It is vital with a good education. In the light of what I wrote the other day about the brave Pakistani school girl Malala Yousefzai who now has returned from a British hospital after being treated from the head injuries she got during the assasination attempt on her in October 2012 for speaking out for girls’ right to education in Pakistan, it’s tragic to see what is happening in my own country, but in a very different way.
Here in Sweden we have had laws about school for all children since the middle of the 1800’s. Sweden have had a very good school, and here and there it’s still excellent. Since I was working as a teacher myself for 11 years, was a very dedicated one, and have therefore fairly good insight in that world I have no qualms writing about it. I know so many good, dedicated teachers with various specialisation who do what they can to do a good job, but it isn’t easy, believe me.
During the last 40 years the Swedish school has been a playground for many changes, and during that time the teachers’ status and salaries has decreased in comparison with many other countries in the west, and the value of demands and corriculum, as well as grading system is still under fierce debate. Politicians say that they will make the school better, and efforts have been made, that must be admitted, but too often the economy of the schools are limited, cut-downs are made, equipment and school books are subjects of saving, as well as cut-downs in staff. Entire schools are closed or parts of them. This has created an enormous problem. It has worsened the situation for the teachers, some are even unemployed, headmasters and other school leaders, teachers and representatives of the two teachers’ unions are all worried, just as many parents. It affects us all. Sweden, like all other countries, need a good school and good education system. Now the headmasters of primary schools are angry and worried, since the government just has promised to improve the kindergardens. 2000 new teachers for those age groups will be educated, but the cost of 360 million Swedish kronor/crowns is laid on the already burdened university programs for teachers’ schools.
In the light of the financial crisis it’s tragic to see how the school system is hollowed out. Still we must think positive and do what we can to solve the problem even in time of crisis. Start upgrading the value of teachers and their work, even financially. The teachers need to get back their status, and the school must take care of its staff. The education on all levels is important, as well as the demands so that the coming generations will improve even more. Recruit headmasters that have understanding and respect for the staff they will lead. Let politicians of different colours visit schools to see behind the curtain, but stop squabbling and fighting party politics and try to find solutions in unison. Money is needed everywhere, and so is a good education system – everywhere.
Anders Moberg, January 7th 2013