I came across this article this morning and has gotten me into a little bit of a fit, I’m seriously starting to question my own country and what kind of people that we are aiming to create.
For those who don’t understand Swedish or how it works in this magical country of the north, here is a short recap;
In Sweden we have nine years of compulsory school, that is what the law says, after that follow three years of Gymnasium that is either to prepare you for University or an actual job, then University if you so wish. If you choose to attend Gymnasium the swedish government is nice enough to give you a monthly student allowance, just to go to school. That is right, every persons dream, you get paid to go to school.
However, if you choose to skip classes for no apparent reason (being sick is allowed) the student allowance is withdrawn and in some cases you are required to pay back some of the money that you have already received. Fair enough, if you have a job and don’t go you don’t get paid, I think we can all agree on that, right? In some cases you would probably even get fired.
The suggestion in this article, written by what must be two of the brightest politicians in Sweden, is that this should not happen. It is not fair on young people that they do not get any money, and hey we can absolutely not ask them to pay back money they shouldn’t have received in the first place.
The reasoning behind it, is that these kids doesn’t have any money, so their re-payment will fall due and be sent to a place called Kronofogden (this is the place that collects money on outstanding debts, if you do not pay they have a registrar that you will be listed in, for five years you have no credit rating what so ever). Apparently this will ruin the poor children’s lives for ever.
I admit, the above recap might be slightly tainted by my opinions, I hope that you get the gist of it at least.
As my colleague so kindly stated; Socialism creates lazy people, and I have to agree with her. If the deal is that you get paid to go to school, why on earth should you get paid if you don’t? How will that teach you to take responsibility for your own actions and finances?
Gymnasium is optional, if it is not for you then you do not attend, you get yourself a job to ensure that you can support yourself instead. There are several people who drop out of gymnasium and then go back a year later to finish it, they just needed some time to mature for it. Some people don’t go back and complete it until much later in their life. However, until then you need to support yourself, and in our dear country, if you can’t get a job we have something that is called social welfare, the state will give you money and it will be more than the student allowance, so go for that one instead!
It does get worse, firstly I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read the article, as I moved down to the comments made by normal Swedish people, I thought my eyes were going to leave my eye sockets. Do you know the difference between cutting class and sick leave? I would think that most people do, that is just me though! I can agree that some poor kid that are being beaten so bad by his dad that he can not get out of bed for longer periods of time should not loose his allowance, I also believe that his has nothing to do with cutting class.
If you are being harassed in school and stay home because you are unhappy, then yes, loosing your student allowance is unfair. It just make me wonder, don’t you tell someone that you are being harassed? Do you change school? Or do you just sit at home thinking that someone else should fix the situation for you? Again, you do have some responsibility for your own life.
My personal view on this is, that if we make life too easy on the young ones (younger than me, as I still am young) then how are they supposed to grow up and learn how to take responsibility? How are they going to raise their children to do the same? And how will our country work in the future when everyone think that they are entitled to do nothing and still get paid, for me that is what we teach someone when we say “fine you do not attend your classes, we will just give you the money anyhow”. I might be wrong though.