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Competitiveness / Education  Research


Sweden: Social Democrats suggest ten year limit for school owners

Monday, 28 October 2013
The Swedish government and the leading opposition party, the Social Democrats are agreeing that the Swedish private school system is not working as expected. Schools have been failing in providing quality education to the level that would have been expected and have been putting profiteering ahead of quality education.

As general election is around the corner, each party if juggling for position proposing what they feel would be popular with voters on how to improve the education system.

The Swedish people are not happy with their education systems and the government is beginning to believe that – probably due to persistent poor polls.  One major problem is that despite public money being poured into the private schools system, many large private school companies are going bankrupt with owners of school enriching themselves.
One argument is that schools are owned by large venture capital companies with roots in tax havens and tend to suck up money and send to those tax havens on the guises of paying interest on borrowed capital from those sister companies based in those tax havens. School

As such the Finance Minister, Anders Borg reviewing private schools policy for the next governing session said on Saturday on Swedish television that he wants to have rules that stop venture capital organisation setting up schools in Sweden

Now, the Social Democrats education spokesperson, Ibrahim Baylan has reacted and asks that the Conservatives Moderate party to define what long-term ownership is, for the Social Democrats, according to him, a time limit – say 10 years is what ownership limit means.

Recent media reports last Thursday showed how many millions went to pay interest rates on loan from these tax havens while undermining teachers and teaching resources.

The TV documentary showed how tactically these types of businesses have been using their resources, much of which comes from tax payer. This brought home the Minister of Finance,  Anders Borg who presided over these types arrangements to come out saying that it is time to review Swedish education ownership roles for private free  schools.

“I think we should do the ownership assessment for it to be a long term issue and to create sustainable and competent owners. I think this indicates that there should not be private equity firms as owners as it is currently in the future,” he said.

In May bipartisan agreement was agreed upon in which only long-term owners would be allowed to run free schools in the future in Sweden. But there was no time limit set  which the Social Democrats and the Green Party wanted.
“If you want to make sure that we have long-term shareholders in the school system, then it is important that we also have a standard which ‘Skolinspektionen’ can relate to, otherwise you just get a punch in the air,” says Social Democratic school policy spokesman, Ibrahim Baylan and continues: 

“There has of course been a strong resistance from Conservatives but I have also seen that they flutter increasingly due to public opinion. I am pleased that they now look soberly at reality but, for that, it will be ten years as standard.”
Skolinspektionen is the state department that manages and regulate pre - university schools in Sweden
The view is that at least a 10 years ownership would mean that much money will not be sucked out of schools at will and ferried to tax haven. If the schools are not performing well within these periods, the school owners could be prosecuted.
By Team

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