The Swedish Minister of Education, Gustav Fridolin, has issued a directive to expand and reinforce Swedish schools' "anti-racist mission," reports Swedish newspaper Expressen. This comes as a consequence of an upsurge in cases of racism involving groups of students from different migrant backgrounds.
According to Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter (DN), schools have been struggling to deal with cases of racism stemming from rival migrant groups, but that Swedish schools still need to be clear about what it describes as its democratic values.
"It is extremely important that officially, Sweden — which definitely includes school — is clear in its democracy and the equal rights of all people. This is so that students don't feel like racism went by unnoticed," Fridolin said to the Swedish newspaper DN.
Thus the campaign that Fridolin has directed the Swedish National Education Agency to initiate aims to expand teachers' competence in being able to identify and deal with racist incidents that they may otherwise have been unaware of.
"It could be because the racism is being expressed in another language. Another reason could be that the racism is built on concepts, ideas and prejudices that the teacher is unaware of," the minister told DN.
The effort aims to train individual teachers and equip them with the ability to identify the types of racism, radicalism, or ethno-religious discrimination that afflicts their school, and then help to spread that information among colleagues and throughout the school, according to DN.
The education minister emphasizes that teachers need to have more tools and knowledge at their disposal in order to tackle racism between groups whose cultures and languages the teachers may not be familiar with.
However, the effort does not mean that the Swedish National Education Agency is to assume the responsibilities of the social services.
According to the minister, the campaign is more fundamental in its effort.
"It's about fundamental things such as to discover, to understand different symbols, how different prejudices are expressed, and to have methods to confront hate and anti-Semitic notions," Fridolin told Aftonbladet.
As a result of Sweden's famously liberal migration policy, the foreign born proportion has been steadily increasing. This has shown itself in schools as well.