Let students rate teachers: Centre Party

Centre Party leader Maud Olofsson has proposed allowing Swedish students to rate their teachers in an effort to broaden the party's education policy. However, both students and teachers have already quashed the proposal.

Let students rate teachers: Centre Party

Despite the resistance the proposal has encountered since it was first brought up more than two years ago, Olofsson has pressed on with pushing it forward.

Not a single student organisation was interested in the proposal when it was launched in 2008.

“I have never heard of it being something that students would be interested in,” Michael Grenefalk, chairman of the Swedish Student Central Council Organisation (Sveriges Elevråds Centralorganisation, SECO), said at the time.

Meanwhile, the teachers’ union has also dismissed the proposal, deeming it meddlesome.

In addition, the Centre Party’s coalition partner, the Liberal Party, which is responsible for education issues in the government, has given the proposal the thumbs down.

“To give students the responsibility of having an influence on teachers’ salaries is a strange idea. It places a great responsibility on each individual student,” said Christer Nylander, chairman of the Liberal Party’s education policy working group.

In the Centre Party’s congress resolution from 2009, there is no trace of the proposal. However, the Party has suggested that students should have the right to appeal grading decisions.

Olofsson wants the party to broaden itself and its focus on school policies is part of this plan.

She also proposed greater autonomy for schools, such as allowing an increase in the number of classes according to the students’ needs.

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Schools in Sweden discriminate against parents with Arabic names: study

Parents with Arabic-sounding names get a less friendly response and less help when choosing schools in Sweden, according to a new study from the University of Uppsala.

Schools in Sweden discriminate against parents with Arabic names: study

In one of the largest discrimination experiments ever carried out in the country, 3,430 primary schools were contacted via email by a false parent who wanted to know more about the school. The parent left information about their name and profession.

In the email, the false parent stated that they were interested in placing their child at the school, and questions were asked about the school’s profile, queue length, and how the application process worked. The parent was either low-educated (nursing assistant) or highly educated (dentist). Some parents gave Swedish names and others gave “Arabic-sounding” names.

The report’s author, Jonas Larsson Taghizadeh said that the study had demonstrated “relatively large and statistically significant negative effects” for the fictional Arabic parents. 

“Our results show that responses to emails signed with Arabic names from school principals are less friendly, are less likely to indicate that there are open slots, and are less likely to contain positive information about the school,” he told The Local. 

READ ALSO: Men with foreign names face job discrimination in Sweden: study

The email responses received by the fictional Arabic parents were rated five percent less friendly than those received by the fictional Swedish parents, schools were 3.2 percentage points less likely to tell Arabic parents that there were open slots at the school, and were 3.9 percentage points less likely to include positive information about the municipality or the school. 

There was no statistically significant difference in the response rate and number of questions answered by schools to Swedish or Arabic-sounding parents. 

Taghizadeh said that there was more discrimination against those with a low social-economic status job than against those with an Arabic name, with the worst affected group being those who combined the two. 

“For socioeconomic discrimination, the results are similar, however, here the discrimination effects are somewhat larger,” he told The Local. 

Having a high economic status profession tended to cancel out the negative effects of having an Arabic name. 

“The discrimination effects are substantially important, as they could potentially indirectly influence parents’ school choice decision,” Taghizadeh said.

Investigating socioeconomic discrimination is also important in itself, as discrimination is seldom studied and as explicit discrimination legislation that bans class-based discrimination is rare in Western countries including Sweden, in contrast to laws against ethnic discrimination.”