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Björklund defends grading plan

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Björklund defends grading plan
11:48 CET+01:00
Opposition Social Democrat leader Mona Sahlin has asked the government to postpone a decision that would see Swedish schoolchildren given grades from the age of seven. She said delaying the move was a precondition for a bipartisan agreement on education policy.

Education Minister Jan Björklund immediately rejected Sahlin's overtures. Grading children at an earlier stage is a key part of the government's education policy.

Sahlin made the comments in an article in Dagens Nyheter on Saturday, which was also signed by teaching union leaders Metta Fjelkner and Eva-Liz Preisz. They said that the government should not allow the question of grading first-graders to get in the way of the "unique chance" to reach agreement across the political blocks on education policy.

Sahlin and the union leaders said that grading for 7-year-olds was not supported by schools or parents. But Jan Björklund said in a statement that he would not abandon his plans for grading.

"Sweden needs to leave 'fuzzy schooling' behind and focus more on knowledge-based results. The more people who support those reforms the better. Written reports with clear information for parents are therefore an important decision, which will be made during spring 2008," said Björklund.

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