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Löfven pushes for compulsory high school

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14:42 CEST+02:00
Opposition leader Stefan Löfven has promised to inject an annual 1 billion kronor ($146 million) into making high school in Sweden compulsory. But the idea has already been met with criticism.

The proposal came via the Social Democrat leader before his summer speech on Sunday. He said that the plan was to be in full effect by 2018 and was to combat high drop out rates.

Löfven pointed to the fact that around one in five of the students who started high school in 2008 was not around to finish five years later.

He said the party needed ambition to motivate the students to work hard and achieve passing grades.

"We need more specialist teachers," he said, according to the TT news agency. "We need to ensure that more people can get tutoring in their mother tongue."

In order to afford a driving license, the party also promised students who finished high school a loan of up to 25,000 ($3,600) kronor.

According to the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise (Svenskt Näringsliv), six out of ten employers require their staff to have a license.

Education minister Jan Björklund was critical of Löfven's suggestions.

"The state should not take on the costs of individuals taking their driving license. The student loan should be used for studies," he said.

He also added that money would be better spent on apprenticeships and training courses. 

In Sweden school becomes compulsory from the age of seven to sixteen. At the age of sixteen Swedes have the right to switch from school to work 40 hours a week if they so choose, with the employer carrying some responsibility if the person is still a minor.
 
Löfven later said in his summer speech that the Social Democrats' main task was "to bring solidarity to every person and to get Sweden to stick together".

"They choose to punish people because they are looking for work or because they're sick, and they are hard on taxing pensioners," Löfven said of the current government.

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He also accused the Alliance of "tampering with numbers, grilling sausages and disco dancing while the inequality levels in Sweden were increasing the most in the western world."

Political scientist Niklas Bolin said on Monday that Löfven's proposal may end up isolating the Social Democrats in the lead up to the elections in September. 

"Ideas like this could make it harder for them to cooperate with other parties," he told The Local. "The loan for the driving license wouldn't work for the Green Party, for example."

Bolin added that there aren't actually that many differences between Sweden's two biggest parties, but that both use rhetoric to point each other out. 
 
"The Social Democrats says that the Moderates is a party for the rich and the Moderates say the Social Democrats are a loans party."
 
The Local/TT/iv

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