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Class-skipping pupils targeted by new bill

TT/Paul O'Mahony · 2 Aug 2010, 12:28

Published: 02 Aug 2010 12:28 GMT+02:00

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The Liberal Party leader, who introduced a comparable system during his time as Stockholm education chief, is calling for truancy details to be included nationwide in the term reports of primary school pupils as well as the cumulative grade reports of high school pupils.

“It’s not acceptable for adults to come and go as they please in the workplace and the same should apply to pupils at school. Pupils should be present at classes; the level of truancy today is unacceptably high,” said Björklund at a Monday morning press conference.

The government is proposing that all schools outline the number of classes or hours missed by a pupil in a given term, even at the upper high school, or gymnasium, level.

“Although gymnasium is a voluntary school form, if you have applied to a gymnasium and received a place then you should also participate in classes,” said Björklund.

Björklund told reporters that pupils skipped classes for many reasons but added it was often a sign of a broader malaise.

“Being able to identify that a pupil is not doing well at an early stage and offer support represents an investment in our schools and society, but primarily it’s an investment in the individual,” said Björklund.

Story continues below…

If passed, the government’s proposal will come into force in spring 2011 as part of a wider education package. The first truancy reports will appear at the end of the autumn school term in 2011.

TT/Paul O'Mahony (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

14:58 August 2, 2010 by billyb362
Minister for Education, Jan Björklund, may want to perform a survey of these kids, and ask them WHY they don't like school and prefer skipping classes...
16:54 August 2, 2010 by Audrian
billy, I agree with your proposal. There is no need for the minister to jump into thinking that he knows the anwer just because he is in a position of power. What will happen if the children continue to be absent from school after a law is passed? What is the background of these children? Are they from single parent family, drug adicts or busy parents who do not have time for their children? This question implies the solution lies in the areas of socialization!
19:13 August 2, 2010 by Renfeh Hguh
Sounds like a good proposal given that schools have a limited ability to enforce discipline.
19:55 August 2, 2010 by Puffin
I would like to see how this is interpreted - some adult education courses already use attendence in their grades and it is implemented in a totally arbitrary and unfair way - such as people being bumped down to lower grades because of 'absences' such as hospital appointments.
22:25 August 2, 2010 by Noxtion
This is a great idea, I went through high school in the US, but due to my taking classes here in Sweden to go into college, I'm sort of 'back in high school'. So I've seen how these students act, they come and go as they please. (Not to mention half the time it feels like utter anarchy, kids on top of lockers, skatebording inside, and kids screaming right out. All this totally ignored by the teachers, other than an occassional annoyed look. For the most part they just shut their doors and ignore everything.)

Back in my high school the rule was if you miss 3 days you take a huge exam for that class, even if it isn't required. If you miss 10 days, you have to go to a small court type deal to explain why you missed so much school. And they will look at if you did try and apply yourself while missing school. If not this is reflected in your applications to colleges. And of course, your grades.

It may seem strict (which we all thought at the time), but its quite obvious to prepare kids for the real world. I learned the difference of missing school for serious reasons, and those reasons that could be avoided for the sake of education.

If you miss days all the time at a job, how long will you keep it?
00:17 August 3, 2010 by StockholmSam
As a gymnasium teacher, all I can say is AMEN! Students skip classes so much that the teachers rarely get to implement lesson plans that depend on a set number of students for in-class projects or group-work. Then, at the end of the term, the students wonder why they did not get MVGs. Trying to explain that the quality of their work was impacted by the gaps in their learning due to massive gaps in their attendance is exasperating. They just don't see the correlation between attending class and learning and it will hurt Sweden in the long term. I know that if I were selecting kids to come to my university, I would want to know which kids had the discipline to apply themselves, work hard, and excel at the university level. And it IS all about discipline.
08:45 August 3, 2010 by SarahRF
Way to go Mr Minister.

