Sweden's new minister for upper Secondary school and adult education. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT
Sweden's new minister for upper Secondary school and adult education. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

Education chief appointed new government minister

After a 15-year break from party politics, Anna Ekström was named on Tuesday as the new government minister for upper secondary school and adult education and training.

Ekström leaves her role as head of The National Agency for Education (Skolverket), which administers the country's public school system.

One of her main tasks will be to push through the government's plans to expand vocational education and training for adults, which was outlined in Prime Minister Stefan Löfven's Statement of Government Policy in parliament, Tuesday.

At a press conference following the opening of parliament, the Prime Minister said his new minister was the right person for the job. 

"Anna has a great experience of working with different agencies. She has considerable knowledge of today's school systems and solid expertise," he said.

Anna Ekström herself said that she was humbled to be given the opportunity.

"I accept this task with a great deal of humility. It's fantastic and courageous to appoint a minister who has taken tough positions. I hope that I will have much to contribute when I return to party politics," she said at the press conference.

"Resolving the situation with the new arrivals, I see as a very big task. It's a very big challenge. They will notably be from countries with weak education systems, she said, and continued:

"I want to strengthen the attractiveness of the teaching profession. I also see that it is very important to strengthen vocational programmes in upper secondary schools."

Ekström, who has rejoined the Social Democrats after leaving the party during her time at Skolverket, replaces Aida Hadzialic, who was forced to step down from her ministerial job after being caught drink-driving.

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