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Surge in applications to start free schools
Photo: Claes Gertsen/Scanpix (file)

Surge in applications to start free schools

Published: 06 May 2010 16:32 GMT+02:00
Updated: 06 May 2010 16:32 GMT+02:00

The Schools Inspectorate (Skolinspektionen) has received 36 percent more applications to start independent 'free' schools or to expand existing institutions for the autumn term of 2011. The agency received 689 applications by March 31st, the end of the 2010 application period, compared to 506 in 2009.

A total of 405 applications involve the creation of new schools, with 226 for elementary schools and 179 for secondary schools. The other 284 applications are for expanding existing schools, primarily for secondary schools that want to provide more programs.

"We are very surprised by the surge and have no good answer for the reason behind it," Schools Inspectorate statistician Fredrik Uhrzander told The Local. "The number of applications has increased for both primary and secondary schools and applies to both new establishments and the expansion of existing operations."

Most of the applications come from the three major metropolitan areas: Stockholm county (149), Skåne county (113) and Västra Götaland county (105). The agency received applications to establish at least one new secondary school from all counties except for Jämtland.

"The three metropolitan counties showed the largest increase in numbers compared to last year, but in percentage terms, the share of applications from several other counties increased significantly," Uhrzander told The Local.

The agency will now send the applications to the relevant municipalities for consultation. Applications regarding secondary schools are also sent to neighbouring municipalities. The municipalities' opinions, which should be included in their submissions to the agency by June 22nd, will include how the proposed school will impact the municipalities' education systems.

The School Inspectorate will decide on the applications in the autumn. Most of the applicants will be notified before the end of the year. Of the 506 applications received last year, 32 percent were fully approved. There is a tendency toward a slight increase of refusals compared to the past, particularly for high school applications.

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Vivian Tse (vivian.tse@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

04:04 May 7, 2010 by Davey-jo
These free schools are a fad, no-body really wants to run a school.

In the UK the Tories are using this idea as a front to privatise education; that is sell off the schools and properties to the highest bidder. This all under the guise of giving greater choice. Really it's a con. You Swedes should not fall for the same stupid idea.

If truth be told the UK Tor(ie Conservative bastards)s got the idea from Sweden. Shame on you.
08:05 May 7, 2010 by byke
I think the reason why so many independent schools have increased in the past few years is because of parents needing to do so, as they were unhappy with the low standard.
08:10 May 7, 2010 by Puffin
@Davey-jo

They can hardly be said to be a 'fad' given that they have been running for almost 20 years in Sweden.

I think one of the problems at the moment is ensuring that the schools are resputable and maintain good quality - as we say in the cases in Stockholm the other week where 2 schools lost their licences - many private companies see schools as a cash cow
13:17 May 7, 2010 by Audrian
I agree with Tavejo.

The conservative government of Sweden is looking towards the Anglo/Saxon developmentmodel for Sweden to emulate, which we known is demonstratively discredit. This piecemeal privatization is done so that the Swedish society would be used to it. It was started with pharmacies in small scale. Now it is schools. Wake up Sweden.
14:00 May 7, 2010 by Prairie Kid
It's always a tricky thing with what we call in the States private and chartered schools. Yes, you need to make sure they are reputable, but sometimes they are a better choise than public schools (run by the government).

Over here, the public schools seem to keep lowering standards for both students and teachers, all in an aim not to hurt anyone's feelings. Education has been degraded to nothing more than job training and getting people not to hurt each other. Both are needed, but not what education is all about. The new generation of teachers aren't very good because they themselves are a product of that new "education."

My sister is a substitute teacher and is appalled by how many students say they love her because she actually teaches them and doesn't just tell them to read page so-and-so, do worksheet so-and-so, and show videos.
14:04 May 7, 2010 by Puffin
@ Audrian

I think you need to read a little more Swedish history and social studies - the article is about NEW applications

The free schools are not an idea that Sweden has adopted from Anglo Saxon Countries - it is the other way around

Sweden has had free schools/voucher schools since 1991 and currently 10% of school children attend them
19:16 May 7, 2010 by Iftikhar_Ahmad
Bilingual Muslims children have a right, as much as any other faith group, to be taught their culture, languages and faith alongside a mainstream curriculum. Rejecting state funded Muslim schools as "anti-democratic" or "divisive" is simply the wrong approach to take.

Compulsory state education has promised to promote the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental, physical and academic development of a child in preparation for adult life - has failed far too many children, particularly national minorities and especially Muslim children. Now the time has come that parents and community should take over the running of their local schools The Local Authority's role should be confined to simply ensuring schools operate within the prevailing legislative framework (admissions criteria, Special Educational Needs, Community Cohesion, Financial Audit, etc). Parents can perform a better job than the Local Authority because parents have a genuine vested interest. The Local Authority simply cannot be trusted.

There is no end to Forced marriages and honour killings as long as Bilingual Muslim children keep on attending state schools with monolingual non-Muslim teachers. Muslim schools are attractive to Muslim parents because they have better discipline and teaching Islamic values. Bilingual Muslim teachers are role models who understand the needs and demands of their children.

Each and every Muslim child should be in a state funded Muslim school with bilingual Muslim teachers as role model during their developmental periods. There is no place for a non-Muslim child or a teacher in a Muslim school. Bilingual Muslim children need to learn and be well versed in Standard English to follow the National Curriculum and go for higher studies and research to serve humanity. At the same time they need to learn and be well versed in Arabic, Urdu and other community languages in order to keep in touch with their cultural roots and enjoy the beauty of their literature and poetry.

There are hundreds of state and church schools where Muslim children are in majority. In my opinion, all such schools may be designated as Muslim community schools. Muslim children are in majority in schools because native parents remove their children as soon as the number of Muslim children is on the increase. They do not want their children to mix with Muslim or any other migrant children

Iftikhar Ahmad

http://www.londonschoolofislamics.org.uk
20:46 May 7, 2010 by mombassa
"Iftikhar Ahmad", how dare you demand that tax payers fund your religious schools?

The only solution is to send Muslims back to where they came from, including you, Iftikhar Ahmad.

Muslim immigration should be forbidden.

Muslim Demonstration

http://www.snopes.com/photos/politics/muslimprotest.asp
02:06 May 23, 2010 by Toonie
Nice idea, Mombassa. And while you're at it, you could demand that they get their sand off our oil.
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