When I was in gymnasium (not that long ago...), every thursday morning, for the first two classes, we had a max of 8-10 students out of 24 attend. The others had been out partying and drinking the night before, and were so hungover they didn't bother showing up for class. This happened all three years I was there. It's insane the amount of unruliness that happens in Swedish schools. You'd expect more from kids that age, but like Noxtion says, they scream and shout and skateboard indoors, it's like a freaking zoo. And let's not even discuss all the disgusting snus things lying all over the place.

Swedish schools definitely need a higher level of control. I say publish their attendance results in the newspaper, embarrass them and their families into getting them to class. Kids have to learn responsibility and accountability early in life to prepare them for the workplace, and where else are they to learn it, if not in school?

Or Sweden could also just do what other countries do. Once a child is on school premises on a school day, they don't leave until school is over. Shopping was a big past time for some of my female classmates, and what better time to do it than during a lesson that was "boring/stupid/weird"?
10:29 August 3, 2010 by Argentina84
"Swedish schools definitely need a higher level of control. I say publish their attendance results in the newspaper, embarrass them and their families into getting them to class. Kids have to learn responsibility and accountability early in life to prepare them for the workplace, and where else are they to learn it, if not in school?"

So you think that this will fix the problem? I don't agree with you. What's more, students should not learn "accountability and responsibility" at school but at home. Parents should be more responsible for their children. This new measure will not solve the attendance problem it will just make it worse for the children and teenagers.
13:07 August 3, 2010 by Rebel
Conformity, conformity, conformity -- so if a student happens to be able to get MVGs throughout gymnasium, but chooses to selectively skip classes, this corporate Big Brother wants to punish them? At the same time these guys are the ones who want to totally abolish home-schooling.

Okay, I know the Chinese fascist model gives a lot of corporate elitists a special feeling, but come on...if you want to do something radical and beneficial for youth then get rid of the stupid rule that someone can turn in late work that was assigned in September anytime they want in the school year without penalty. Oh, but that miught tax the brain cells of the socialists/corporatists who run this system.
17:55 August 4, 2010 by LeoKinmann
if the kids' parents are unable to teach them about responsibility, then of course school should take over.
21:29 August 25, 2010 by SGJamie
What is up with this whole thing about how it is just the parents who should teach kids discipline? If culturally it is written that parents take care of this no matter what country, we're all in A LOT of trouble. You have to take several courses and tests to get a license to drive; for many jobs you have to go through years of education and experience just to get a shot at a position; people who actually work with kids as teachers or "fritids pedagog" go through a lot to get the chance to work with kids.... and so on.... but any fool out there who can have sex and give birth to a child doesn't have to go through anything whether it be education or training in order to be a parent. What you all don't understand is that whether or not parents want to raise good kids or be good parents, they ALL need help. Good teachers who actually care about their students and their futures can offer this and it should be perfectly legal and expected. Parents need help understanding how kids (especially teens) think and act based on factors in their lives. Also, the school is a completely different environment than the home. I know some kids that are angels at home because their parents have a grasp on the discipline at home, but at school are monsters because there are never any teachers on "vakt" (watch duty) during breaks or even during some lectures. The schools allow these kids to get away with so much crap and everyone just turns their heads because no one feels like doing anything about it. I have been educated as a teacher and one of the most important things we have as teachers is the ability to prevent behaviors before they can happen. Allowing kids to go wherever in the school they please anytime during the day unsupervised is just a recipe for discipline problems and an invitation for school sabotage. The government needs to realize this major issue in the schools and NOT tolerate any school that allows such loose policies. It should be EXPECTED that schools not only maintain order, but work with students on existing bad behaviors and put measures in place to PREVENT bad behaviors. For example, study hall should never be a "sit wherever you want in the building unsupervised with a school laptop in hand" situation. The kids should be in one quiet classroom with a supervising teacher and internet blockers for Facebook, Bilddagboken, Youtube and other sites to PREVENT the temptation for kids to spend precious work time on such sites. Seems like common sense to me, but as many in Sweden would say to me, "This is not the USA. We do things differently here." ::shakes her head::
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