Should schoolchildren be paid for extra classes?
Many municipalities in Sweden are offering money as an incentive to weaker pupils to attend special classes during the summer holidays. The town of Överkalix, for instance, is paying each of the 16- and 17-year-old participants the equivalent of 7 euros and 40 cents per hour. That's going too far, Swedish commentators argue.
New knowledge is the biggest payoff
Paying pupils to learn sends the wrong message entirely, Expressen writes in dismay:
“If the municipalities want to use money to attract pupils - because of course summer school isn't mandatory - there are other ways of doing it. For example municipal funding could be used to offer every participating pupil work experience after summer school ends! But naturally the most important thing is to make clear to the children - right from day one - that knowledge itself is the real payoff.”
Raise the bar for pupils
Swedish schools have failed to set the right incentives for too long, Dagens Nyheter admonishes:
“Sweden invests a lot more in its schools than Finland. Nevertheless Finland outshines us in all benchmark areas. For the most part Finland's success is explained by pointing to the way teachers are respected, to the higher status given to education and the high standards set for pupils. ... And precisely here something has gone wrong at Sweden's schools. Instead of teacher-centred teaching and learning things off by heart, students are supposed to assume responsibility for their own learning process. That's all well and good. But in the process we've failed to set high standards. ... Because the students won't jump any higher than the bar has been set.”