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'Renationalize Sweden's schools': Liberals

'Renationalize Sweden's schools': Liberals

Published: 20 Oct 2009 07:37 GMT+02:00
Updated: 20 Oct 2009 07:37 GMT+02:00

The state ought to once again take over primary responsibility for Sweden’s schools, according to a proposal under consideration within the Liberal Party (Folkpartiet).

The party cites a report by the National Agency for Education (Skolverket) which questions local control of Swedish schools. The proposal is outlined by party leader and current education minister Jan Björklund and two other members of the Liberal's governing board in an opinion article published in Tuesday's edition of Dagens Nyheter.

According to the report, handing over more control for schools to Sweden’s 290 municipalities is one of the reasons why Swedish students don't perform as well today than they did in the 1990s.

The “dual leadership” of having municipalities and the state share responsibility for schools results in a “muddled system of control”, according to the Liberal Party.

"The question of 'who is responsible?' should be able to be asked and answered for any given operation. But when it comes to schools, the state can simply blame municipalities, while the municipalities can claim that it is due to poor governance by the state," write the authors.

Another reason for renationalizing the schools is a requirement in Sweden’s schools law which states that all children have the right to the same level of education.

Today, there are large differences in school spending between different municipalities, the authors claim.

"No one's life conditions should be worse simply because they happened to be born in a municipality that doesn't prioritize education," write Björkland and his colleagues.

They also think that the status of the teaching profession has dropped and that it has been harder to recruit young people into teacher training programmes since municipalities were given partial control of schools in the early 1990s.

Björklund and other leading Liberal Party members have previously expressed support for giving full control of schools back to the state, but the party’s 2001 national conference nevertheless decided that the main responsibility should remain with municipalities.

Now the party’s leadership wants to ditch the earlier decision at its next national conference, scheduled for later this autumn.

According to the Liberal Party, it’s high time to bring up discussion of the issue among the four governing centre-right Alliance parties.

Currently, no other party has taken up the issue of renationalizing Sweden’s schools.

TT/David Landes (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

11:20 October 20, 2009 by Nemesis
This is a good idea.

The Kommunes have to much ppower and petty lunatics getting jobs.

The headmistress of the local childrens school is a nutjob who is not fired, beacuse of her kommune connections.

We need standardisation in Sweden of education and then improvement of standards.

Also it would be a good idea to do the same thing with the police.
12:18 October 20, 2009 by JethroGreenmantle
'Renationalize Sweden's schools'

If it stopped municipalities using their schools as a convenient way to manipulate their budgets, instead of focusing on the quality of education offered to our children, then it would be a good thing.

If it put the ability to lead educators in their work back as a primary responsibility for head teachers, and stopped the drift towards packing school management with local political toadys, it would be a good thing.

If it took teachers out of the control of ignorant, petty, vindictive local politicians with an axe to grind about how they were treated at school 40 years ago, it would be a good thing.

But, if all it does is to shift the micro-management of teachers and schools from a local to a national level, it might not be so great.
16:28 November 3, 2009 by Beynch
Don't! The liberals' demand proves yet again that they are nothing more than glorified socialists.
13:06 January 2, 2010 by DamnImmigrant
I agree with Nemesis and JethroGreenmantle. I do not think that Poor Beynch really has a clue as to what socialist really means. I would bet that Beynch thinks Sweden is a Socialist country with a very high suicide rate!

That said, I do think that there MUST be a NATIONAL standard for education! I think that ALL kids must be taught the same core curriculum REGARDLESS of race, religion or personal belief! Parents must not be allowed to deny their children some aspect of a complete education because "it is against their religion" or some personal or cultural belief! If the parents object to their children learning something at school, then they can discuss it when the children get home!

All children must have access to an EQUAL education throughout the whole of Sweden! A NATIONAL standard for the education of all children in Sweden is the way to ensure this.
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