SHARE
COPY LINK

EDUCATION

Swedish students excel at English: study

Swedish 15-year-olds are very proficient in the English language while not as good at Spanish, according to the results of a comprehensive international language study presented on Thursday.

Swedish students excel at English: study

The results, presented on Thursday by the Swedish National Agency for Education (Skolverket), show that Swedish students are very advanced in the English language.

A total of 66 percent of 15-year-olds reached the highest required level in reading comprehension, while 77 percent did the same for listening comprehension.

However, Swedish students didn’t perform as well when it came to writing in English. While only 28 percent reached the highest score level in written English, a large number of Swedish students reached the next to highest level.

While the study included students from 14 countries, only students from Sweden and France were tested in Spanish, with Swedish pupils posting much weaker results.

24 percent of Swedish students didn’t reach what is required of beginner level Spanish in reading comprehension.

For listening comprehension the result was 37 percent and for written Spanish 45 percent. The French students were somewhat better at Spanish than the Swedes, the study found.

According to the education agency, the discrepancy between students’ abilities in English and Spanish can have several explanations. English is a higher status language and is also perceived as more useful.

In addition, students are more likely to come in contact with English in their spare time, according to the agency.

Swedes are exposed to the language at a younger age, and English classes are obligatory in Swedish schools.

The countries that took part in the study were Sweden, Belgium, Poland, Bulgaria, Croatia, Britain, Estonia, France, Greece, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain.

A total of 53,000 students were tested, of which 3,000 were Swedish. All countries took part with the two foreign languages studied by the largest number of students.

The children’s language skills were measures after the common reference for language skills in Europe and the student’s abilities were graded into five levels of proficiency.

TT/The Local/rm

twitter.com/thelocalsweden

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members

EDUCATION

Inquiry calls for free after-school care for 6-9 year-olds in Sweden

Children between ages 6-9 years should be allowed admittance to after-school recreation centers free of charge, according to a report submitted to Sweden’s Minister of Education Lotta Edholm (L).

Inquiry calls for free after-school care for 6-9 year-olds in Sweden

“If this reform is implemented, after-school recreation centers will be accessible to the children who may have the greatest need for the activities,” said Kerstin Andersson, who was appointed to lead a government inquiry into expanding access to after-school recreation by the former Social Democrat government. 

More than half a million primary- and middle-school-aged children spend a large part of their school days and holidays in after-school centres.

But the right to after-school care is not freely available to all children. In most municipalities, it is conditional on the parent’s occupational status of working or studying. Thus, attendance varies and is significantly lower in areas where unemployment is high and family finances weak.

In this context, the previous government formally began to inquire into expanding rights to leisure. The report was recently handed over to Sweden’s education minister, Lotta Edholm, on Monday.

Andersson proposed that after-school activities should be made available free of charge to all children between the ages of six and nine in the same way that preschool has been for children between the ages of three and five. This would mean that children whose parents are unemployed, on parental leave or long-term sick leave will no longer be excluded. 

“The biggest benefit is that after-school recreation centres will be made available to all children,” Andersson said. “Today, participation is highest in areas with very good conditions, while it is lower in sparsely populated areas and in areas with socio-economic challenges.” 

Enforcing this proposal could cause a need for about 10,200 more places in after-school centre, would cost the state just over half a billion kronor a year, and would require more adults to work in after-school centres. 

Andersson recommends recruiting staff more broadly, and not insisting that so many staff are specialised after-school activities teachers, or fritidspedagod

“The Education Act states that qualified teachers are responsible for teaching, but that other staff may participate,” Andersson said. “This is sometimes interpreted as meaning that other staff may be used, but preferably not’. We propose that recognition be given to so-called ‘other staff’, and that they should be given a clear role in the work.”

She suggested that people who have studied in the “children’s teaching and recreational programmes” at gymnasium level,  people who have studied recreational training, and social educators might be used. 

“People trained to work with children can contribute with many different skills. Right now, it might be an uncertain work situation for many who work for a few months while the employer is looking for qualified teachers”, Andersson said. 

SHOW COMMENTS