Sweden fares badly in global economic report

Swedish citizens have fared badly compared to other developed nations during the deepest depression since the 1930s.

The prognosis comes from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). It is regarded as one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive sources of economic data.

Sweden together with Finland falls at the bottom of their table, excepting even more troubled Western economies–such as Iceland and Ireland. The report stated that living standards in Sweden were 11 percent higher in 2007 than the overall OECD standard, falling to 7 percent last year, Sveriges Radio reports.

Countries such as the US, Australia, and Canada pulled ahead, said the OECD. The organization noted that Sweden remains a well-off nation.

Their report is based on a very particular measurement – purchasing power parities in relationship to Gross National Product (GNP). Price levels have also been taken into account. There are, of course, other measurements for gauging citizen prosperity, it is noted.

In a report three months earlier, the OECD stated that “the Swedish economy has experienced a deep contraction, triggered by the global economic crisis. A gradual recovery has started, but economic slack is very large, and unemployment will continue for some time.”

On Friday the Swedish krona moved negatively against the euro and US dollar, and according to Swedish analysts in response to economic crises in the euro currency countries of Greece, Portugal and Spain. The krona stood at 10.2 kronor against 1 euro, and 7.4 for 1 US dollar. Sweden is a member of the European Community (EU) but has not adopted the euro as its currency.

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Sweden encouraged to improve integration in schools

Sweden can do much more to help immigrant children perform better at school, a new OECD report says.

Sweden encouraged to improve integration in schools
File photo: Fredrik Sandberg / TT
The report, carried out by OECD at the request of the Swedish government, suggested that Sweden’s integration efforts have strained under the weight of the large number of migrants who have entered the country in recent years. 
“Within OECD countries, Sweden has historically welcomed large numbers of migrants, in particular migrants seeking humanitarian protection,” the report reads. “Since 2015, this large influx of new arrivals with multiple disadvantages has put a well-developed integration system under great pressure.”
The study notes that 61 percent of first-generation immigrant students do “not attain baseline academic proficiency”. The number decreases to 43 percent for second-generation immigrant students and that 19 percent differential is well above the OECD average of 11 percents. 
The report gave 20 recommendations for how Sweden can improve the situation, including taking steps to counteract the negative impact that the free choice of schools can have on integration. The group suggests giving the children of immigrants more opportunities to choose the school they want to attend, as well as introducing special quotas for socio-economically disadvantaged students, issuing grants for these students and incentivizing independent schools to take on new pupils. 
The OECD also suggested that Swedish authorities examine how other countries tackle the problems of integration, pointing to countries like Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Canada and the United States as good examples. 
The report also emphasized the importance of including multicultural awareness in the curriculum of schools across Sweden, so that students are exposed to “positive messages” regardless of their origins, according to a government press release
“The OECD has done a thorough job on this report. It’s good to be assured that we are on the right track. At the same time, the OECD has confirmed my view that Sweden should do more to mix students from different backgrounds,” Education Minister Anna Ekström said in the press release. 
Among other suggestions are hiring more teachers, increasing educators’ salaries and incentivizing teachers to take jobs at the schools that need the most help. The 146-page report can be found here