Minister: Fine parents of truant children

Germany’s Labour Minister proposed on Sunday to introduce fines to punish parents whose children regularly missed school. In an interview, Ursula von der Leyen warned that truancy was a stepping stone to unemployment.

Minister: Fine parents of truant children
Photo: DPA

“When we look at long-term unemployment, truancy is where it begins,” von der Leyen told the Berliner Morgenpost newspaper.

“50 percent of the long-term unemployed have no education or professional degree,” she said, arguing it was essential that children get a good start in life.

“Fines hurt,” she said, but they must be imposed when parents violate the Education Act. “You should be able to even send the police round to houses,” she added.

Von der Leyen did not offer any details of the amount of the fine she was proposing, or how much truancy would be tolerated before it would be imposed, but she said “the principle is right.”

This may be tough medicine to take for some, but she did offer one assurance. Parents wont find their unemployment benefits being cut if their children are caught skipping school.

“Money that’s granted due to unemployment cannot be taken to teach the parents a lesson,” she said.

The Local/ccp

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Schools in Sweden discriminate against parents with Arabic names: study

Parents with Arabic-sounding names get a less friendly response and less help when choosing schools in Sweden, according to a new study from the University of Uppsala.

Schools in Sweden discriminate against parents with Arabic names: study

In one of the largest discrimination experiments ever carried out in the country, 3,430 primary schools were contacted via email by a false parent who wanted to know more about the school. The parent left information about their name and profession.

In the email, the false parent stated that they were interested in placing their child at the school, and questions were asked about the school’s profile, queue length, and how the application process worked. The parent was either low-educated (nursing assistant) or highly educated (dentist). Some parents gave Swedish names and others gave “Arabic-sounding” names.

The report’s author, Jonas Larsson Taghizadeh said that the study had demonstrated “relatively large and statistically significant negative effects” for the fictional Arabic parents. 

“Our results show that responses to emails signed with Arabic names from school principals are less friendly, are less likely to indicate that there are open slots, and are less likely to contain positive information about the school,” he told The Local. 

READ ALSO: Men with foreign names face job discrimination in Sweden: study

The email responses received by the fictional Arabic parents were rated five percent less friendly than those received by the fictional Swedish parents, schools were 3.2 percentage points less likely to tell Arabic parents that there were open slots at the school, and were 3.9 percentage points less likely to include positive information about the municipality or the school. 

There was no statistically significant difference in the response rate and number of questions answered by schools to Swedish or Arabic-sounding parents. 

Taghizadeh said that there was more discrimination against those with a low social-economic status job than against those with an Arabic name, with the worst affected group being those who combined the two. 

“For socioeconomic discrimination, the results are similar, however, here the discrimination effects are somewhat larger,” he told The Local. 

Having a high economic status profession tended to cancel out the negative effects of having an Arabic name. 

“The discrimination effects are substantially important, as they could potentially indirectly influence parents’ school choice decision,” Taghizadeh said.

Investigating socioeconomic discrimination is also important in itself, as discrimination is seldom studied and as explicit discrimination legislation that bans class-based discrimination is rare in Western countries including Sweden, in contrast to laws against ethnic discrimination.”