Sweden to beef up teacher licencing system

The Swedish government has proposed implementing a new licencing system for teachers starting in 2012.

Sweden to beef up teacher licencing system

Only qualified teachers will be able to find permanent employment and receive certification, according to a proposal unveiled by education minister Jan Björklund outlined on Monday.

To become licenced, a teacher must have graduated with a teaching degree and undergone an introduction period of at least one year.

One in five teachers in Swedish schools currently lack qualifications to teach. However, half of them have permanent positions and will be able to keep their jobs, according to Björklund.

“One must respect labour laws. However, since they no longer grant certification, it puts pressure on municipalities to provide them with training so that they become licensed,” he says.

When the licencing system is introduced, it will also force municipal authorities to find qualified teachers, Björklund believes.

“It may be cheaper now to employ unlicenced staff, which may affect how much effort municipalities put into hiring. We will change this when we increase demands,” he said.

The proposal would grant a three-year transitional period for schools with a large number of unlicensed personnel to minimise the number of potential problems they could possibly face.

During that time, the schools will be able to train the unlicenced teachers.

The government’s aim is that the new licencing system will elevate the status of the teaching profession, which will entice more people to want to work as teachers.

“There is currently a teacher shortage, particularly in scientific subjects, because it pays better to work in industry,” said Björklund.

The government’s proposal to establish a teacher licencing system was also welcomed by the political opposition.

“A licencing system contributes to ensuring the quality of the teaching profession as a whole and elevating the status of the teaching profession. In this way, the teaching profession will become more attractive,” Social Democratic education policy spokesman Mikael Damberg said in a statement.

However, Damberg emphasised that it wanted to ensure that there are sufficient quality demands made in the first induction year for new teachers.

“We will examine this part of the reform in particular,” he said.

He also indicates that the Social Democrats want to see a broad bipartisan agreement on key elements of school policy.

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Bavaria plans 100 million rapid Covid tests to allow all pupils to return to school

In the southern state of Bavaria, schools have been promised 100 million self-tests starting next week so that more children can start being taught in person again. But teachers say the test strategy isn't being implemented properly.

Bavaria plans 100 million rapid Covid tests to allow all pupils to return to school
Children in the classroom in Bavaria. Photo:Matthias Balk/DPA

State leaders Markus Söder said on Friday that the first 11 million of the DIY tests had already arrived and would now be distributed through the state.

“It’s no good in the long run if the testing for the school is outside the school,” Söder told broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR) during a visit to a school in Nuremberg.

“Contrary to what has been planned in Berlin, we’ve pre-ordered in Bavaria: for this year we have 100 million tests.”

Bavaria, Germany’s largest state in terms of size, plans to bring all children back into schools starting on Monday.

SEE ALSO: ‘The right thing to do’ – How Germany is reopening its schools

However, high coronavirus case rates mean that these plans have had to be shelved in several regions.

In Nuremberg, the state’s second largest city, primary school children have been sent back into distance learning after just a week back in the classroom.

The city announced on Friday that schools would have to close again after the 7-day incidence rose above 100 per 100,000 inhabitants.

The nearby city of Fürth closed its schools after just two days of classroom time on Wednesday, after the 7-day incidence rose to 135.

The Bavarian test strategy plans for school children to receive one test per week, while teachers have the possibility of taking two tests a week. The testing is not compulsory.

But teachers’ unions in the southern state have warned that the test capacity only exists on paper and have expressed concern that their members will become infected in the workplace.

“Our teachers are afraid of infection,” Almut Wahl, headmistress of a secondary school in Munich, told BR24.

“Officially they are allowed to be tested twice a week, we have already received a letter about this. But the tests are not there.”

BR24 reports that, contrary to promises made by the state government, teachers in many schools have still not been vaccinated, ventilation systems have not been installed in classrooms, and the test infrastructure has not been put in place.