Sweden’s education minister is publicly defending her government’s decision to keep schools open in March 2020.
The center-left social democrat has now tweeted twice that she made the right call.
While other countries raced to close schools in spring 2020, Sweden chose to keep primary and lower secondary schools open. At the time, there was widespread domestic and foreign criticism of the decision, but now it appears that the Swedes made the right call: compelling research suggests the decision protected the learning and emotional well-being of Swedish children.
Today, Anna Ekström, Sweden’s center-left social democratic education minister, once again expressed confidence in her decision with a quote tweet of a devastating Economist piece about global learning loss.
Earlier this summer, the education minister tweeted — and then retweeted — similar sentiments in response to a journal article about there being no learning loss in Swedish primary schools.
Education leaders from the OECD, World Bank, UNICEF, and UNESCO recently wrote in an OECD blog post that extended school closures — like those widely seen outside Scandinavia — were “not inevitable” and “often framed by a lack of institutional capacity to reconcile educational provision with health and safety.”
One could certainly certainly argue that Sweden’s decision to keep schools open — one that the country’s coronavirus commission said was correct in February — was a function of the well-governed country’s ability to competently “reconcile educational provision with health and safety” during a time of great panic.