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Pros and cons of raising children in Sweden

Comparing this country to, say, Australia

skane refugee
post 17.Aug.2009, 05:37 AM
Post #31
Joined: 14.May.2008

I saw an interesting article calculating cost/benefit 'returns' to private education ... the conclusion supported your assertion Greg that returns were negligible for almost all the countries surveyed ...

No experience of Canadas education system but as regards Sweden, my C$0.01 worth (probably an overestimate ;o) ):

... most of Swedens 'movers and shakers' based in London during the 1990's had attended a handful of schools like Sigtuna boarding school (45 kms outside of Stockholm) ... then Handelshögskolan in Stockholm and/or elite US/UK universities for 'back to back' batchelors and masters degrees

It was such a standard CV that it was surprising and refreshing to meet influential (in the private sector) Swedes with a different education ...

My ex was from a poor Swedish background, growing up in a tiny 1 1/2 bedroom apartment in Malmö, but graduated top of her class at one of Malmös two leading academic high schools, then graduated near the top of her Civilekonom degree programme at Lund University (Swedens 'Ivy league' Uni, along with Uppsala)

... so of course it's perfectly possible to get a good education from ordinary schools in Sweden ..

... but ... she was one of very few students at her high school from her background (her high school year was totally dominated by kids from schools in upmarket Limhamn and the prosperous suburbs outside Malmö) ... a bias even more apparent at University, when rich kids from all over Sweden joined the programme, further crowding out the few remaining students who'd not grown up in 'better' areas ...

... none of her other pre-high school friends went on to University, whereas virtually all of her high school friends did

If anything, from what I've seen, Sweden is more dominated by the 'old school tie' than the UK ...

There's a very strong class system here ... the key difference I've noted is the relative (to UK and US) lack of class mobility

As with almost everything in Sweden ... appearances can be very deceptive ;o)
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Greg in Canada
post 17.Aug.2009, 05:56 AM
Post #32
Joined: 2.May.2009

Interesting comments Skane Refugee.

We also have a class system in Canada, although we try to downplay it as much as possible.

When I asked my cousin why she sent her daughter to the prestigious private school she said "so she will meet all the right people", meaning "rich people".
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byke
post 17.Aug.2009, 07:37 AM
Post #33
Location: Europe
Joined: 28.Oct.2008

As a parent with children in Sweden, heres my 50 öre.

We started sending our child off to an "international" daycare which was all good.
I had no real expectations, as long as my child was happy and safe then that was fine for me.

When choosing a school came around we looked at many schools and at the time my wife insisted that we continue to send our child to a bi-lingual school. I was sold the concept after listening to a few teachers describe the differences in education between children with English / Swedish, compared with just Swedish.

We opted for the Bi-lingual school which required that the child must be 100% fluent in English since it concentrated more on teaching in the subject of "English" to ensure that children would be able to establish reading, writing and language rules in English primarily due to the additional rules found in this subject. All seemed fine, until our child started grade 1 (he started at grade 0 to begin with) and we found out (including many other parents in the class) that the system we had signed up for was no longer existent due to the school having a major reshuffle due to a damming skolverkets report.

Unfortunately the school never felt the need to inform the parents of the changes due to fears of loosing bums on seats and generally poor management. After digging more into the issues we discovered that skolverket had also changed the laws ensuring that schools were not allowed to teach in other languages. And many of these new laws caused major issues for the schools in Stockholm.

The system in itself is fearful that children with other languages will not integrate into Swedish society, so there is a huge push to ensure assimilation. However children with a previous education in other languages who have an international background are then put at a disadvantage (even if they are bilingual with Swedish).

We were not happy with the school as it was meeting its criteria to the state, but failing our children hard.
Unfortunately we had to look for other options, but international schools under state funding do not exist (at least in stockholm) I went as far as speaking to ministers of justice, education etc ... and there is a real gap in the system which causes this problem for a "few".

With the changes in law, this left schools with a bi-lingual background as more so refugee integration classes for kids.

We eventually left, as we knew that if and when we move outside of Sweden that our child would be at a severe disadvantage since the school education is approx. 2 years behind compared to the rest of Europe / USA / Canada.
The only option we had was private, and I myself was scared of snotty parents etc ... there is only 1 school in stockholm for international kids that is private and does not fall under the wrath of skolverket as hard as normal schools. Unfortunately its expensive, but I can state with my hand on heart its the best value for money I have ever spent in Sweden.

The funny offset is, our child has come on leaps and bounds educationally ... but mentally he is a much happier child and this is my main thing for me. Our child also has classes in the subject of "Swedish" which I believe the state supplies the private school with a teacher. And the level of Swedish taught compared to the levels the children are at seems to clearly highlight the differences between state rules and reality.

Every child is different and needs different options, especially with a country like Sweden where there is so much international culture. Stockholm in itself has over one third of its city inhabited with families of Bi-lingual backgrounds so it is clear that its not a matter of schools wasting funds due to not enough attendees. Even Engleska Skola Norra is over subscribed and has a long waiting list ! (even though it has had MAJOR RADON GAS issues)




I wont comment on the goals and issues not being met in Swedish education as its too much to list and you can read about the issues day in, day out in the swedish press. I will say that at present most schools in sweden are terribly underfunded or should I say have great trouble at allocating the right resources (such as qualified teachers).

