Rise in truancy often parents’ fault: report

Thousands of schoolchildren across the country are regularly skipping classes as the problem of truancy grows, according to a new report.

Swedish schools are finding it harder than ever to deal with the problem of truancy, according to the report carried out by the Swedish Schools Inspectorate (Skolinspektionen).

In the 50 secondary schools in 28 municipalities surveyed, 2 percent of students in grades 7-9 are showing a high rate of absence that can be classed as truancy, the equivalent of 2-4 per school.

On a country-wide basis this equates to thousands of children skipping school every day, reports TT.

In general, the problem is greater according the size of the school involved.

Independent schools, which generally tend to be smaller, reported less incidents of truancy, the report states. Nevertheless, one third of schools claim to be working hard to deal with the problem.

Various reasons for the problem are highlighted, and in many cases, the finger of blame is pointed at the parents.

“It can be about a student who has problems in school, and we need to look into how their education should be adapted. Pupils may also have abuse in the family. It is not so unusual that students are kept at home by parents who need help when they are drunk,” said Jonas Nygren at the Swedish Schools Inspectorate to TT.

Parents are blamed also for the rising number of holidays booked by parents during term time, often without the permission of the head teacher.

“Head teachers often feel pressurized by parents who want to go to Thailand at Lucia and come back on January 15. If they do so every year, the student has lost the equivalent of one academic year by ninth grade”, said Nygren.

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