A growing number of young people do not qualify for upper secondary school

In a new report dealing with the situation of young people in Sweden today, LO studies the connection between school, children’s conditions under childhood and unemployment. To an increasing extent, having completed upper secondary school is a precondition of getting a foothold on the labour market.


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A new LO-report

In a new report dealing with the situation of young people in Sweden today, LO studies the connection between school, children’s conditions under childhood and unemployment. To an increasing extent, having completed upper secondary school is a precondition of getting a foothold on the labour market. The number of students who are not eligible for upper secondary school has increased from 10.5 per cent to 12.5 per cent in Sweden between the years 2006 and 2012 and out of those who start upper secondary school, 23 percent do not complete their studies within four years.  At the same time unemployment among young people has increased to 17.7 per cent and 8.1 per cent get their living from economic support.

The school system must be improved so as to provide all children equal start of life, whatever their background.  Today there is an increasingly negative parallel between parents’ level of education and children’s results from compulsory school and how they succeed in upper secondary studies. Children who do not succeed in school subsequently are at a greater risk of unemployment and dependence on economic assistance, Tobias Baudin, LO First Vice President states.

Background

A growing number of young people do not complete compulsory school.  The percentage of students who do not qualify for upper secondary school has increased from 8 per cent in 1998 to 12.5 per cent in 2012.  Only 44 per cent out of students whose parents lack secondary education attain the goals in all subjects, whereas the corresponding figure is 87 per cent as regards students with parents, at least one, with post-secondary education.   Out of students in upper secondary school, 23 per cent do not accomplish their studies within four years and run increased risk of unemployment. The percentage of unemployed young people (18 to 24 years of age) increased to 17.7 per cent in 2012 according to employment statistics.

 LO demands a number of measures

Tobias Baudin sums up the different measures demanded by LO.

Compulsory school

Swedish society cannot afford that, year after year, a group of young people move on to upper secondary studies without any real possibilities of succeeding.  More resources must be invested in school and the resources must be distributed in a way that gives support to the schools and the students who are in greatest need of support.  In addition, study guidance and vocational advising in compulsory school must be reinforced. And we must continue analysing the consequences of the free choice of school, since it risks to perpetuate increased segregation in school.

Upper secondary school

The labour market of today poses growing demands as regards career transition. The centre-right government has however impaired the possibilities of students attending vocationally-oriented programmes to acquire eligibility for higher studies.  This makes the vocational programmes more unattractive for young people and,  moreover, results in worsened adaption capacity in the future

Christina Jonsson
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