Bankruptcy hits major Swedish free school firm

JB Education, one of Sweden's largest operators of publicly funded, privately managed free schools, announced on Tuesday it would declare bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy hits major Swedish free school firm

A the end of May, JB Education sent shockwaves through Sweden’s free school establishment when it announced it would be quitting its primary and secondary school operations in Sweden due to a drop in the number of students.

On Tuesday night, the institution took things a step further, announcing in a statement that it would declare bankruptcy on Wednesday.

The firm, which had been a pioneer in Sweden’s free school movement, added that it would sell its adult education operations to Academedia, Sweden’s largest education company. Staff members within JB Education’s administrative roles have already been let go.

“We were hit by a drop in the number of upper-secondary school students over recent years; the numbers in our school almost halved,” CEO Ander Hultin told the TT news agency.

“The owners, Axcel, came to a point where became meaningless to continue.”

JB Education’s adult education operations boasted several thousand students across the country, within fields such as labour market education, business education, and occupational higher education.

“No student places will disappear,” Hultin added.

JB Education has managed to find new principals for 19 of its 23 secondary schools as well as all its elementary schools. According to Hultin, the company runs 31 upper secondary schools in Sweden. In February, JB announced it was withdrawing from seven of the schools.

JB Education, previously known as John Bauer Gymnasiet, opened its first school in Sweden in Jönköping, central Sweden, in 2000. It currently operates schools in 20 locations around the country.

TT/The Local/og

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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