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DISABILITY

Sweden gets first dating site for the disabled

Sweden has just got its first dating and community site for disabled people. The site's founder, 25-year-old Robert Öijvall, came up with the idea after attending a course on disability in the eastern town of Uppsala.

“I have a minor disability myself. One of my feet is artificial. So I have some first-hand experience as well as having worked as a personal assistant for a number of years,” Öijvall told The Local.

He currently works with a man who suffered brain damage in an accident which also claimed his wife’s life.

“My client has talked a lot about the difficulty of meeting someone new and making new friends,” said Öijvall.

When the pair attended a course together in Uppsala the issue reared its head again.

“Towards the end, somebody asked if there was anything else we had left out. One woman just said straight out: sex and relationships. There were about 20 of us there and we all started discussing the issue,” said Öijvall.

On the way home from the course they talked about the lack of a targeted dating site for disabled people in Sweden. Öijvall decided to set the wheels in motion.

“When people heard I was putting the site together they were very positive. And since the site launched there has been enormous interest,” he said.

The site, called klubbFH has only been in existence for two days but already there are around 1,000 registered users.

“Lots of people have mentioned in their profiles how glad they are that I have set this up.

“But there will always be somebody ready to find fault and the site has already been criticised by an organisation for disabled people on the grounds that it promotes segregation.

“My response is that everybody is welcome to sign up, not just disabled people,” said Öijvall.

In addition to the community section, users are also encouraged to pose questions to a panel of experts consisting of a physiotherapist, a counsellor and an expert on sex and relationships.

Robert Öijvall is so enthused by the reaction so far that he is already hatching plans to expand the concept to other countries in the Nordic region.

UNIVERSITY

Three Swedish universities earn spots in top 100

Three Swedish universities made it into the top 100 in an annual ranking of the world's best schools on Tuesday, but some of the country's higher education seats dropped from last year.

Three Swedish universities earn spots in top 100
Students at Lund University. Photo: Aline Lessner/imagebank.sweden.se

Lund in southern Sweden was again picked as Sweden's top university and came 73rd in the QS World University Rankings, but dropped three ranks on last year (and down from 60 in 2014).

Eight Swedish universities feature in the QS rankings, and all but three fell in the global list.

The ancient Uppsala University climbed back to the top 100, landing a spot in 98th place. Further down the list, Linköping and Umeå Universities both edged up to 282nd and 294th place, up from 286th and 319th, respectively.

The Royal Institute of Technology (Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan, KTH) dropped from 92nd to 97th place. Gothenburg-based Chalmers University of Technology fell from number 132 to 139 (which is still an improvement on its 175th place in the 2014 QS World University Rankings).

Lund was given a five-star ranking in addition to its place in the list. “Lund is Sweden's most attractive study destination. The compact university campus encourages networking and creates the conditions for scientific breakthroughs and innovations,” read the QS description.

“The university has a clear international profile, with partner universities in over 70 countries. Funding of more than 5 billion kronor a year goes to research at eight faculties, which gives Lund one of Sweden's strongest and broadest ranges of research activity.”

THE LOCAL SWITZERLAND: ETH Zurich best in continental Europe

Now in their 13th year, the annual rankings are compiled by global higher education analysts Quacquerelli Symonds (QS), and rank 916 institutions according to four key pillars: research, teaching employability and internationalization.

For the first time in more than a decade US universities took all three top spots, with MIT placing first for the fifth successive year ahead of Stanford and Harvard, knocking Britain's Cambridge to fourth.

Tuesday's list comes less than a month after the Shanghai Rankings, which picked the Karolinska Institute as the best university in Sweden.