• Sweden edition
Reinfeldt talks schools in annual Christmas speech

Reinfeldt talks schools in annual Christmas speech

Published: 18 Dec 2012 09:26 GMT+01:00
Updated: 18 Dec 2012 09:26 GMT+01:00

Reinfeldt held his annual Christmas speech at the Skansen museum in Stockholm on Monday afternoon, stressing the importance of maintaining Sweden’s reputation worldwide.

“When Sweden is compared with other countries, we are often at the very top and I’m proud of that. But this doesn’t really apply in the when it comes to schools,” he said.

Reinfeldt stressed that Sweden needed to improve results in children’s education if the country was to maintain its reputation as a top science and engineering country.

He added that he was “ready to take the step” to further lowering the age at which students are first given written grades in school.

As of this year, children in Sweden have been graded from the age of 12 (in the sixth grade), down from the eighth grade in previous years.

Reinfeldt suggested the move would allow teachers to understand faster when a struggling student needed more support.

Social Democrat leader Stefan Löfven was not impressed with Reinfeldt’s plans, calling them “desperate and woeful”.

“The problems our schools have with dropping results can’t have escaped anyone,” he said to the TT news agency after the speech.

Meanwhile, Metta Fjelkner, chairwoman for the National Union of Teachers (Lärarnas Riksförbund), was more positive.

“We have said that we’re all for earlier grading in schools, and we’re happy that Fredrik Reinfeldt has now made this connection, but first we have to wait and see what happens with the reform that’s just gone through, we have to let it settle,” she told TT.

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Your comments about this article

11:32 December 18, 2012 by Dr. Dillner
How in the devil is one to get early help to children with learning disabilities if you drag your feet in getting them assessed (giving them grades)?
12:48 December 18, 2012 by isenhand
Sitting in University and looking at the students that come in it looks very much like the education system has failed in Sweden (how do you get to university without having done trigonometry?). Just added to the list of things messed up!!

But grading kids isn't the way to fix the problems. All that happens is kids learn to pass exams but don't learn the subject for life.
18:15 December 18, 2012 by just a question
I do think that giving them grades could improve a bit the situation. But with the condition that if you give a student a Fail, and if this student has a lot of fails in different subjects, the student should repeat course. Students pass course automatically, either they study or not. It's not fair that the students that study, pass, and the others that don't study pass too.

Nothing will improve until students respect the teachers.
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