‘Fake’ universities operating in Sweden

The Swedish National Agency for Higher Education (Högskoleverket) has issued a warning about two so-called fake universities operating in Sweden. Both universities offer courses up to and including doctoral level.

'Fake' universities operating in Sweden

One of the universities, the Scandinavian University of Science and Technology (SUST), is only accessible via the internet, and has a post office box registered to an address in Angered, a suburb of Gothenburg, according to local newspaper Göteborgs Posten.

The university’s homepage was out of service on Tuesday morning.

The second university, calling itself the Alhuraa University in Sweden, is based in the Stockholm region and claims to be a branch of a university of the same name in the Netherlands.

The university markets its courses primarily at Iraqis living in Sweden and its homepage is primarily in Kurdish and Arabic with a short presentation in English.

Both universities offer academic degrees up to doctoral level and neither are registered academic establishments in Sweden, the National Agency for Higher Education has warned.

The agency has called on the government to investigate whether these two “universities” are operating in breach of Swedish law.

“If they are not, then we have a real problem, because we could then see many more in the future,” said the agency’s Erik Johansson to Göteborgs-Posten.

The internet is littered with fake universities offering academic qualifications but remain relatively unusual in Sweden.

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Inquiry calls for free after-school care for 6-9 year-olds in Sweden

Children between ages 6-9 years should be allowed admittance to after-school recreation centers free of charge, according to a report submitted to Sweden’s Minister of Education Lotta Edholm (L).

Inquiry calls for free after-school care for 6-9 year-olds in Sweden

“If this reform is implemented, after-school recreation centers will be accessible to the children who may have the greatest need for the activities,” said Kerstin Andersson, who was appointed to lead a government inquiry into expanding access to after-school recreation by the former Social Democrat government. 

More than half a million primary- and middle-school-aged children spend a large part of their school days and holidays in after-school centres.

But the right to after-school care is not freely available to all children. In most municipalities, it is conditional on the parent’s occupational status of working or studying. Thus, attendance varies and is significantly lower in areas where unemployment is high and family finances weak.

In this context, the previous government formally began to inquire into expanding rights to leisure. The report was recently handed over to Sweden’s education minister, Lotta Edholm, on Monday.

Andersson proposed that after-school activities should be made available free of charge to all children between the ages of six and nine in the same way that preschool has been for children between the ages of three and five. This would mean that children whose parents are unemployed, on parental leave or long-term sick leave will no longer be excluded. 

“The biggest benefit is that after-school recreation centres will be made available to all children,” Andersson said. “Today, participation is highest in areas with very good conditions, while it is lower in sparsely populated areas and in areas with socio-economic challenges.” 

Enforcing this proposal could cause a need for about 10,200 more places in after-school centre, would cost the state just over half a billion kronor a year, and would require more adults to work in after-school centres. 

Andersson recommends recruiting staff more broadly, and not insisting that so many staff are specialised after-school activities teachers, or fritidspedagod

“The Education Act states that qualified teachers are responsible for teaching, but that other staff may participate,” Andersson said. “This is sometimes interpreted as meaning that other staff may be used, but preferably not’. We propose that recognition be given to so-called ‘other staff’, and that they should be given a clear role in the work.”

She suggested that people who have studied in the “children’s teaching and recreational programmes” at gymnasium level,  people who have studied recreational training, and social educators might be used. 

“People trained to work with children can contribute with many different skills. Right now, it might be an uncertain work situation for many who work for a few months while the employer is looking for qualified teachers”, Andersson said.