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Sweden set for stricter teacher credentials

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07:03 CEST+02:00
The Swedish government has plans to toughen up on the credentials required for the country's school teachers.

In spring of next year, Swedish Minister for Education Jan Björklund intends to introduce a new policy placing stricter demands on teacher qualifications.

The policy will prevent unqualified teachers from attaining full-time positions in Swedish schools.

"It's wrong to hire unqualified teachers full-time and I want to put a stop to it, with certain exceptions for teachers in particular occupational subjects," he told TT.

According to Björklund, teacher training will not be specifically required by the new policy and other forms of university education will likely be deemed sufficient.

“The new law will state who is qualified and who isn't,” said Björklund.

The Minister also made it clear that he does not intend to put a total stop to the presence of non-credentialed teachers in schools.

“There will still be a possibility to solve temporary problems in which an adult is required to teach a class. Problems occur when such a solution becomes permanent. There are far too many unqualified full-time teachers today,” he said.

Starting November 15th, Swedish teachers will also have the opportunity to study abroad on 80 percent pay.

“The state and the communes will share in the costs,” Björklund wrote in the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.

Björklund attended an EU ministers' meeting in Gothenburg on Wednesday, where he and his European colleagues discussed how to raise the status of the teaching profession and how to draw more young students into teacher education programs.

Many EU countries are currently suffering similar shortages in the availability of qualified teachers, particularly given the large number of projected retirements next year.

Björklund aims to improve opportunities for teacher exchange within Europe and hopes that the EU commission will take the initiatives required to enable teachers to work and study in other European countries.

In Sweden, the government intends to change the rules of the so-called “boost for teachers”, investing in continued education so that teachers have the opportunity to broaden their skills through overseas study.

“The state is set to cover around 70 percent of the costs, and the municipality about 30 percent,” wrote Björklund.

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