Independent Swedish-Arabic school loses state funding

A Swedish-Arabic school in Uppsala has had its state funding withdrawn after failing to correct flaws highlighted by a series of inspections over the last twelve months.

In February 2004 the Swedish National Agency for Education began investigating the Manar Al-Houda Swedish-Arabic school and a report released last June revealed that “the pupils did not receive an education…comparable to that provided by a comprehensive school”.

The school’s reputation was further damaged, noted Svenska Dagbladet, by a television programme which showed a teacher “physically bullying pupils”.

In its latest analysis the National Agency for Education said that the school did not provide teaching in certain compulsory subjects, with more attention paid to the parents’ wishes than to educational obligations.

The agency found a lack of economic stability at the school, as well as an absence of routines for dealing with bullying and students in need of special support.

A week after Swedish Radio created a stir by suggesting wealthy Saudi “fundamentalists” are buying influence in Sweden’s Muslim schools and community organisations, Swedish Television noted that the school was criticised for referring only to Islam in its religious education.

According to the agency, neither the school head nor the management has taken measures to rectify the problems.

The decision means that the school will not be able to continue operating in the autumn. It will also lose funding from the local authorities where the children live.

The school has said it plans to appeal.