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EDUCATION

Chinese should be taught in schools: minister

Learning Chinese at any elementary school in the country could become reality for children in Sweden within the next decade, if education minister and Liberal Party head Jan Björklund gets his way.

Chinese should be taught in schools: minister

“Chinese will become more important, from an economic perspective, than French or Spanish,” he said to newspaper Dagens Industri.

French, Spanish and German are today the languages commonly offered in all elementary and high school language classes.

Björklund wants Sweden to be the first European country to introduce Chinese language classes in all schools, in a bid to strengthen the country’s competitiveness.

“Not everyone in the business world speaks English. Highly qualified businesses are now leaving Europe and moving to China,” he points out to business newspaper Dagens Industri.

“If we look towards the next generation, it’s almost unavoidable to think anything else than that China will be a very important global actor,” said the minister in an interview with Sveriges Radio (SR).

He calculates that it will take between ten and fifteen years to recruit sufficient numbers of teachers able to teach the language.

“It all boils down to teacher training colleges and other institutions expanding their programmes, and if we decide to do this, it’s definitely possible,” said Björklund to SR.

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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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