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Thirty percent of Swedes drop out of high school

12 Jun 2012, 08:52

Published: 12 Jun 2012 08:52 GMT+02:00

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Figures released on Monday by the Swedish Association of Local Authorities in Regions (SALAR), show that 31 percent of students are unable to complete Swedish secondary education programmes, known as gymnasieskola or gynmasiet, within the expected three years.

In Sweden, students can choose to enroll in variety of secondary school programmes with different educational content, some of which emphasize studies to prepare students for university, while others are move vocational in nature.

Even after four years, about a quarter of students have yet to receive their high school diplomas.

In the worst performing municipality, only 43 students completed secondary school on time, while the best-performing municipality saw 88 percent of its students finish high school on time.

However, many Swedish high school drop outs do go on to complete their secondary education studies in adult education programmes, resulting in 90 percent of 24-year-olds in Sweden have attained a high school degree.

According to the study, which is based on figures from students who started high school between 2005 and 2007, about three to five percent more boys than girls fail to complete high school in Sweden.

"Every student who leaves high school without a degree is a tragic failure for the individual and a blow for the school," SALAR's Maria Stockhaus said in a statement.

The organziation recommends five strategies to bring down Sweden's high school dropout rate.

Among the five "success factors" outlined by the group are ensuring that school staff engage with students in a positive manner and that the schools present clear goals and emphasize results.

In addition, schools interested seeing more of their students graduate on time should see to it that students choose programmes that suit their skills and interests, that they are involved in shaping the work of the school, and that school's make accomodations based on students' individual needs.

"The reasons for why people abandon their studies varies. In order to successfully implement the measures we propose, there needs to be a common view on the part of school staff as well as cooperation between schools, home, the business community, civil society, and social services," said Stockhaus.

Story continues below…

"With goal oriented, hard, and persistent work, municipalities and schools can prevent students from dropping out of high school."

TT/The Local/dl

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Your comments about this article

10:27 June 12, 2012 by skogsbo
Do 30% drop out or just actually take longer? If 90% go on to complete University, how can 30% fail to complete high school?

In the worst only 43 complete on time, is that 43% or 43 students, perhaps out of a class year of 43, so 100%. Such meaningless stats.

Every student who leaves without a diploma is a failure, hardly, some will leave to take employment and probably work every day of their lives. Such a poor statement.

Perhaps an education system that has high enough standards to challenge and cause people to struggle, is better than one where everyone passes with A*s, like the UK system. They should be careful what they wish for.
10:34 June 12, 2012 by Abe L
What about properly rewarding and acknowledging results and achievements? Nobody likes a bragger, but there is no reason not to be proud of the results of hard work and effort. Something that's looked down upon in Sweden today. It also seems that there isn't sufficient separation between really bright kids and the less bright ones. Our youngest went to a special school abroad as he was being held back in the regular education according to the school, in Sweden he ended up in general education again. It also seems very unusual to finish either primary or high school at an accelerated rate in Sweden.

I personally dislike the fact that Swedish children don't go to school till they are 7 years old. In some countries they're nearly done with primary school at that age. It results in people being in high school at an age where they feel above that, kids grow up much faster and become adults at a younger age these days. It would help a great deal if they where half way through a university education by the time they now leave high school.

Finally, dropping out of high school doesn't mean that you can't be successful or have a career. It just means that the traditional path towards getting there becomes less likely. Smart people will get there regardless and there are more then sufficient work opportunities for drop outs.
10:51 June 12, 2012 by kirub
With a pic like that, in the article, no wonder.
10:57 June 12, 2012 by skogsbo
abe, personally I think it great that kids have chance to grow up at various stage, before they are forced through the next stage of education, better to leave Uni slightly more mature at 24 than 21 and still need to take the job application form home for your parents to help you fill out!

There is much more to life than pure academic qualifications. By progressing through school at any stage more slowly, rather than being forced through if your 'special' you will also pick up better team work and communication skills etc.. There are some very bright lonely dorks out there doing high end jobs and some very academic people quite content in menial everyday jobs. I would be quite happy for my kids to land in the middle somewhere. If they want to take a year out n the middle of education, good on them, for at least having an opinion and plan on their own destiny.
19:11 June 12, 2012 by k2kats
Hmmm.... I'm not sure which is more shocking: this article's conclusion or the inadequately described evidence used to support it.

If an unbiased national survey shows that it's taking most kids up to age 24 to graduate at this level, there may be institutional and cultural problems that need addressing beyond the proposed 5 point plan.

My hope is that the education system will emphasize learning how to learn, if it isn't already. Facts change over time, but critical analysis is enduring and useful in every problem solving situation in life, on the job, and to fulfill one's responsibilities as a good citizen. Kids of all ages thrive on this type of learning and overwhelmingly remain engaged when it's taught in each of the three learning modes (i.e. visual, auditory, and hands-on).

Is a degree essential? No, of course not. But learning how to learn IS for each individual and society.
22:05 June 12, 2012 by skogsbo
Kate, in Sweden you don't normally graduate until 23, so 1 extra year is nothing.
22:14 June 12, 2012 by dizzymoe33
Here in the US we start school at age 5 and go until we are 18 so that would be called K-12 (kindergarten through 12th grade) then you graduate and can either go onto a 2 or 4 year college or a trade school or just get a job and skip college all together.

Also it is hard to keep kids in school when there are no jobs out there for them so to a young adult it would be like what is the point of an education?! Knowledge is still powerful and we all can learn something new everyday the emphasis has to be on education though from everyone.
02:49 June 13, 2012 by blue2012
The Swedes I met through out my lifetime were highly educated.

Why do I get this feeling about this article that were are not getting to the core.

Is it the "New Swedes" who have a 30% drop out rate?
07:27 June 13, 2012 by skogsbo
dizzy, thats the thing in Sweden kids are still learning through play from 5-7 here, but not so formally. Then by staying in education longer in the youth, they learn more overall?

Plus, if there are no jobs, then that is the time to learn more or new skills, so you are more able to be employed, or take a better position when work appears. Probably better to learn an Asian language at the moment, than sit in the west moaning, but that's the facebook generation for you.
09:37 June 13, 2012 by Marc the Texan
I really don't think high school graduation rates matter nearly as much as some quarters of society think they do.
00:37 June 14, 2012 by Navras
Droping out for a year is ok.

swedish ethnic born students are very smart in technology ;specially those who study in KTH.

As long as they keep on churning out even 1 in 10000 who can lead/set up a venture ;they are far ahead of other world including usa.
01:37 June 14, 2012 by DamnImmigrant
This article is crap! By it's reasoning my daughter is a "DROP OUT" because after completing one year of school at one school, she decided to start another highly technical school. She had to redo her first year of high school all over again so she could learn the technical stuff she would have missed by starting the second year at the new school.

So by the standards described by this article, her failure to "finish their secondary education programmes on time" means she is a dropout!?!?! Yeah, Right.

The article also does not break down this drop-out problem along cultural lines. For example, I would bet that the Asian and Jewish populations have a dropout rate near ZERO. So where is the problem most concentrated? There is also no talk of handicap problems nor of economic problems adding to the dropout rate.
12:31 April 10, 2013 by cthulhus_chosen

I agree the problem with these stats is that if you change program or school after 1 or 2 years you are screwed out of those 1 or 2 years. Swedish programs jump right in with specialized courses in year 1 instead of having only generic (kärnämne) subjects like Swedish/history/English/etc.
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