No more free education for non-Europeans

Sweden is to start charging tuition to non-European university students, according to comments by higher education minister Lars Leijonborg in the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper.

No more free education for non-Europeans
Photo: Sippeangelo & Wrote

Today, Sweden is one of the few countries in the world which does not charge tuition to students from other countries.

The Social Democratic government examined how a tuition system would look, but never put forward a legislative proposal on the matter.

Leijonborg has thus far avoided taking a stand on the controversial question, but now says that the government is in total agreement on charging fees to university students coming from countries other than the EU member states, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway.

“Our primary argument is that it is unwise of a country not to benefit from a payment system which obviously exists. Why should these students pay money to American or British universities, but not to Swedish [ones]?” Leijonborg explained to SvD.

The fees will be based on the costs incurred by the universities themselves. At the same time, a system of stipends will be implemented for students lacking sufficient funds to pay tuition.

The proposal is included in a bill to be presented in the autumn on how university-level international exchanges can be increased.

The new tuition system would be implemented on January 1st, 2010, at the latest.

Elin Rosenberg, chair of the Swedish association of student unions (Sveriges Förenade studentkårer), is very critical of the proposal.

She fears that, in the long run, it could lead to fees for Swedish students as well.

Free education is one of the primary reasons that students choose Sweden. A study carried out last year by Sweden’s National Agency for Higher Education (Högskoleverket) and the Swedish Institute found that many may choose not to pursue their studies in Sweden if fees are introduced.

Around 13,000 foreign students study at Swedish universities and colleges as “free-movers” who choose to come to Sweden on their own initiative rather than as a part of an organized exchange program.

Most of them are Asian men who are pursuing technical degrees.

According to the study, 86 percent of students would recommend studying in Sweden to others. If the education cost money, however, only 37 percent would recommend Sweden.


Swedish opposition proposes ‘rapid tests for ADHD’ to cut gang crime

The Moderate Party in Stockholm has called for children in so called "vulnerable areas" to be given rapid tests for ADHD to increase treatment and cut gang crime.

Swedish opposition proposes 'rapid tests for ADHD' to cut gang crime

In a press release, the party proposed that treating more children in troubled city areas would help prevent gang crime, given that “people with ADHD diagnoses are “significantly over-represented in the country’s jails”. 

The idea is that children in so-called “vulnerable areas”, which in Sweden normally have a high majority of first and second-generation generation immigrants, will be given “simpler, voluntary tests”, which would screen for ADHD, with those suspected of having the neuropsychiatric disorder then put forward for proper evaluations to be given by a child psychiatrist. 

“The quicker you can put in place measures, the better the outcomes,” says Irene Svenonius, the party’s leader in the municipality, of ADHD treatment, claiming that children in Sweden with an immigrant background were less likely to be medicated for ADHD than other children in Sweden. 

In the press release, the party said that there were “significant differences in the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD within Stockholm country”, with Swedish-born children receiving diagnosis and treatment to a higher extent, and with ADHD “with the greatest probability” underdiagnosed in vulnerable areas. 

At a press conference, the party’s justice spokesman Johan Forsell, said that identifying children with ADHD in this areas would help fight gang crime. 

“We need to find these children, and that is going to help prevent crime,” he said. 

Sweden’s climate minister Annika Strandhäll accused the Moderates of wanting to “medicate away criminality”. 

Lotta Häyrynen, editor of the trade union-backed comment site Nya Mitten, pointed out that the Moderates’s claim to want to help children with neuropsychiatric diagnoses in vulnerable areas would be more credible if they had not closed down seven child and youth psychiatry units. 

The Moderate Party MP and debater Hanif Bali complained about the opposition from left-wing commentators and politicians.

“My spontaneous guess would have been that the Left would have thought it was enormously unjust that three times so many immigrant children are not getting a diagnosis or treatment compared to pure-Swedish children,” he said. “Their hate for the Right is stronger than their care for the children. 

Swedish vocab: brottsförebyggande – preventative of crime