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Sweden to add truancy to school report cards

TT/Rebecca Martin · 11 May 2011, 09:42

Published: 11 May 2011 09:42 GMT+02:00

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“There is too much truancy in Sweden and it is not acceptable. There’s no place of work where you can come and go as you like and that shouldn’t be possible in school either,“ Björklund said in defence of his scheme.

The Liberal Party leader, who introduced a comparable system during his time as Stockholm education chief, has long been calling for truancy details to be included nationwide in the report cards of primary school (grundskola) students as well as the cumulative grade reports of high school (gymnasium) students.

Social Democrat leader Håkan Juholt, who claims never to have been absent without leave from school, said that he was "deeply upset" that truancy would show up in school reports.

Several authorities have also expressed concern over the new system, among them the Ombudsman for Children in Sweden (Barnombudsmannen – BO), the Swedish National Agency for Education (Skolverket) and the Swedish Schools Inspectorate (Skolinspektionen).

According to the schools agency, it is often difficult to determine what is actually an unauthorised absence.

The Schools Inspectorate has warned that differences in schools’ reporting of absence hours could lead to some children being treated unfairly.

The Ombudsman also fears that the truancy report will be detrimental to childrens’ self esteem.

But according to Björklund, truancy levels fell in Stockholm when he introduced the scheme there ten years ago.

“I am convinced that once it is included on a report card, it becomes more real to the students. Many of them will then pull themselves together and abstain from truancy,” Björklund said.

Björklund thinks that the Ombudsman’s critique is referring to a small group of heavy-duty truants, a group that need more measures than a school report to combat their social problems.

“No seven-year-old starts schools as a serious truant. This is a behaviour which develops during time spent at school and I am confident we will have fewer students who end up as outsiders in their teens if we make a clear stand that we will not accept any truancy early on, “ Björklund said.

Story continues below…

Today ten percent of students in primary education are absent without leave on a regular basis. In high school that number is even higher.

The first truancy reports will appear at the end of the autumn school term in 2012.

TT/Rebecca Martin (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

10:50 May 11, 2011 by Stickeroo
Ummm....I'd like to have a list of negatives of why this would be bad?!?! Swedish schools are a total joke. No repercussions for negative behaviour what so ever. Whatever happened to detention?
11:11 May 11, 2011 by StockholmSam
I have been teaching for six years. Truancy in Stockholm schools is unbelievable. It is a terrible situation and neither I nor my fellow teachers can figure out why truancy has not been included in report cards to this point. It needs to be counted because absence from the workplace is certainly factored into your evaluation for promotion, pay raises or contract renewal. The precedent needs to be set early on so that the pattern of behavior is set early on.

And I don't buy this bit about truancy reports hurting kids' self-esteem. What a load of crap. Missing school is what hurts their esteem; reporting the facts only brings the problem to light.

Finally, as far as categorizing the absence as 'excused' or 'unexcused' just remember that a kid does not learn any more from a missed class when the absence is 'excused' as he does when it is 'unexcused.' Both are missed learning opportunities. There is a reason kids get vacation from school. Parents have to learn to use the school vacation times that are given to them. And if the kid just skips, then the kid needs to learn that there are consequences for their actions. This is a crucial element that is missing from the upbringing of today's kids, the lack of consequences.
11:26 May 11, 2011 by technoviking
God forbid anyone should be held responsible in the womb of the nanny state...

I swear Juholt and his commie cronies are kidding sometimes.

Frighteningly, they are not.

They would prefer a nation of feckless hyper sensitive victims who's "feelings" are more important than carrying out the business of living in the real world.
11:58 May 11, 2011 by William Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha
They would have to step very carefully with this. The European Court of Human Rights have already said that reporting absence in connection with performance is unlawful where the person has a disability (including things like stress or depression). Therefore they could only do this for kids they know have no such problem. Are schools confident that they would know?

Furthermore, they would then have the situation where some have it included and others don't. An indirect way of giving out information they are not legally allowed to give out, opening the door for discrimination cases.
14:40 May 11, 2011 by Argentina84
They should come up with a truancy system for irresponsible parents.
17:40 May 11, 2011 by dstergiou
Where to start?

"According to the schools agency, it is often difficult to determine what is actually an unauthorised absence."

How can this even be difficult to determine? If you are not sick (proven by going to the doctor and registering as sick) or if you are not absent due to family reasons (proven by parents) you get an unauthorised absense

"The Ombudsman also fears that the truancy report will be detrimental to childrens' self esteem"

Is this the Swedish comedy week?

Fact: The kid skipped class

Fact: School says to the kid "you skipped class"

Fact: If you feel bad, don't skip class


Depression and stress while at school? When i was in school (20 years) that was normal. But since these are "medical" conditions, have the kids deliver a notice from their doctor and make it an authorized absence

I came to Sweden as an adult (mid-30s) but sometimes, when i read things like that, i wonder how Swedes managed to grow up... Too much liberal crap!
18:04 May 11, 2011 by William Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha
If I'd had to see a doctor to get a note everytime I missed lessons because of my condition, I'd spend more time in the doctor's surgery than in school.
18:34 May 11, 2011 by Noxtion
I was seriously unaware that there were modern countries that DIDN'T report this sort of stuff. I've always had how many days I've been absent written on my report cards. Every since I started school.

Where is the harm? Parents need to know, in High School it was each class that displayed individually how often you were out. It was easy to tell which classes people skipped. And it made it easy for parents to get involved and fuss at you, set you straight or take percautions that would help to prevent you from doing it.

Jeez Sweden... What a bunch of whimps. This is seriously why so many young people seem to love Left Parties. With them they don't need to work hard or take any kind of responsibility.
20:01 May 11, 2011 by dstergiou

If you have a condition, you can get the "paper" once, present it to school and let your parents review your absences and judge if you are "legit" or not. I am guessing they are aware of the condition and they support the fact that you can't attend school when sick

For the rest, +1 to @Noxtion. I mean, come on....
21:12 May 11, 2011 by TwoToTango
For elemtary school sure. Gymnasium not so much. That place is too much like högstadiet anyway. It's actually supposed to be a place of higher learning. Your truancy should be between the student and CSN. If a gymnasium student can skip class and still do fine on the tests then what's the problem? And if you can't then that should be your problem.
21:31 May 11, 2011 by Swedesmith
Possible caption for the picture, "Hey baby, my wee wee is THIS big!"
23:04 May 11, 2011 by Grokh
Thats stupid, so if a kid doesnt take school seriously but graduates nonetheless.

once he starts working no one will hire him because he missed school a few times when he was younger -_-x.

thats useless if a person misses jobs then they get fired its simple what does school have to do with how people work ?

all my Uni friends do is get drunk should that be in there too ?
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