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OECD criticizes Sweden's "confused" school system

Published tisdag 2 december 2014 kl 11.29
Elever skriver i klassrummet. Foto: Katarzyna Korza/TT

The government has welcomed recommendations from educational experts within the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which proposes several measures to boost Swedish pupils' performance.

After Sweden's low results in the international Pisa test in December, the then-government sought help from outside experts to figure out why Swedish students are performing poorly in maths, reading and science. A portion of the findings were presented today.

"The top quadrant are the education systems that combine high quality with high equity, and Sweden is not there, and Sweden should be there," Beatriz Pont of the OECD said.

Pont painted a picture of confusion within the education system. "When we visited Sweden, we couldn't find who was responsible for education and we heard many different people say, well, it's the students who are responsible, it's the parents, it's the teachers, it's the school prinicipal, it's the municipality. There seemed to be a different perception among the different stakeholders."

Education Minister Gustav Fridolin of the Green Party highlighted OECD recommendations which are in line with changes hat the new center-left government plans to bring about. For example, early-intervention efforts to help students in preschool and elementary school. If more teachers are recruited, Fridolin said, that would make it possible to engage with students at a young age.

The government also welcomed the OECD's recommendations to introduce a long-term development strategy, a national coalition for the teaching profession, a raise in wages and a clearer connection between salary and career development.

Fridolin also shared the view that a mechanism is missing for evening out the quality of different Swedish schools. He said the best teachers should be recruited to where they are most needed.

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