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EDUCATION

Liberals push to bring back behavioural grades

Sweden's Liberal Party said on Monday that it planned to bring back behavioural grades for students in middle school and high school.

Liberals push to bring back behavioural grades
Photo: TT
Sweden's Liberal Party (Folkpartiet), headed by Education Minister Jan Björklund, launched its election manifesto on Monday with a particular focus on education.
 
"Schools are the most important issue of Sweden's future," he said. 
 
The key election promises included introducing behavioural grading from the fourth grade and creating 10,000 new entry-level teaching positions. 
 
Each school would be able to choose whether to introduce the grading system, and the marks would be given as a written comment – not a scaled grade as with science or maths. 
 
"We should be aiming for Sweden to be in the top ten for the Pisa rankings. It's a very ambitious goal," Björklund added.
 
Sweden's schooling system has been plagued by bad press ever since the country's 15-year-olds suffered plummeting results in December's Pisa rankings. The students dropped below the OECD average in maths, reading comprehension, and natural sciences.
Swedes go to the polls in September. 

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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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