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Tightened teaching rules cause trouble for students

TT/The Local/cg · 26 Jun 2011, 14:10

Published: 26 Jun 2011 14:10 GMT+02:00

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Students may have to switch teachers, be taught from a distance, or even see their school shut down.

"We're a little worried that this may kill schools," Ann-Mari Mäki Larsson, in charge of Pajala municipality's education, said to the TT news agency.

Larsson is referring to a dilemma Pajala, in the far north of Sweden, shares with other thinly populated municipalities: their schools are small, with few teachers, and are far from other schools.

Competence regulations for teachers will be tightened this summer, and the Swedish National Agency for Education (Skolverket) is to issue teacher certificates. This will make small schools very vulnerable.

Two or three teacher together must have full competence for all subjects and all grades. After 2015, only certified teachers may be in charge of teaching and grading.

Neighbouring Kiruna municipality, as well as Krokom and Ånge municipalities, also in northern Sweden, are considering a range of practical solutions.

"Getting teachers to commute between several schools or distance teaching are the possibilities that we can see," concluded school director Peter Nordmark in Kiruna.

"But distance teaching requires one teacher to broadcast, and one to be on location with the students, and that won't be cheap."

Rural areas and cities alike will have employers making some large changes within the teaching staff.

"Basically this reform is good, but when too much is changed at once the quality of the education is lowered. There's a risk that we're going to have worse teaching than we've had earlier between now and 2015," said development manager Lars Thorin in Ånge municipality.

86,000 people are working as grade school teachers, and of these, 86 percent currently hold a degree in teaching.

This means that 10,300 full-time teachers lack competence, and cannot obtain a teacher certificate.

Story continues below…

On July 1st the regulations for teachers and pre-school teachers will be tightened, and only teachers with the appropriate qualifications, in other words a teaching degree within their subject, can then be hired.

From August 1st teachers will be able to apply for a teacher certificate from the Swedish National Agency for Education. This will show which grades and subjects the teacher is qualified for.

To receive this certificate, a teaching degree and one year's work experience is required.

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

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Your comments about this article

16:02 June 26, 2011 by jacquelinee

"This means that 10,300 full-time teachers lack competence, and cannot obtain a teacher certificate."

Just because a peson has a piece of paper that says.. "You are a teacher"does not necessarily mean they are competent and just because someone does not have one, does not mean they are incompetent. I wish more emphais was place on knowledge and abiity and less placed on a piece of paper "betyg".
18:19 June 26, 2011 by michmich
...finally Sweden will fall in line with other countries around the world.

To not have a degree, but to be allowed to teach undermines those who have actually put in the time, and the money to learn the pedagogies and the methodologies associated with subjects, students, and education.

Oh, and Jacquelinee... you're right, the piece of paper doesn't automatically mean you're a brilliant teacher, that takes effort. But it does ensure some sort of knowledge and ability of the skills required on the world stage of education. Many of the unqualified teachers do lack competence - in subject teaching, student management, and that's the core business of which they're involved. Many of the unqualified do have good administrative skills, but education is so much more than that!
19:06 June 26, 2011 by Puffin
Sweden has always required teaching degrees - however some kommuns have ignored this requirement and hired unqualified staff

It will pose problems for those kommuns that have ignored the fact that this reform has been known about for over a year now

Most kommuns were given extra money by Skolverket to aid in the transition and most kommuns have been working to ensure that all teachers are qualified


All professions demand certain qualifications - name any profession that doesn't require qualifications?

Also the new teaching reform is not just about a piece of paper - you will need to have completed probation to be fully registered
04:00 June 27, 2011 by captnemo

86,000 people are working as grade school teachers, and of these, 86 percent currently hold a degree in teaching.

This means that 10,300 full-time teachers lack...."

Let's see: 100% minus 86% equals 14% that do not have the degree;

14% of 86,000 is about 12,000.