Sweden does have some goods sides, but with education at present there is allot of holes that need plugging.
And this applies across the board, and means it should not (which it commonly does) ignore the younger years (class 1-5) .
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Nomark
post 17.Aug.2009, 09:22 AM
Post #34
Joined: 25.Sep.2006

I don't have kids but I have taught at a "good" university in the UK and now work at a comparable institution in Sweden. I therefore have a fair bit of experience in dealing with youngsters who've just come out of the various school systems.

In my experience, the Swedes care less about grades but generally have a higher base knowledge in my discipline. The Brits may well be more focused on grades than the Swedes but too many of them don't possess the necessary skills in mathematics to actually achieve a great deal.

Certainly, the Swedish education system has some superficial flaws. However, as a nation Sweden has consistently punched above its weight in science, culture, business etc. Even today, influential and technically driven innovations such as the Pirate Bay etc. find their home in Sweden - I may not agree with it but it has undeniably made an impact. For good or bad, the Swedish education system and the ethos behind it has contributed to Sweden's success over the past 50 years..

Personally, I prefer the British-style system of education though I wish they would increase the standard of the material that is taught. Dumbing down is happening all over Europe but the UK is leading the way.
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byke
post 17.Aug.2009, 10:04 AM
Post #35
Location: Europe
Joined: 28.Oct.2008

There is allot of ideologies over here in the school system which contradict each other and cause issues.

"The individual needs of a child should be met"
versus
"Everyone is equal"

So if you have a child who is academically advanced more than those in his class, the general consensus is to try and keep the child happy until the rest of the class catches up.
Which in my mind is criminal.

I know of a few children who are academically ahead of their classes by 1 or 2 grades, but the school refuses to share books with different grades under the false pretext it will either alienate the child or be foreseen as "special treatment" which is ethically wrong under the "Everyone is equal" ideology. You would think in cases like this they would bump the child up a couple of grades if needed but that again is foreseen as "special treatment" or causing mental & social stress.
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Gröna gräset
post 17.Aug.2009, 10:36 AM
Post #36
Joined: 17.Aug.2009

If you live in Sweden and hit your children your in serious trouble. If you discuss hitting your children with your swedish friends they will be shocked. If the child mentions this in the kindergarten or school, they really will take that information to the police. There is a real cultural difference there between Sweden and England et.c. it seems.

And you people posting on this thread you are so convinced that your own culture is the best and that Sweden is inferior in almost every respect. Sad really.
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Jasoncarter
post 17.Aug.2009, 10:45 AM
Post #37
Joined: 1.Aug.2006

QUOTE (Gröna gräset @ 17.Aug.2009, 11:36 AM) *
And you people posting on this thread you are so convinced that your own culture is the best and that Sweden is inferior in almost every respect. Sad really.

Yes, pretty much like every Swede I've ever met in the UK who has something to say about their adopted country 'In Sweden we do x much better' and so on. Like ex-pats of all nationalities pretty much everywhere all over the globe. Now, can you let the grown ups continue their valid and interesting discussion of their opinions of the schooling system here and leave the 'ifyoudon'tlikeitwhydon'tyougobacktowhereyoucamefrom' frothing for people more deserving of it? There is constructive and well thought out discussion and criticism here, not unjustified and illiterate foaming at the mouth. This forum is a mouthpiece predominantly for English speakers living in Sweden to discuss their experiences - if they have similar experiences, it might not just be their fault you know. I think you may rather be missing the point that this discussion is about raising children with two cultures as well.
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Bisonex
post 17.Aug.2009, 11:10 AM
Post #38
Joined: 10.Jun.2009

QUOTE
If the child mentions this in the kindergarten or school, they really will take that information to the police.


That's why I wouldn't raise young children in Sweden. Hitler's Nazi Party also used to encourage children to report what their parents were up to and the had no respect for private family life.

We have raised three children and all have been given a smack from time-to-time. Used judiciously, corporal punishment can be both effective and proportionate and is a perfectly natural method of control when words or other sanctions are not working.

The very act of punishing a child means you are assuming power and authority over it and denying it the human rights which adults take for granted. The notion that moderate physical punishment is criminal is idiotic

Bisonex
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Gröna gräset
post 17.Aug.2009, 11:13 AM
Post #39
Joined: 17.Aug.2009

Oh hit a nerve there did I? We have hundreds of nationalites living in Sweden, all are welcome. There are some arguments here about raising children, correct, but they are often soaked in a harsh, cynical attitude. That attitude will not be helpful to you people.
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Gröna gräset
post 17.Aug.2009, 11:27 AM
Post #40
Joined: 17.Aug.2009

And don't be worried about raising your child in Sweden. We will take care of your child just fine. The people in "dagis" are well educated, the teachers in kindergarten have a 5 year education. After that you have a wide varriety of different schools and pedagogies to choose from. It will work just fine so don't worry about it. The kids are in good hands. And remember you are very welcome to stay and live in Sweden. We thrive on the foreign impulses.
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Sameth
post 17.Aug.2009, 11:38 AM
Post #41
Joined: 26.Jun.2009

Very interesting discussion, especially since I am expecting for my first child and I am already "worrying" about his/her education (especially about the bilingual stuff).

