Swedish school funding

In the wake of moves in Australia to cut private school funding because they can raise funds directly from parents through fees comes an examination of the way it is all done in Sweden. The Economist reports (and I know I am a few weeks late on this) about the ‘IKEA-like’ chain of privately operated, for profit, schools that are proving successful in Sweden. These schools are free, and must be non-discriminatory in how they accept students (although religious orientation is fine). Basically, the schools are paid the amount that a student would receive from being educated in the public system. It is a voucher without a voucher.

The successful chains offer very standardised programs, simple infrastructure and incentive pay for teachers. As a result parents get a ton of information on their childrens’ performance.

So this is the way the most social democratic of countries is heading. What is more, the idea of linking funding to a student is the key to breaking down the political barriers to investments in education.

One thought on “Swedish school funding”

  1. I read that Economist article. And the enormous difference between the Swedish system and ours is that in Sweden, you are not allowed to charge any more than the voucher. I can’t imagine that that would be politically acceptable in Australia, but it seems to be a feature of all overseas voucher systems that I have read about.

    Of course here, the most prestigious private schools effectively charge about three times as much as the state system spends (or maybe five times how much they receive from the government) per pupil – leading to huge inequality, and, I imagine, a higher quality of education (it’s hard to imagine that all the money wouldn’t make some difference).

    To me, that fundamental difference in approaches makes them not comparable.


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