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17 March 2017 | Stockholm, Sweden [Rainer Refsbäck]  On Thursday, 9 March, Swedish Radio news and other media highlighted that the small Seventh-day Adventist Church in Sweden is behind the change in how the Swedish Scholastic Aptitude Test (SweSAT) will be administered. Beginning in 2018 the test will be offered alternately on Sunday and Saturday, instead of only on Saturdays. The SweSAT, or högskoleprovet in Swedish is one important way to gain admission to higher education.

Impact Scandinavia EkebyholmScandinavian youth at an impact event, Ekebyholm Adventist school, Sweden. Photo: Christian Hjortland/ADAMSSince the introduction of the SweSAT in the late 1970’s it has only been administered on Saturdays. For many years the Adventist Church has challenged this situation on behalf of its Sabbath keeping students. In 2001 the Equal Treatment Law gave Adventist students legal grounds to ask for an alternative examination day. Since then a secret fallback test has been administered just once every five years. While other students may do the test over and over again, Adventist students had only one chance.


Union President Göran Hansen, along with Dr Bernard Osei-Fofie, a member of the Union Executive Committee, have been engaged in dialogue over the issue with the Swedish Council of Higher Education for some time. In September 2016 the Council announced the SweSAT will be administered alternately on Saturdays and Sundays beginning 2018.


Goran GCAC16Göran Hansen, Swedish Union PresidentHowever, it was only in the past week the news about the change was released to the media. Hansen was interviewed both by Swedish Radio and the Christian daily newspaper Dagen. All the major newpapers in Sweden have covered this news. Other members and pastors have been contacted by local media regarding this matter.


Not all coverage has been positive. In the highly secular Swedish society media have questioned how a small Christian Church of no more than 2,871 members, can exert such an influence on a government agency and make it change its rules for religious reasons. They asked why this is so important when in one year no more than ten students ask for the alternative examination day among the 80,000 people taking the test?


Hansen explained that it is not a question about numbers but rather one of equal treatment. The reason for the low number of students taking the alternative SweSAT is due to the fact that you can only take it once. In the past this has made many Adventists and Jews compromise with their conscience, forcing them to take the test on a Saturday.


The Swedish Council of Higher Education spokesman, Åke Lernefalk, explained in a radio interview that the fallback test is expensive to produce and the Council sympathizes with the Adventist Church request for a better solution. Offering the SweSAT on Saturdays and Sundays alternatively is a sensible alternative, and he added that this arrangement will be beneficial to many, regardless of religious beliefs.

“It is with great satisfaction that we have been able to come to this solution to make it possible for our young to have equal opportunities to enter into higher education,” Hansen concluded. [tedNEWS]

See also:
Swedish Radio news report in English.


tedNEWS Staff: Victor Hulbert, editor; Esti Pujic, associate editor
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tedNEWS is an information bulletin issued by the communication department of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Trans-European Division.




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