Half of principals back re-nationalizing schools

Half of principals back re-nationalizing schools
Nearly half of principals in Sweden want to see control of schools taken away from intrusive local government officials and put back in the hands of the state, a new survey has shown.

Roughly one in two, 48.3 percent, of Swedish school principals support having school’s renationalized, according to a survey carried out by broadcaster Utbildningsradion (UR).

Just over 22 percent of the 980 principals interviewed in the survey rejected the idea of having the state reclaim control over schools, with the remaining respondents saying they weren’t sure.

The survey also found that 51 percent of principals felt steamrolled by local government officials, and 48 percent said they would prefer to be employees of the state, rather than of their local municipalities.

Sweden’s Liberal Party (Folkpartiet), the party of current Education Minister Jan Björklund, has long pushed for Sweden’s schools to be re-nationalized, but has failed to gain any traction on the issue.

The “dual leadership” of having municipalities and the state share responsibility for schools results in a “muddled system of control”, Liberal Party argued in a 2009 report.

A 2011 opinion poll found that a majority, 56 percent of Swedes, were also in favour of renationalizing Swedish schools, something the head of the National Teachers’ Association (Lärarnas Riksförbund) said at the time was a sign of “deep discontent” with Swedish schools.

TT/The Local/dl

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