Class-skipping pupils targeted by new bill

Minister for Education Jan Björklund has presented a legislative proposal that would enable truancy to be displayed in the grade reports of all school goers.

Class-skipping pupils targeted by new bill

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.

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.

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Swedish Liberal leader auctions shirt off his back to fight racism

The leader of Sweden's Liberal party put a blue shirt he wore throughout the campaign up for auction on election day Sunday, vowing to donate the money to an anti-racist magazine as the far-right was tipped to win record votes.

Swedish Liberal leader auctions shirt off his back to fight racism
“I have defended my view of a liberal society with rolled up shirtsleeves. My shirt has been with me in this fight,” Jan Björklund wrote in an advertisement on the Tradera auction site. 
“Number of debates: 12, Size: L (why would I choose S or M?), Colour: blue (the colour of freedom), Price: the highest bidder (I'm in favour of free trade),” Björklund wrote cheekily of the shirt he reportedly wore almost every day during the election campaign.
He said the money would be donated to the magazine “Expo, an organisation relentlessly fighting against the nauseating worldview of nationalism”.  
The gesture — a form of electioneering to any objective observer — is permissible in Sweden, where campaigning is allowed on election day.
The Liberal leader has been one of the most vocal voices against the Sweden Democrats, an anti-immigration party that is tipped to win around 20 percent of votes in Sunday's legislative elections. 
Founded in 1995 by Stieg Larsson, author of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” crime trilogy, and other anti-fascist activists, Expo runs a website and a magazine on far-right and neo-Nazi groups.