Swedish teachers ‘poorly trained’

The quality of teacher training in Sweden has been called into question by a new report. Swedish teacher training courses often allow students to coast through without picking up vital skills. Many potential teachers get higher grades than they deserve, the report from the Swedish National Agency for Higher Education.

The report, presented in Tuesday’s Dagens Nyheter, is the result of three in-depth studies commissioned in 2005 after the publication of a damning assessment of Swedish teacher training.

The research shows that students can get through the course without having gained vital knowledge and skills.

The report recommends an increase in the number of traditional exams to combat the problem. Tutors at teacher training colleges are often afraid to fail students, concerned that this will lead to extra work and loss of finance for the institutions.

Another of the three studies showed that one in three dissertations given a pass mark at the colleges was of dubious quality. Of those dissertations given a VG, the second highest grade, only one in four was considered worthy by the researchers.

Of all dissertations given a pass mark, researchers judged that one in four had such serious failings that they were doubtful whether it was worthy of a pass.

The researchers compared teacher training to the education schemes for nurses, psychologists and accounts staff. Of these, teacher training was judged to be inferior.

On the plus side, more teacher training lecturers have doctorates compared to 2005. Links to research are still weak, however; teacher training is still not accepted in the academic world. In order for this to change, the quality of the exams needs to improve, the agency argues.