News; Sep 11, 2009 CET

Anders Carlberg, 2009 Solstickan Award winner

Meet Anders Carlberg, founder of Fryshuset and recipient of the 2009 Solstickan Award, a man deeply dedicated to helping challenged children in today’s society.

According to Anders, knowledge is one the greatest gift that we can give, but schools of today are based on outmoded principles. Instead, new methods are needed that improve and adapt education to modern requirements. This in turn will develop free and creative people who see new opportunities in a changing world.

“Changes in society are subjecting the youth of today to new demands, and we must become better at adapting education, teaching practical leadership and entrepreneurship and better taking advantage of the abilities and fantastic qualities of young people,” says Anders Carlberg.

Congratulations, Anders! To what part of Fryshuset’s activities will you devote the Solstickan money?

“Thank you! It feels really fantastic and being acknowledged with such a fine award is an honor. The prize money has already been spent. It went to our summer program at Fryshuset here in Stockholm. About 2,000 young people visit us each summer and participate in the 40 different courses that we offer. Summer is a difficult period for many young people who have nothing to do and have no adults close to them.”

What will you focus on during your Solstickan year?

“One of the principal areas that will characterize my year as a Solstickan award winner will be how we view knowledge and learning in relation to the schoolchildren of today. How can we create a school that is better adapted to the demands of a modern society? Major changes have taken place in society over the past 50 years. As I see it, teaching methods have not kept pace with change. Teaching must become more varied and based on principles that better utilize the students’ qualities and abilities. The seminar that I am planning to hold together with the Solstickan Foundation in January 2010 will focus on these issues.”

So what kind of knowledge do you think today’s young people need?

“Education must become more varied. Learning needs to be more clearly linked to practical realities that students can relate to. In such an environment, all students will find their own role as administrators, creators, organizers and entrepreneurs. I find it exciting to seek answers to such questions as why we do not attract young troublemakers and vandals or those who simply choose to ignore school. What is it that kills their curiosity and desire to learn? Such issues as practical leadership, entrepreneurship and group dynamics are hardly given any place; instead they are ignored in favor of repetitive learning. This means that many students tire, become bored and never have the chance to blossom. The school format is too narrow.”

How can we create a school that is better suited to those who are growing up today?

“I believe in problem-oriented learning in which the pedagogical foundation is the group and its dynamics. The group then organizes its own work and is supported and inspired by teachers who also evaluate and ask critical questions as work progresses. The students who graduate from Fryshuset Gymnasium will become free and strong citizens who find it easy to see new opportunities in a changing world.”

What is your main contribution as an adult?

“If a child is suffering, does not receive love and care or feels bad, this becomes evident at school. That is often where the problems first become apparent. It is essential that we adults are there and take action at an early stage. When I travel around the country to visit municipalities and schools, I see certain problem areas to which the students always return. Mobbing, violence, drugs and racism are problems that are not taken seriously enough and are only paid lip service by politicians and decision makers.”

“We must bear in mind that children and young people often do not do poorly in school because they lack intelligence or talent. They do poorly because they have a social background that is troubling and makes them difficult to deal with. Today, about 400,000 children in Sweden are allowed to live without support for entering the adult world. The statistics show that 10 percent of them will never enter society, but instead will fall into criminality and drug abuse. My role, and that of Fryshuset, is to expand our mission with even more activities around Sweden and to get politicians and decision makers to understand and adopt our approach.”

Fryshuset in brief

Fryshuset was founded in autumn 1984 at Hammarby Sjöstad in southern Stockholm. The name was taken from the slaughterhouse that was formerly situated on the property. Today, various activities are organized in premises totaling 24,000 square meters. Fryshuset is active in Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö and Uppsala. Its facilities include one secondary school, two skate halls, two basketball halls, dance halls, a concert arena, music studios, restaurants and rehearsal halls.

Anders Carlberg, founder of Fryshuset was awarded the 2009 Solstickan Award with the following motivation: “For becoming actively involved in and displaying unique enthusiasm and courage to issues involving the risk of alienating children and young people and the responsibility of parents and society to prevent this. His Fryshuset initiative and his work on issues concerning the equal rights of boys and girls in Swedish society to question matters ranging from ethics and morality to democracy are admirable. His commitment has also contributed to greater understanding between children and youths with different ethnic and cultural frames of reference.”

Anders Carlberg

Age: 66.
Family: Partner, two adult sons and three grandchildren.
Lives: in Aspudden, Stockholm, Sweden.
Interests: Politics, sports and body-building.
Proud about: “Being so very strong. I am childishly proud of that!”

Written by: Karoline Hammar