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Immigrant kids prone to 'special needs' label

TT/The Local/vt · 1 Feb 2011, 13:15

Published: 01 Feb 2011 13:15 GMT+01:00

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All 30 municipalities that were reviewed were criticised for serious shortcomings and lacking a legal basis and the Swedish Schools Inspectorate (Skolinspektionen) is now demanding that municipalities complete or conduct new inquiries.

"It is shocking that the investigations have revealed such low quality," the agency's director-general Ann-Marie Begler wrote in the Dagens Nyheter (DN) daily on Monday.

The agency's investigation shows that many students are placed into these schools on dubious grounds and indicates that pupils with a foreign background are over-represented among pupils in currently attending special schools, with the proportion increasing over the last 15 years from 1 percent to 1.4 percent.

There are currently about 12,000 pupils in these schools.

The reason for this should be investigated further, according to the agency, which fears that the municipalities, with their inadequate investigation methods, may have misread the problems that newly arrived students may have at school.

The municipalities have not yet found a way to properly investigate and make decisions about special schools that complies with the law. It is serious and damages the rule of law for both students and parents, according to the agency, which believes that municipalities appear to take their tasks too lightly.

It now proposes that the county councils conduct the psychological and medical investigations instead of the municipalities.

Begler refused to speculate on the number of children who have been wrongly sent to special schools.

"It is not because all parents who currently have children enrolled in special schools are now going to be terribly worried that they have been incorrectly enrolled, but because one must ensure that these children are properly examined and that they get the proper schooling that they are entitled to have," she said.

She added that parents who are concerned about their child's placement can have their children reassessed.

There will soon be an additional investigation on special school placements in other randomly selected municipalities.

The Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (Sveriges Kommuner och Landsting, SKL) is concerned about the results of the investigation.

"The municipalities' aim is to handle the decision in the best possible manner and the decisions that were criticised for faulty grounds will be investigated again," SKL wrote in a statement on Monday.

Story continues below…

In addition, it appears that the municipalities in some cases were criticised for tasks that they are not obliged to perform. The municipalities were criticised for not having performed social investigations in all cases, even though they are not an absolute requirement, according to SKL.

The shortcomings of the assessment are a breach of the UN's Convention on the Rights of the Child, according to children's rights organisation Save the Children.

In Article 3 of the convention, it states that the child's best interests always come first, which the investigation has now shown that Sweden does not live up to.

According to Save the Children, these are a type of abuse that the UN's Committee on the Rights of the Child will highlight in their observations of how Sweden lives up to its intentions.

TT/The Local/vt (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

16:33 February 1, 2011 by BobWas
This article is about immigrant children, but I would like to ask, what special needs does a child have that require him or her to be educated in separate schools?

Most physically/mentally challenged children can be placed in mainstream classes. Why the discrimination/segregation? Is it to fudge the education-ranking numbers?
22:30 February 1, 2011 by OnessOfMankind
Sweden should seek a new approach with handling human rights.

And first and foremost women, children and Elderlys rights.

The goverment should look to all new ideas on this world for dealing and organizing societies like Bahai faith is one example.

And cooprate with it to get new ideas to give people rights equaly.
10:00 February 2, 2011 by logi
this is new one, why would children be given wrong identity and grow up to act in like manner. i will suggest cildren found not to be in such schools, should be properly oriented and enrolled in other normal schools.
10:06 February 2, 2011 by Puffin
@ BobWas

The schools do not accept the physically disabled children at all and most children with mild developmental disorders are also educated in mainstream - the särskola is for children who cannot cope in mainstream.

The children who are placed in the Särskolas are those with severe developmental disorders or delays who will never be able to meet the minimum levels of the Swedish national curriculum and so follow a separate särskola curriculum which offers academics which are adapted to the needs of the child as well as social skills and training etc. The classes are usually small and well staffed.

The article is pointing out that not all kommuns are fullfilling the demands to carry out a detailed evaluation of the child's special needs - in the case of immigran children not all kommuns have carried out billigual assessments to determine whether the kids problems are because of delayed development and language or because of being billigual

However many särskolas are very supportive places for kids with special needs - especially when you consider that most countries that claim integration often have the SEN kids taught separately by unqualified teaching assistants
10:13 February 2, 2011 by TheOriginalBlackMan
It's obvious that the teachers, "Caucasians", are getting a head start on labeling these children as slow or inadequate.

In the U.S.A. they have been doing this for years so as to marginalized people at a early age. Shame on the parents for allowing their children to be admited into these schools if they are obviously of average intelligence.
19:25 February 4, 2011 by Iftikhar_Ahmad
Bilingual Muslims children have a right, as much as any other faith group, to be taught their culture, languages and faith alongside a mainstream curriculum. More faith schools will be opened under sweeping reforms of the education system in England. There is a dire need for the growth of state funded Muslim schools to meet the growing needs and demands of the Muslim parents and children. Now the time has come that parents and community should take over the running of their local schools. Parent-run schools will give the diversity, the choice and the competition that the wealthy have in the private sector. Parents can perform a better job than the Local Authority because parents have a genuine vested interest. The Local Authority simply cannot be trusted.

The British Government is planning to make it easier to schools to "opt out" from the Local Authorities. Muslim children in state schools feel isolated and confused about who they are. This can cause dissatisfaction and lead them into criminality, and the lack of a true understanding of Islam can ultimately make them more susceptible to the teachings of fundamentalists like Christians during the middle ages and Jews in recent times in Palestine. Fundamentalism is nothing to do with Islam and Muslim; you are either a Muslim or a non-Muslim.

There are hundreds of state primary and secondary schools where Muslim pupils are in majority. In my opinion all such schools may be opted out to become Muslim Academies. This mean the Muslim children will get a decent education. Muslim schools turned out balanced citizens, more tolerant of others and less likely to succumb to criminality or extremism. Muslim schools give young people confidence in who they are and an understanding of Islam's teaching of tolerance and respect which prepares them for a positive and fulfilling role in society. Muslim schools are attractive to Muslim parents because they have better discipline and teaching Islamic values. Children like discipline, structure and boundaries. Bilingual Muslim children need Bilingual Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods, who understand their needs and demands.


01:44 February 21, 2011 by alecLoTh
What a load of rubbish you just pasted! Students need only the teacher who knows enough to advance them - no more.
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