Many teachers in Sweden lack proper training

More than half of subject-area teachers in Sweden who teach pupils in their final years of compulsory school lack training in the subjects they teach, a new report has shown.

Many teachers in Sweden lack proper training

In some subject areas such as physics and chemistry, fewer than 15 percent of teachers have proper training, according to a report from the Swedish National Agency for Education (Skolverket).

Many teachers active in Sweden’s upper-secondary schools (gynmanisum) also lack sufficient subject-area knowledge.

“This is a rather alarming situation. It’s even lower than I thought,” Lars Svensson of the Swedish Teachers’ Union (Lärarförbundet) told Sveriges Television (SVT).

“This indicates we have a pending teacher crisis, if we don’t already have one.”

The findings come from what the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper called the largest review of teacher qualifications ever conducted by the education agency, which looked at the education levels of more than 100,000 teachers in Sweden.

Among other things, the study reveals that 50 percent of physics teachers don’t have any formal education in physics, while only 13 percent have the minimum education required to receive a teaching licence.

According to teacher Maria Sandström, the lack of qualified teachers in the natural sciences stems in part from the profession’s low status.

“The labour market is so big and inviting for those who have upper-secondary education in natural sciences and technical fields. People don’t see teaching as a high status job compared to that of a civil engineer, doctor, or dentist. Salaries are also a fraction of what a dentist can earn,” she told SVT.

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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