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EDUCATION

Free school group demands national comparison of schools

The National Organisation of Free Schools (Friskolornas riksförbund) wants to have national statistics on all Swedish schools' ability to reach certain quality criteria collected.

Free school group demands national comparison of schools

These figures should be made available for all students and teachers, writes the organisation’s chairperson Gunvor Engström in an opinion piece in newspaper Svenska Dagbladet (SvD).

The quality of free schools has been the object of a heated debate recently, but Engström refutes claims that the opportunity to choose different education alternatives is the root of schooling problems in Sweden.

Instead, she she puts the blame on a lack of information about differences in quality between schools.

According to Engström, the right to choose one’s school is an important tool in the improvement of educational quality in Sweden.

She opines that better information is essential for students to be able to make an informed decision in their choice of school, and suggests that educational quality needs to be more clearly defined, with the same criteria applying to municipal and free schools.

“Without the access to relevant information, freedom of choice risks losing its most important function, namely improvement of quality”, she writes.

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HEALTH

Swedish opposition proposes ‘rapid tests for ADHD’ to cut gang crime

The Moderate Party in Stockholm has called for children in so called "vulnerable areas" to be given rapid tests for ADHD to increase treatment and cut gang crime.

Swedish opposition proposes 'rapid tests for ADHD' to cut gang crime

In a press release, the party proposed that treating more children in troubled city areas would help prevent gang crime, given that “people with ADHD diagnoses are “significantly over-represented in the country’s jails”. 

The idea is that children in so-called “vulnerable areas”, which in Sweden normally have a high majority of first and second-generation generation immigrants, will be given “simpler, voluntary tests”, which would screen for ADHD, with those suspected of having the neuropsychiatric disorder then put forward for proper evaluations to be given by a child psychiatrist. 

“The quicker you can put in place measures, the better the outcomes,” says Irene Svenonius, the party’s leader in the municipality, of ADHD treatment, claiming that children in Sweden with an immigrant background were less likely to be medicated for ADHD than other children in Sweden. 

In the press release, the party said that there were “significant differences in the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD within Stockholm country”, with Swedish-born children receiving diagnosis and treatment to a higher extent, and with ADHD “with the greatest probability” underdiagnosed in vulnerable areas. 

At a press conference, the party’s justice spokesman Johan Forsell, said that identifying children with ADHD in this areas would help fight gang crime. 

“We need to find these children, and that is going to help prevent crime,” he said. 

Sweden’s climate minister Annika Strandhäll accused the Moderates of wanting to “medicate away criminality”. 

Lotta Häyrynen, editor of the trade union-backed comment site Nya Mitten, pointed out that the Moderates’s claim to want to help children with neuropsychiatric diagnoses in vulnerable areas would be more credible if they had not closed down seven child and youth psychiatry units. 

The Moderate Party MP and debater Hanif Bali complained about the opposition from left-wing commentators and politicians.

“My spontaneous guess would have been that the Left would have thought it was enormously unjust that three times so many immigrant children are not getting a diagnosis or treatment compared to pure-Swedish children,” he said. “Their hate for the Right is stronger than their care for the children. 

Swedish vocab: brottsförebyggande – preventative of crime 

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