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EDUCATION

Drastic funding cuts for independent schools

The Swedish National Agency for Education's (Skolverket) new method for calculating funding for independent high schools (friskolor) means that the institutions risk losing millions of kronor every year.

“I had a bit of a shock when I saw the list. This was not a good way to start the new year,” Erik Drakenberg, head of Täby Enskilda high school, told Dagens Nyheter newspaper.

Drakenberg has called upon Swedish education minister Jan Björklund to ensure that “this madness stops.”

“If there are problems that haven’t anticipated, we’ll look into after the holidays,”

Swedish state secretary Bertil Östberg told DN.

Skolverket’s national cost list has previously been based on the actual costs for various high school programmes. But as of January 1st, the list will be based on an average of municipal budgets.

“At first I was entirely convinced that this is wrong, but it is a new way to calculate (costs),” Drakenberg told DN.

The budget for the media programme, for example, has been reduced from 98,000 kronor ($14,000) to 83,300 kronor ($11,650) per school year. But there are major differences in costs between different municipalities.

Björn Berglund, educational expert at Skolverket, told DN that the agency has compiled the list with the assistance of Statistics Sweden (SCB), but that it has not yet been analysed.

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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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