Worsening Grades Among Ethnic Minorities

Increasing numbers of students from districts with a high concentration of ethnic minorities are failing to pass exams to enter upper secondary school in Sweden, according to a new study by Statistics Sweden.

Between 1998 and 2008 the proportion of students in these areas - mainly suburbs of major Swedish cities – entering the final stage of secondary school fell from 76 percent to 69 percent. In some districts, the proportion was as low as 55 percent, meaning almost half of the students left formal education aged 16.

Thomas Johansson, chairman of the education committee in Södertälje, an area where a large proportion of Iraqi’s have settled, told Radio Sweden International that lack of resources and segregation were part of the problem.

“Schools have become divided up into ethnic groups, which tends to have a negative influence on studies,” he said.

“And other social issues draw money away from education. State funding is not earmarked for schools so it unfortunately gets used for other things.”

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