I am quite surprised however by some of the answers. For example, someone explained that he/she hates that the government has a say in his/her child education but at the same time complains that the school doesn't push, motivate and/or discipline enough his/her child? Is that not our job as (future) parents to discipline, motivate and teach respect to our childrens and not expect the teachers to do so? Especially since "you" hate that they tell you what to do? Well, I might be too naive since I don't have a child yet tongue.gif

Nevertheless, I also don't care too much about the whole "everybody is equal (does people actually believe that?)mentality" and that you shouldn't stand out the crowd (and the false modesty that comes with it) and it will annoy me a little if my child is exposed to this way of thinking from his early childhood. But as someone said, despite a rather small population, Swedes are doing pretty well in many fields compared to more populated countries, so they might be doing something right, eller hur? For example, even if it is true that their education take longer than from some other countries (I was for example 2-3 year younger than most of my Swedish colleagues, while the English were even younger) due to lack of time presures during their education, but in another hand, they visited the world and have a more general knowledge (including being almost all bilingual already) than most of us foreigner. So which is best? Difficult to know, especially since we are all too biased toward our own experience.
Not so sure about this "been a parent thing": seems very stressful already! wink.gif
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beam_me_up
post 17.Aug.2009, 05:10 PM
Post #42
Joined: 14.Aug.2009

SAMETH---Don't be nervous about your child's education here. He/she will get a good one, but keep up with all that he/she is learning and help all along the way. Sit with your child everyday from the beginning and help, or just keep him company by being nearby, available for his questions or help. My son is 16 and is starting gymnasium on the science track. My Swedish husband and I helped him from day 1 with school. There are times you get really teed off at the teachers, but just think of yourself as an advocate of her education. Sometimes you'll probably have to teach her something in which the school did a bad job.
I don't know what country you come from and it doesn't matter, but speak your native tongue to him ALL THE TIME. Make sure he speaks that language back to you. Let the Swede in your life deal with the Swedish part. Visit your home country as often as you can with your child. Talk to your child daily about his/her life at daycare/school or anything else that comes up(keep your child at home with you as much as possible in the early years). Read lots of books to him in your native language. Give your thoughts and beliefs to him so he grows up with your values and not just Swedish values. Never lie to your child (sometimes necessary to leave information out). Tell him/her how much you love her all the time and that you're proud of her. My son is able to look at both of his countries from the outside and sees the goods and bads of both. He is open to living in his other country someday. Raising a child is a great joy.
That's my 1/2 öre worth!
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Newk1
post 17.Aug.2009, 07:56 PM
Post #43
Joined: 15.Aug.2009

To 'Renfeh Hguh',

I do not consider myself a socialist. If I would give myself any label it might be an adaptable libertarian. I strongly believe in individual liberty but I do recognise that the state can play a useful role in essential services and in providing a safety net for the less able. I think the state can help ensure that most people have good access to quality health and education but I also believe that some private health and private education can also be useful if well implemented.

No one has attempted to answer my original question about Sweden's future. How about the economy? How about unemployment?

Thanks again for all the thoughtful comments.
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Newk1
post 17.Aug.2009, 08:17 PM
Post #44
Joined: 15.Aug.2009

My wife survived the Swedish education system then completed her degree in Australia with first-class honours. I think if you are intelligent enough you will thrive in most education systems.

There does seem to be a general sense of malaise here for teenagers who have just completed school. If you are not so clever or perhaps 'just keeping up', a successful transition into the workplace does seem much harder than say in Australia. I base this on my own observations and accounts from extended family in Sweden. A system designed to protect those entering the workforce seems to discourage employers from taking on more staff.
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Renfeh Hguh
post 17.Aug.2009, 08:26 PM
Post #45
Location: Not in Sweden
Joined: 1.May.2005

QUOTE (Newk1 @ 17.Aug.2009, 08:56 PM) *
No one has attempted to answer my original question about Sweden's future. How about the economy? How about unemployment?

Unemployment is a 9% http://www.thelocal.se/20146/20090618/ but that figure hides the true situation. The government plays with the figures by reclassifying some/many unemployed as students, early retirement and even long term disabled. Sadly this government is just as bad as the SocDem when it comes to hiding the true situation. Unemployment among immigrants is also much higher than for indigenous Swedes.

Sweden's economy whilst not being hit as badly as in other countries will in all likelihood take longer to recover than in other countries because Swedish companies are slow to react to the changing environment. When the economy is going down they cannot reduce staff numbers easily to deal with the new economic climate and when it is picking up they are reluctant to hire until it is absolutely necessary.
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