Moderates challenge councils over independent schools

Moderates challenge councils over independent schools
Moderate party education representatives want to see a centralization and simplification of the independent schooling system. Councils should lose the right to delay the opening of new schools, they argue.

The group proposes the removal of independent schools from local council control. In return they propose tightening state control over the schools, Svenska Dagbladet reported on Friday.

“Gushing neo-liberalism,” Social Democrat and Malmö mayor Ilmar Reepalu said to Svenska Dagbladet.

Moderate parliamentary education committee members want to make it easier to open independent schools. They have reacted to a situation in Gävle in northern Sweden where local councillors have been able to delay the opening of a new high school.

The International English School has secured all the correct permits from the Board of Education (Skolverket) but Gävle councillors have appealed the decision to the administrative court of appeal arguing that the new school will lead to a saturation of the market and harm existing public schools.

The opposition Social Democrats called the proposal “irresponsible.” Moderate politician Mats Gerdau responded that the proposal aims to encourage cooperation with local residents.

“If you have authorization then the school should be allowed to open. It is bad practice to throw a spanner into the works for your fellow citizens. One should work with the citizens, not against them,” said Moderate parliamentarian Mats Gerdau to Svenska Dagbladet.

The appeal of the school board’s decision means that students who have registered for the new school will not be able to take up their places in the autumn and will instead be forced to attend one of the local council-run schools.

Mats Gerdau argues that councils should not have the right to be consulted over the opening of new independent schools.

“Why should you have to ask the competition when it comes to the founding of schools? You don’t ask Coop Konsum if they would like Ica to open a store or not,” Gerdau said to the newspaper.

The Moderate party parliamentary group proposes a simplification of the system in the interest of expediency. They also propose that school inspectors should visit an independent school in the first year of operation in comparison to the third year currently.

Independent schools that do not meet the standards should be closed faster than they are today, the politicians argue.

The Moderate group’s proposal has not been presented with the party’s coalition partners in the Alliance government.