Notes on Swedish education reform

Miranda Bryant:

Sweden has declared a “system failure” in the country’s free schools, pledging the biggest shake-up in 30 years and calling into question a model in which profit-making companies run state education.

Sweden’s friskolor – privately run schools funded by public money – have attracted international acclaim, including from Britain, with the former education secretary Michael Gove using them as a model for hundreds of new British free schools opened under David Cameron’s government.

But in recent years, a drop in Swedish educational standards, rising inequality and growing discontent among teachers and parents has helped fuel political momentum for change.

A report by Sweden’s biggest teachers’ union, Sveriges Lärare, warned in June of the negative consequences of having become one of the world’s most marketised school systems, including the viewing of pupils and students as customers and a lack of resources resulting in increased dissatisfaction.