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Drastic funding cuts for independent schools

Published: 02 Jan 2010 10:42 GMT+01:00
Updated: 02 Jan 2010 10:42 GMT+01:00

The Swedish National Agency for Education's (Skolverket) new method for calculating funding for independent high schools (friskolor) means that the institutions risk losing millions of kronor every year.

“I had a bit of a shock when I saw the list. This was not a good way to start the new year,” Erik Drakenberg, head of Täby Enskilda high school, told Dagens Nyheter newspaper.

Drakenberg has called upon Swedish education minister Jan Björklund to ensure that “this madness stops.”

“If there are problems that haven't anticipated, we'll look into after the holidays,”

Swedish state secretary Bertil Östberg told DN.

Skolverket's national cost list has previously been based on the actual costs for various high school programmes. But as of January 1st, the list will be based on an average of municipal budgets.

“At first I was entirely convinced that this is wrong, but it is a new way to calculate (costs),” Drakenberg told DN.

The budget for the media programme, for example, has been reduced from 98,000 kronor ($14,000) to 83,300 kronor ($11,650) per school year. But there are major differences in costs between different municipalities.

Björn Berglund, educational expert at Skolverket, told DN that the agency has compiled the list with the assistance of Statistics Sweden (SCB), but that it has not yet been analysed.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

12:30 January 2, 2010 by DamnImmigrant
"January 1st, the list will be based on an average of municipal budgets"

If I am understanding this correctly, municipalities with a lot of money (more rich people) will have more money available, and poor ones will have less?

I thought the free schools were paid per pupil.

I have learned that some free schools were created so the owners could make money more than providing a quality education. These owners that are in to it for the money hire the cheapest personnel possible and provide the minimalist of resources.

The other problem I heard was that because they are "private" businesses, we the public who are paying them with our tax money, are NOT allowed to look at their financial records!?
12:51 January 2, 2010 by byke
@ DamnImmigrant

While I agree with your thesis, what makes you think that local authorities wont want to make as much of a saving as possible also?

From my understanding many state schools are run on very tight budgets with the headmaster / mistress working on a end of year bonus system based on school costs versus school results which are allot of the time manipulated (very common over here) to reach goals, rather than kids comprehension.
16:17 January 2, 2010 by just a question
Private schools should be private and not be financed by the state.

State schools manipulate results, but private schools do it too.
17:57 January 2, 2010 by byke
@ just a question.

State schools are not run by the state, but run by local authorities.
00:23 January 3, 2010 by Puffin
All schools are financed by municipalities whether municipal or independent (private is incorrect as they are state financed) - the independent schools that accept municipal money are not allowed to charge fees to parents

The reasons that the indepndent schools are moaning as I understand it is is to do with the correction of a historical anomoly which meant the independent schools got apid according to the previous year's expendture - not this year's budget. I beleive they are also to be funded based on the average for the whole of Sweden rather than whichever kommun they happen to be located within

Therefore the credit crunch is first hitting the municipal financed independent schools now as during 2009 their income was based on 2008 expenditure - however we all know that since the end of 2009 the municipalities have drastically cut their education budgets and many have been forced to lay of teachers - however first now is the downturn hitting the independents most of which got higher sums than the state schools last year.

For the profit making schools this may be a problem now that they are forced to work with the same budget as municipal schools
05:10 January 3, 2010 by RoyceD
I don't get it, what is the benefit of being an independent? Do they get to make their own syllabus of something? Because if they do that is retarded.
10:54 January 3, 2010 by Puffin
The benefit of being an independent is that you can choose your own organisation - these independents are voucher schools

In Sweden it has increased the amount of choice available to parents - no question about that - schools can set up with different philosophies

- whether faith based schools

- schools for diiferent educational philosophies (Steiner, Montessori etc)

- nature based schools (I Ur och Skur - the outdoor fores schools)

- sporting philosophies - there are some schools that alow high level athletes a change to train as well as complete an ordinary high school - such as Ski Gymnasiets and Ice hockey etc

- schools tied to a particular company - for example ABB has its Industrial Gymnasiet where most students work with the company

- there are private profit making companies - who see schools as an investment opportunity - such as the Vittra group - however there are variable standards - some companies are committed to good education whereas others are committed to short term profits

- outside the cities there are many parental cooperative schools where becoming and independent voucher school has been a way of keeping smaller local village schools open

All schools have to follow the Swedish national curriculum and are subject to the same national school inspection - however within the curriculum there are a certain number of hours called 'student choice' - which means that extra lessons in a chosen specialist subject can be given.
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