crime

The Moderate Party in Stockholm has called for children in so called "vulnerable areas" to be given rapid tests for ADHD to increase treatment and cut gang crime.

Swedish opposition proposes 'rapid tests for ADHD' to cut gang crime

In a press release, the party proposed that treating more children in troubled city areas would help prevent gang crime, given that “people with ADHD diagnoses are “significantly over-represented in the country’s jails”. 

The idea is that children in so-called “vulnerable areas”, which in Sweden normally have a high majority of first and second-generation generation immigrants, will be given “simpler, voluntary tests”, which would screen for ADHD, with those suspected of having the neuropsychiatric disorder then put forward for proper evaluations to be given by a child psychiatrist. 

“The quicker you can put in place measures, the better the outcomes,” says Irene Svenonius, the party’s leader in the municipality, of ADHD treatment, claiming that children in Sweden with an immigrant background were less likely to be medicated for ADHD than other children in Sweden. 

In the press release, the party said that there were “significant differences in the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD within Stockholm country”, with Swedish-born children receiving diagnosis and treatment to a higher extent, and with ADHD “with the greatest probability” underdiagnosed in vulnerable areas. 

At a press conference, the party’s justice spokesman Johan Forsell, said that identifying children with ADHD in this areas would help fight gang crime. 

“We need to find these children, and that is going to help prevent crime,” he said. 

Sweden’s climate minister Annika Strandhäll accused the Moderates of wanting to “medicate away criminality”. 

Lotta Häyrynen, editor of the trade union-backed comment site Nya Mitten, pointed out that the Moderates’s claim to want to help children with neuropsychiatric diagnoses in vulnerable areas would be more credible if they had not closed down seven child and youth psychiatry units. 

The Moderate Party MP and debater Hanif Bali complained about the opposition from left-wing commentators and politicians.

“My spontaneous guess would have been that the Left would have thought it was enormously unjust that three times so many immigrant children are not getting a diagnosis or treatment compared to pure-Swedish children,” he said. “Their hate for the Right is stronger than their care for the children. 

Swedish vocab: brottsförebyggande – preventative of crime 

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