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SCHOOL

Sixth grader gets third eye in school picture

When Swedish sixth grader Tilde Nörgaard opened her recently-delivered school class photo album, she was shocked to discover her picture showed her with one eye too many.

Sixth grader gets third eye in school picture

“First everyone was laughing, Tilde too, because we thought it was funny,” Tilde’s sister Anna told The Local.

“But then we noticed it made her sad and we realized it was actually quite bad that they never noticed the mistake.”

The photo-fixing foul-up was discovered following the distribution two weeks ago of the annual photo album for students at Månesköld school in Lidköping in central Sweden.

According to Tilde, there was nothing unusual at the actual picture-taking session, during which the photographer took several snaps of each class at the school.

But during the processing of the pics, something went wrong, resulting in a third eye placed in the middle of Tilde’s forehead.

Speaking with the local Nya Lidköpings-Tidningen (NLT), Tilde explained the obvious mix up left her “a little angry”.

The photography company responsible for the catalogue, Skolfoto Norden, had “no good explanation” for the apparent case of wayward digital manipulation took place.

“When we went back and looked at the original picture no one had their eyes closed. There wasn’t anything that might need correcting,” head of photography David Nabb told The Local.

He explained that when students in school pictures have their eyes closed, the company “in emergency situations” sometimes retouches the images by digitally cutting and pasting an eye from another student in the picture.

Despite being unable to explain how Tilde received a third eye in her school photo, the company nevertheless offered her 1,500 kronor ($225) in cash as compensation for the mistake.

“She will probably just go shopping with the money,” Tilde’s sister Anna speculated when asked what her sister might do with the money.

In addition, Skolfoto Norden plans to send out a corrected version of the catalogue in which hopefully all eyes, arms, and ears will be found in the right place.

“Things like this just can’t happen. But in this case it did. It’s really embarrassing for us. I’m just happy that Tilde seemed to have taken the whole thing well,” said Nabb.

Sanne Schim van der Loeff

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EDUCATION

Distance learning remains a ‘possibility’ for Swedish schools: Education minister

Remote learning remains a possibility, but not an obligation, for schools in Sweden as students around the country begin term this week, the Education Minister said on Wednesday.

Distance learning remains a 'possibility' for Swedish schools: Education minister
Education Minister Anna Ekström (L) and general director of the Schools Inspectorate, Helén Ängmo. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

Minister Anna Ekström made the comments during a press conference in which she outlined the rules ahead of back-to-school season but did not make any new announcements.

She urged schools to be “flexible”, outlining some of the measures which have been recommended by the National Board of Education since an early stage in the pandemic.

This include changing furniture arrangements to promote distancing, staggering lesson and break times to prevent students mixing in large groups, and increasing cleaning. Many parent-teacher meetings are likely to be cancelled, she said.

Schools for under-16s have remained open throughout the pandemic, and Ekström said this decision was based on research showing children were affected by the virus to a lesser extent. “The younger the child, the more mild the symptoms,” she said.

In Sweden, only one of the almost 6,000 people to have died after testing positive for the coronavirus was aged under 10, and none of the victims have been in the 10-19 age group.

Ekström added that no occupational group linked to schools had been over-represented in Sweden's coronavirus statistics.

In addition to taking this kind of measures, heads of schools have also been given additional decision-making powers.

These include the ability to switch to remote learning, or make other changes such as adapting the timetable (including moving lessons to weekends) if necessary due to the infection situation. 

“If the situation gets worse, teaching can be moved partially or entirely to distance learning. This could happen in the whole country, individual schools, or in municipalities or regions where schools may need to close as a measure to prevent spread of infection,” Ekström said.

“The government is prepared to take measures, but we don't want to close schools.”

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