Call for more men to work in kindergartens

Minister for Family Affairs Sophie Karmasin (ÖVP) has said she wants to attract more men to work in kindergartens.

Call for more men to work in kindergartens
Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Kindergarten Cop. Photo: Virgin Media

Currently only 0.8 percent of all teachers are men. Karmasin said that she wants to spend some of the €305 million which the government has reserved for the further expansion of childcare on promoting jobs for men in this area.

"There is still much to do," Karmasin said at a press conference on Monday in Salzburg. "It’s very important for boys and girls in kindergarten to have caregivers of both sexes,” she added.

One possibility of how men might get an idea of what this job would entail would be to include it as an option in community service, which is obligatory for men, she said.

In Salzburg around two percent of kindergarten teachers and nursery assistants are male. The state government has committed to a higher starting salary for kindergarten teachers – which has made the job more appealing for both sexes.

Austria could also try drawing on the success of the film Kindergarten Cop (1991), in which Austrian actor Arnold Schwarzenegger attempted to break away from the action hero role and traded his gun for a gym whistle as he attempted to reign in a class of uncontrollable children. 


Theatrical release poster for Kindergarten Cop.  Photo: Universal Studios

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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