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EDUCATION

Moderates challenge councils over independent schools

Moderate party education representatives want to see a centralization and simplification of the independent schooling system. Councils should lose the right to delay the opening of new schools, they argue.

Moderates challenge councils over independent schools

The group proposes the removal of independent schools from local council control. In return they propose tightening state control over the schools, Svenska Dagbladet reported on Friday.

“Gushing neo-liberalism,” Social Democrat and Malmö mayor Ilmar Reepalu said to Svenska Dagbladet.

Moderate parliamentary education committee members want to make it easier to open independent schools. They have reacted to a situation in Gävle in northern Sweden where local councillors have been able to delay the opening of a new high school.

The International English School has secured all the correct permits from the Board of Education (Skolverket) but Gävle councillors have appealed the decision to the administrative court of appeal arguing that the new school will lead to a saturation of the market and harm existing public schools.

The opposition Social Democrats called the proposal “irresponsible.” Moderate politician Mats Gerdau responded that the proposal aims to encourage cooperation with local residents.

“If you have authorization then the school should be allowed to open. It is bad practice to throw a spanner into the works for your fellow citizens. One should work with the citizens, not against them,” said Moderate parliamentarian Mats Gerdau to Svenska Dagbladet.

The appeal of the school board’s decision means that students who have registered for the new school will not be able to take up their places in the autumn and will instead be forced to attend one of the local council-run schools.

Mats Gerdau argues that councils should not have the right to be consulted over the opening of new independent schools.

“Why should you have to ask the competition when it comes to the founding of schools? You don’t ask Coop Konsum if they would like Ica to open a store or not,” Gerdau said to the newspaper.

The Moderate party parliamentary group proposes a simplification of the system in the interest of expediency. They also propose that school inspectors should visit an independent school in the first year of operation in comparison to the third year currently.

Independent schools that do not meet the standards should be closed faster than they are today, the politicians argue.

The Moderate group’s proposal has not been presented with the party’s coalition partners in the Alliance government.

HEALTH

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 

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