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'Renationalise Sweden's schools': minister

The Local/rm · 15 Mar 2011, 10:28

Published: 15 Mar 2011 10:28 GMT+01:00

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It has been twenty years since the Swedish school system was decentralised, putting control of public schools with local municipality authorities

At the time, the move was meant to improve the standard of education and the situation for teachers in Sweden.

However, according to the minister for education, Jan Björklund, the result has been the opposite.

“The worst part is that the municipalities that most need resources put into their schools usually have the least to spend on them,” Björklund writes in an article published on Monday in the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper, along with Metta Fjelkner, head of the National Union of Teachers (Lärarnas Riksförbund).

According to Björklund and Fjelkner there is a widening gap between resources spent on schools in different municipalities.

The two argue that the priorities of local governing bodies, rather than the needs of students, now dictate where the resources are spent.

In addition, control over schools in Sweden is "unclear" and conditions haven't improved for Sweden's teachers, who today find themselves among the worst paid in the OECD countries, wrote Björklund and Fjelkner.

While the state continues to regulate education through laws, the curriculum and teacher education, the municipalities are responsible for running schools and making decisions about funding and resource management.

This leads to a confused system where both blame each other for the system’s failings, according to Fjelkner and Björklund.

Although the government in recent years has established several ways of regulating the system, both Björklund and Fjelkner feel that these efforts are not enough and that it is time for the state to resume control in order to give all Swedish students an equivalent education regardless of which school they attend.

But Sweden's largest teachers' union, the Teachers’ Union of Sweden (Lärarförbundet), is skeptical about the proposed renationalisation.

Story continues below…

"We think that this would simply be a costly reform which wouldn’t benefit either students or teachers," Pontus Haag, a spokesperson with Teachers’ Union of Sweden, told The Local.

"However, it is true that clear guidelines are needed in order to make sure that students get the same level of education regardless of where they go to school."

The Local/rm (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

13:42 March 15, 2011 by Nemesis
This is a sensible idea.

Sweden needs to stop its headlong slide towards being a third world country, NOW.

The sooner the schools are renationalised , schools brought up to standard and teachers trained to an appropiate standard, the better.
21:16 March 15, 2011 by conboy
Ah yes Björklund who wanted freedom of choice in the school system , more discipline, and enabled the take over of a Stockholm school into the hands of an organised crime boss and a former prostitute -- What a guy!!!!
23:42 March 15, 2011 by mikewhite
And David Cameron keeps going on about wanting to import "the Swedish system" to the UK ...
22:38 March 18, 2011 by Iftikhar_Ahmad
Almost all children now believe they go to school to pass exams. The idea that they may be there for an education is irrelevant. State schools have become exam factories, interested only in A to C Grades. They do not educate children. Exam results do not reflect a candidate's innate ability. Employers have moaned for years that too many employees cannot read or write properly. According to a survey, school-leavers and even graduates lack basic literacy and numeracy skills. More and more companies are having to provide remedial training to new staff, who can't write clear instructions, do simple maths, or solve problems. Both graduates and school-leavers were also criticised for their sloppy time-keeping, ignorance of basic customer service and lack of self-discipline.

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. More faith schools will be opened under sweeping reforms of the education system in England. There is a dire need for the growth of state funded Muslim schools to meet the growing needs and demands of the Muslim parents and children. Now the time has come that parents and community should take over the running of their local schools. Parent-run schools will give the diversity, the choice and the competition that the wealthy have in the private sector. 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 are hundreds of state primary and secondary schools where Muslim pupils are in majority. In my opinion all such schools may be opted out to become Muslim Academies. This mean the Muslim children will get a decent education. Muslim schools turned out balanced citizens, more tolerant of others and less likely to succumb to criminality or extremism. Muslim schools give young people confidence in who they are and an understanding of Islam's teaching of tolerance and respect which prepares them for a positive and fulfilling role in society. Muslim schools are attractive to Muslim parents because they have better discipline and teaching Islamic values. Children like discipline, structure and boundaries. Bilingual Muslim children need Bilingual Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods, who understand their needs and demands.

Bilingual Muslim children need bilingual Muslim teachers as role models. A Cambridge University study found that single-sex classes could make a big difference for boys. They perform better in single-sex classes. The research is promising because male students in the study saw noticeable gains in the grades. The study confirms the Islamic notion that academic achievement is better in single-sex classes.


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