Björklund:"We have more young people who want to become teachers"

17 min

Sweden goes to the polls in September, and in the run-up to the election, Radio Sweden is talking to the party leaders of this country's eight main political parties to find out where they stand on the main issues, and discover what their top political priorities are.

These days, the Liberal party (Folkpartiet) focuses on education and gender equality, but also profiles itself as a party in favour of nuclear power and joining the military alliance Nato.

Jan Björklund took over from Lars Leijonborg as leader of the Liberals in 2007 and was named as the coalition government's Education minister in the same year.

The 52-year-old and his party wants to re-nationalise schools out of local municipal control and introduce grading for children as young as ten and eleven years of age.

"Those local councillors working with education are amateurs, they are not professionals and that is a problem because we need to have leadership in the schools. That is why Sweden's results in Pisa have declined over the last 25 years, which was the same time when the municipalities took over the running of schools. It was a big mistake," Jan Björklund tells Radio Sweden.

The Liberal party leader also backs increased spending on the military and a return for some form of conscription.

"I believe that Sweden should become a member of the Nato Alliance. Secondly, we are a country that is very close geographically to Russia and we need to strengthen our military capacity. We have cut down a lot since the Berlin wall came down and we need to invest more. We have gone too far in our cuts."