Bloody students take Sweden for a ride

It's the time of year when Sweden is supposed to be collectively celebrating the achievements of its bright young students as they celebrate graduation by noisily parading around the streets. Do you cheerfully wave back, mutter darkly under your breath, or simply punch them in the face?

Stockholm police have been muttering darkly to the press. But then, they have to deal with the accidents and uphold the law. An unamused Tord Ahlborg, head of the traffic division in Stockholm, told Saturday’s SvD: “It’s important that people stick to the traffic regulations because every year we have serious accidents. For a two week period all our resources are taken up by these celebrations, which means very high costs.”

Reports of accidents have come in from all the major cities. The most dramatic incident in Stockholm saw an over-exuberant student carelessly throw an empty beer can from the back of his truck, hitting the car behind. The red mist descended and the driver caught up with the truck, clambered onto the back and promptly lashed out at all and sundry. He left several sore chins and a student on the road before managing to make his getaway.

In Gothenburg, a man was run over by a parading cabriolet. In Malmö, the driver of a similar vehicle decided to do a high speed turn, forgetting he had three female companions precariously perched on the back. That wasn’t very clever, was it?

It must be all the more galling, therefore, for the Stockholm police and irritated motorists caught up in the celebrations, that the cream of the nation’s youth are actually trying to take us all for a ride.

Tuesday’s DN revealed that Sweden’s students are attempting to cheat their way through university in ever-increasing numbers. The number of students suspended for cheating has increased by 116% over the last two years, to 171.

Favourite ruses include plagiarism, smuggling notes into exams and eliciting outside help on projects.

Officials at the National Agency for Higher Education (NAHE) admitted they have no idea what the true scale of the problem is. It’s suspected that the figures represent the tip of the iceberg and that the reason why they’re not higher is that a number of institutions are choosing not to tackle the problem.

Pontus Kyrk of the NAHE commented: “Certain establishments report a low number of cases in relation to the number of students they have registered and one suspects they have limited monitoring procedures. These days there are computer programs which some universities subscribe to which can check assignments for plagiarism.”

Kyrk wants higher education establishments to work together to draw up standard guidelines for dealing with the problem. He’s actually quite charitable to the poor students themselves.

“Many of them come straight from high school where it’s often regarded as creative to use the internet. They’re then practically put on trial at university. I don’t think students are aware of the consequences of cheating.”