Maybe a degree is needed to write for the Local?
09:20 June 27, 2011 by Rebel
Oh come on...this new law really hurts teachers who are probably FAR more qualified to teach students, but happen to be from foreign nations. It is like driving -- Swedes are by far the most moronic drivers I have encountered in this world, but hey, they have their license from the government that says they are qualified to be behind the wheel while if you are Canadian or American you are not.
09:31 June 27, 2011 by just a question
Universities are going to provide courses in order to foreign teachers to get their licences...but the only problem is that they need to know Swedish already and have the Tisus. Why universities don't organize the whole package, Swedish intensive lessons while some pedagogic courses, in order for the process be faster?
10:23 June 27, 2011 by Puffin
@just a question

Actually many Universities do offer the whole package such as Svenska för Pedagoger at Stockholm University or the many TISUS courses

If youare a qualified teacher from abroad then all you need to do is to learn Swedish and submit your teaching degree and your TISUS/Svensk B certificate to HSV for evaluation - this has been the case for many years

Skolverket has provided millions of kronor for the "Lärarlyft" programme where kommuns can buy in tailor made courses or give their staff paid leave to attend University so that kommuns can prepare and ensure that their staff are trained

Some categories of staff are exempted from the first wave of registration such as

- vocational training teachers

- hemspråk teachers
10:40 June 27, 2011 by just a question
@Puffin, the teacher degree sometimes is not accepted, and you need to study the necessary credits in Pedagogy again, but in Swedish. So that means 2-3 years to get the Tisus and master the language plus 60 or 90 credits in Pedagogy (I don't remember right now) at University. Of course the Lärarkyft is offered in some kommuns, but not all, so that means you need to go to the whole SFI courses, something that is quite depressing for people with university studies. Depending on where you live the process can take too long.
10:56 June 27, 2011 by Nomark

Which compulsory teaching qualifications did you possess before you started university teaching ?
11:24 June 27, 2011 by proteasome
I think the new system is a reasonable idea but maybe it lacks flexibility. For myself, I will teach until the new regulations kick in and then go back to research. I am a former associate professor and already went through the Swedish pedagogy training to become a Swedish docent "right to teach". I find it frustrating that my Swedish docent claims I have the rights to teach at all levels but with the new system Gymnasium (Swedish High School) is now excluded. It is a little strange that I can decide the "grades" for a 19 year old if my class is at a University but I would have to ask a fellow teacher if the same course in science occurs within a High School classroom. A decade of being a swedish course organizer and grading thousands of exams is ignored by the current system. To gain the teachers degree I would have to justify and prove my science undergrad courses that I took in the 1980's were equivalent to current Swedish undergrad courses. While I love teaching science I would prefer not to undergo that type of review.
12:23 June 27, 2011 by Puffin
@ Nomark

This thread is about the teacher registration reform 2011 - for the school system from pre-school-gymnasiet - it doesn't relate to post 19 study at all - am surprised than you didn't know that there are no compulsory teaching certificate - but you can read about it on Skolverket's homeåage if you have missed it

However for your information I hold an ITD certificate and stage 1 of Cert Ed (FE-HE)

I was meant to attend the course for University teachers at the end of my PhD time - however my accident put paid to that.

Also if you teach years 1-6 you are required to teach nearly the entire curriculum - Swedish, Maths, English, NO, SO, Bild etc etc - a lot different and harder than teaching your specialised subject at University - even if university teaching does require (most of us) to be billingual

@ just a question

Most TISUS courses get you to the level in 12 months or less - there are some places (Dalarna?) that offer Swedish as an internet course

I thought that kommuns only had to apply to get money from Lärarlyft?
12:48 June 27, 2011 by Nomark

I'm well aware of the (lack of) teaching qualifications required in the HE sector.

My question was relevant to the point that you yourself raised:

"All professions demand certain qualifications - name any profession that doesn't require qualifications?".

The answer to your question is that the HE sector (of which you have been a part) doesn't require any teaching qualifications. Bits of paper confirming someone's research experience are pretty much irrelevant when it comes to teaching. Sure there are teaching courses here and there, and some unis occasionally use provanställningar for lecturers without any teaching experience at all. However, universities have a lot of freedom to appoint the people that they think would be best placed to do the job.
19:37 June 27, 2011 by Kaethar
@ Rebel: Yet Sweden has the lowest road death rate in the world:

List: http://www.thelocal.se/31220/20110103/

I think your bias is showing...
13:53 June 28, 2011 by Borilla

Many Americans and Brits living in Sweden have had no difficulty obtaining a Swedish license. Most of us find Swedish drivers to be far above average. Ever driven in New York, or London, or Tokyo? But then, perhaps the name says it all. What are the words heard most often before an automobile fatality in the Southern US? "Here, hold my beer and watch this."

The important point is that Swedish schools are headed for the same troubles they have in the US if something isn't done. The kommuns need to stop whining and act.
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