The country’s sports high schools are taking on a new form – and fewer students. The proposal has caused concern, especially in many major sports federations. But both the municipalities and the regions of Sweden are retreating.
More than 10,000 students are studying in a sports high school. The photo was taken in June, when students from Malmo Sports High School came from Malmo Stadium.
More than 10,000 young people combine studies and an investment in their sport in one of the country’s sports high schools. For many, the approach is a prerequisite for being able to invest in an elite career in their sport.
However, the government is preparing to remodel the sports gymnasium. The number of sports students has risen sharply and therefore funding and organization need to be reconsidered, according to the Ministry of Education.
According to the proposal, the two different types of sports gymnasiums that exist today are abolished and all have the same rules and conditions. All sports high schools, and not just those that are now called national sports high schools and mainly have individual sports, must receive state grants for facilities, coaches and other things. All students who must move must be entitled to housing allowance.
At the same time, it is emphasized that education should only be for young people investing in elite sports. The number of students has increased sharply over the years, but now it is proposed to reduce the number of studies Really. This is a half, which does not cause unexpected protests.
“We see a great danger in the proposal that football loses too much training ground, which affects Swedish football in sport,” writes the Swedish Football Association, warning that many new promises “will leave high school to invest everything in their sport.” “.
The floorball association requires an analysis of the needs of each sport – “it is part of the nature of the team sports ball that the competition takes place in teams with large groups of players who meet during a season”.
The Swedish Sports Association and the Swedish Gymnastics Association run the risk of a stricter choice of students being a “counterproductive choice” where slow-growing 15-year-olds are at a disadvantage.
Another concern is raised by Fria Läroverken in Sweden, with sports high schools in Kalmar, Malmö, Linköping and Karlstad. Fewer places of study and schools can lead to “local clubs losing important team members when they have to move to farther schools”.
The municipality of Uppsala sees the danger that more young people who have to move away from family and friends lead to more vacations, while the city of Malmo points out the social benefit that many invest in sports during high school “as this may to benefit the development of good leadership skills in both sport and work “.
The Swedish umbrella organization SKR also rejects most of the proposal and, above all, a reduced number of students. “We believe (that) there is value in students being able to develop their talents and that it should be possible to combine high-level sport with upper secondary education”, writes SKR and continues: “The problems that exist with in the current class, other solutions can be found. “.
SKR’s opinion was not taken unanimously – S, V and MP made a reservation and wanted to approve the change.
The critique also includes a proposal that financially burdens families. The principle of free education for students conflicts with expensive – or very expensive – elite sports.
It was common for students to come to the sports high school with their horse, hockey or ski equipment. But after the Swedish School Inspectorate criticized some schools for this and a debate ensued, a revision of the Education Act became necessary.
According to the proposal, sports gymnasiums have a special rule, which means that students – or their parents – must be responsible for the equipment. The proposal is justified by the fact that it is unreasonable for schools, ie taxpayers, to pay for it.
This is supported by most consulting bodies. The Swedish School Inspectorate points out, however, that other specific forms of education may react: “For example, music education may need appropriate exceptions.”
However, the proposal also states that the school must pay for the equipment in exceptional cases where the student or his / her family cannot afford it. Very vague, let’s say various advisory bodies. How should the manager be able to assess the guardian’s financial situation? What happens if a guardian changes conditions during training? asks the Swedish Equestrian Federation and the Swedish Ski Association.
The Municipality of Uppsala proposes state support for sports education that needs expensive equipment: “There is a risk that the current proposal will consolidate inequality so that only the children of wealthy parents have the opportunity to practice their sport at the elite level in high school” .
It is now up to Education Minister Anna Ektrom (S) to weigh all the points and return with a final proposal. The new provisions are proposed to enter into force on 1 January 2022.
Sports high schools today
There are two types of sports high schools: national sports high schools (RIG) and nationally approved sports training institutions (NIU).
In both, students practice the subject of special sports in order to develop into elite athletes.
National sports high schools have national recruitment, while the NIU has a local / regional entrance.
The National Education Agency has overall responsibility for all upper secondary education, including RIG and NIU.
To be approved as an NIU requires a well-established partnership with specialized sports federations.
Swedish Gymnasiums must be approved by the Swedish Athletic Confederation.
RIG has, unlike the NIU, state support for the extra cost of special sports.
National sports high schools have about 1,200 students and NIU at least 9,000 students.