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EDUCATION

‘Offer preschools a bonus for hiring men’

Sweden could entice preschools to employ more men with a one-off bonus, similar to a system in neighbouring Norway that aimed to bump up men’s representation in the profession to 20 percent.

'Offer preschools a bonus for hiring men'

Researchers Inga Wernersson and Ingrid Granbom reviewed efforts to include men in the traditionally woman-dominated field.

They looked at different policies to include more men at different levels of teaching since the 1960s. There were efforts in the 60s and 70s to increase their representation in teacher training, but the efforts did not address the imbalance at preschool level.

Swedish children have the right to state-financed preschools from the age of one until they start school at age seven.

Umeå is currently the best at enticing men to preschool teacher training. At Umeå Univeristy they make up 21 percent of the course, and there are also many men working in the northern city’s preschools.

Northern Sweden did better overall in the statistics and, in general, the cities had more male preschool teachers than the national average.

In the report, researchers note that individual school principals are the key to whether the preschools prioritize a more gender-equal workplace.

The report, commissioned by the National Agency for Education (Skolverket), looks in detail at a Norwegian campaign on state level since 2001 that aims to introduce more men to the profession.

Norway offered 12 preschools a reward of 50,000 Norwegian kroner ($9,000) if they hit a 20-percent target, which several of them did.

The National Agency for Education has now asked the government to look into a similar drive, although the report recommended awareness-raising and national coordination in any future effort.

The preschools in Norway were asked to publicize their work as much as possible. The Swedish report authors note that a positive attitude from the Norwegian media helped the project along.

The review also included other European examples.

Scotland has also seen some successes in their work to include men in the traditionally woman-dominated field but its neighbour, England, has failed to a large extent in a similar drive.

The researchers said that citizens in both Scotland and Norway were positive to such efforts, while the English could be seen as more sceptical.

”In Norway, people in general know a lot about inequality and people often welcome equality initiatives in a way we don’t see in England,” the researchers noted.

Several of the countries saw a correlation between the state of the economy at large and the clout of their projects.

In Germany, similar efforts focused on retraining former industrial workers to becoming preschool teachers.

Similar labour market factors may have underpinned Norway’s success. The researchers noted that the start of the programme coincided with relatively high unemployment.

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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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