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EDUCATION

Christianity prioritised in Swedish schools

Sweden’s schools agency wants all religions to receive equal treatment when taught in Swedish schools, but the government maintains that Christianity should continue to receive special treatment.

Christianity prioritised in Swedish schools
Education minister Jan Björklund

“The view of National Agency for Education (Skolverket) is still that all of the five major world religions should be treated equally, and therefore the government is now steamrolling the agency,” education minister Jan Björklund told the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper.

Last year the agency was tasked with developing new curriculum for all subjects taught in Swedish primary and middles schools.

When it came to courses on religion, the agency proposed scrapping texts which gave Christianity special treatment and suggested that all religions should be treated equally in class.

The proposal was roundly criticised when it was presented last spring, including from Björklund. The schools agency made a number of changes, but apparently they revisions didn’t go far enough in the eyes of the education minister.

Last Thursday, the government approved a new curriculum which will come into effect for the autumn term of 2011. And in the new curriculum, the government simply rolled over the education agency’s proposals and ordered that Christianity should maintain its special status in classes on religion.

“It’s not that the Christian religion is better than any other, rather it has to do with the enormous influence Christianity has had in our country, and still does have in our part of the world,” Björklund told SvD.

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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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