900 million kronor has been earmarked for children at the junior level – aged 7 to 10 – while a full billion kronor will be added to the 3.6 billion already committed to raising teachers’ own education levels and status.
“The junior level is the most important part of school. If the first years don’t work then it’s very difficult to make up for it further down the line,” said schools minister Jan Björklund in a statement from a meeting in Västerås.
“In the long run I want to continue transferring resources to the junior level – that’s where we must make a special effort,” he said.
Of the two billion kronor, 900 million will be spent by local councils on improving reading, writing and arithmetic. 150 million kronor is set aside for 2008, 250 million kronor in 2009 and 500 million kronor in 2010.
Around 1.2 billion kronor will extend the government’s ‘teacher boosting’ policy announced in April of this year, which is designed to raise the status of teachers in society and to attract more young people to the profession.
“We want to see more special teachers – experts are needed to teach children to read and write in school,” said Jan Björklund.
“But there will also be other forms of support for these pupils. That could take the form of extra hours in the afternoon, summer courses or other methods of helping these children.”