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'Avoid studying in large cities': minister

David Landes · 25 Aug 2011, 07:46

Published: 25 Aug 2011 07:46 GMT+02:00

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“The housing market should be one of the variables when one chooses a course of study and a university city,” Christian Democrat housing minister Stefan Attefall told the Metro newspaper.

“The problem has been a fundamental one for a long time and has gotten worse. It's a failure for Swedish housing policy.”

Attefall advised students to consider universities located outside of Sweden's larger cities, where the demand for student housing far exceeds supply, when deciding where to enroll.

He also hinted that availability of student housing may become a factor in how the government distributes the number of available spaces for students at the country's universities.

The Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (Stockholms Handelskammare) issued a sharp rebuke of Attefall, arguing that a failed housing policy shouldn't affect the government's education policies.

“It would be extremely unfortunate if the government chose to punish higher education in Stockholm in this way,” the Chamber's head of policy, Fredrik Johansson, said in a statement.

Rather than hinder Stockholm's efforts to become an academic centre by urging students to study elsewhere, the government ought to instead ease restrictions on subletting and the setting of rents, Johansson argued.

Student groups also took issue with Attefall's comments, urging him to take appropriate action.

“We're tired of municipalities and the government blaming each other over the issue of student housing,” Lars Niska, a vice chair with the Uppsala Student Union, said in a statement.

“As the responsible minister, Stefan Attefall needs to make an effort to address the structural barriers for building housing in Sweden.”

According to Niska, there are already signs that students are choosing not to enroll at Uppsala University due to concerns about the lack of housing, something he called “a real shame”.

Story continues below…

The Social Democrat group at Stockholm City Hall also criticised Attefall for his “alarmingly anti-Stockholm” stance.

“The housing minister urges students to apply elsewhere and threatens to take away spots at universities in Stockholm," said Social Democrat city council member Tomas Rudin, in a statement.

"When the government speaks so clearly, it ends up weakening Stockholm as a knowledge-based city."

David Landes (david.landes@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

09:33 August 25, 2011 by Abe L
Wait, Sweden has a housing minister? Someone who's sole task is to deal with housing issues in a country and he has let it come to this? I'm baffled.

Also practically telling people that they shouldn't head for their university of choice in their city of choice because the government can't even get some dormitories build is just silly. You often don't even a choice due to some programs not being offered by other universities to begin with.
10:13 August 25, 2011 by comentatir
And they pay this guy for doing his work?? I wonder how does he spend a dat at work.

And his photo is stupid!

"Wait, do you get the government building? Ok? How about now?"
10:48 August 25, 2011 by conboy
Well he got himself a state subsidised appartment in Stockholm some free marketeer!
11:04 August 25, 2011 by Cornelius Hamelberg
"Necessity is the mother of invention" ?

The Story

"A man was walking home late one night when he saw the Mulla Nasrudin searching under a street light on hands and knees for something on the ground. "Mulla, what have you lost?" he asked.

"The key to my house," Nasrudin said.

"I'll help you look," the man said.

Soon, both men were down on their knees, looking for the key.

After a number of minutes, the man asked, "Where exactly did you drop it?"

Nasrudin waved his arm back toward the darkness. "Over there, in my house."

The first man jumped up. "Then why are you looking for it here?"

"Because there is more light here than inside my house." "

One use to make of this story: The Minister of Housing is probably merely saying the plain and surface meaning here: Go to look for housing where housing is available. - where housing can be found ....even if what you are really looking for is education/ light or enlightenment

Too bad if you are a straight A student and can't find accommodation in Massachusetts, forget about MIT or Harvard where you have been admitted - you may have to consider relocating to Timbuktu and Sankore instead....
11:04 August 25, 2011 by just a question
Well, lets apply this advice to everything in Sweden.

If you don't want to wait for the ambulance, don't get sick!

If you want a job, don't be unemployed!

These guys are actually paid to say these things?
11:38 August 25, 2011 by unt9
Well, I saw on TV, Uppsala students building tents somewhere in the park.
14:45 August 25, 2011 by local-aam
Another proof that the politicians are stupid.
15:35 August 25, 2011 by nyh2o
what an idiot. no wonder he is a christian democrat.
16:10 August 25, 2011 by skumdum
Just common sense, really. If there aren't enough housing in the city then go study somewhere else.
18:59 August 25, 2011 by colombianska_tjej
I just have a question. Let's suppose that I'm going for a master or PhD course in a specific subject. Let's suppose that the only university in all Sweden that offers it is KI, in Stockholm. Should I then choose another subject for my studies, even when I already have a good background on the specific subject just because there is not enough housing in Stockholm?

And don't come with the "go to another country to study". That's something that could happen to a Swede, or it could happen that the only university that offers the best advantages/costs/whatever is a swedish university in a big city. (That's my case, for example, I got a scholarship and the only university that offered toxicology in the bunch of universities i could choose from was KI. Luckily, i found housing quickly).

I just think that the statement is ridiculous. I understand that soil is a problem in Sweden, but i'm sure there are places to build housing for students. Even more, the contractors can hire a good bunch of unemployed people to work on the building places (provided that the language barries can be eased someway). Two birds, one shot. For sure is not that easy, but it's something that can be done.
20:58 August 25, 2011 by Frank Arbach
...surely the provision of educational facilities/establishments tends to follow where centres of population are?

...and students for their part, are going to look for the most suitable course wherever it may be..?

Sounds like the Swede minister is involved in a typical cop-out
22:43 August 25, 2011 by skumdum
It's not the government's responsibility to build apartments. You all seem to dream of some communist utopia where the government provide a nice little flat to everyone.
23:18 August 25, 2011 by Decedo
I wonder if this is the same guy that was paid to name 'New' Ullevi as 'Old' Ullevi, and 'Old' Ullevi as 'New' Ullevi?
00:33 August 26, 2011 by ashiquemgt
I am looking for living place for last two month in stockholm. Still i have not found any !!!Today I understand why, because of such type of Minister !!!!

Dear minister, for your kind information, to choose university and subject is the right of students for better job and career, you do your duty.
00:59 August 26, 2011 by AbangBeruang
I met Stefan Attefal today in another function. He is not so bad guy, as this news portrays him. I discussed a few issues with him, and he sounded very reasonable to me :)..
16:03 August 26, 2011 by tadchem
The problem with the advice given by any poolitician (any party, any country) is that one can never be sure of their motives. And as for 'sounding very reasonable', that is their profession.

Always question those who wish to be considered 'authorities.'
03:00 August 28, 2011 by PonceDeLeon
Mr. Attefall deserves a medal. He clearly understands that it is not the Governments role to solve problems. I congratulate him on his honesty and foresight. He is 100 percent correct, people should make the choices that benefit themselves the most. They should not expect the government to do more than is required to get re-elected. Students have no real tax or voting base, why should politicians care?
11:59 August 28, 2011 by BBKING
Now, are u telling me accommodation becomes a key factor in the search of your dream career?
18:05 August 29, 2011 by Heebz
This is dumb, and I am alarmed about what is happening. So for example, if a student only gets accepted to Stockholm University, he or she should forego higher education because they can't find a place to live in Stockholm? In the United States for example, the schools provide accommodation for the students. I don't understand what is so difficult about building new apartments. They also claimed last year, that there won't be a shortage of students after the introduction of tuition fees. Now imagine being a new foreign student, paying your tuition fees but not having a place to live for the first couple of months and the days are getting colder and darker. Sweden needs to re-evaluate how it conducts its policies, or it will lose a lot of talented students.
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