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Déréglementation du secteur social - expansion des écoles privées

Historically all schools and universities have been managed by the state. However, the education system has gradually opened up for other agents, although still financed by the state. The responsibility for the public schools moved from the national state level to the local municipalities in 1991. One year later, in 1992, a deregulation reform made it possible to establish private schools financed under the same conditions as municipality-managed schools. Pupils became free to choose school, and a certain amount of state money is set out for each individual pupil that goes to school (SFS 2010:800). Around 70% of private schools are owned by profit companies, some are owned by foundations or cooperatives and some by associations linked to ideological profiles like Montessori pedagogics. Only a minor part of private schools are linked to faith communities. There is no special law or regulation for private schools or confessional schools apart from some formal parts of the general School Act applied to private schools (SFS 2010:800).

Most part of preschools and schools are still managed by the local municipalities. In 2020, 20% of children went to private preschools, 15% of all primary school pupils went to private schools and 28% of all pupils at secondary schools attended a private school. Most of the private schools are very small. In 2020, there were 823 private primary schools and 438 private secondary schools, altogether 1261 schools. 71 of these have officially declared being confessional private schools ; 59 Christian, 11 Muslim, and one Jewish (2017). There is, however, no official registration or obligatory declaration of the ideological or religious profile of private schools, which mean that other private schools may also have a confessional connection.

There has also been a deregulation of the university system (SFS 1993:792). However, most universities including all major ones are managed by the state, that is around 35 universities. There are presently around 20 private universities managed by foundations or voluntary organizations and financed with state grants according to the number of students in subjects for which they have permission to issue academic degrees. A few of these private universities are linked to faith communities, and have some kind of confessional profile.

All parts of the educational system that are financed by the state have to be open for any child or adult regardless of political views, religion, etc. (SFS 2008:567). All primary and secondary schools have to follow the same non-confessional curriculum set by the state School Authority (Sw : Skolverket), regardless of if the school is private or managed by the local municipality. Even education about religion is a compulsory non-confessional part of the curriculum for all municipal as well as private schools. Municipality-managed schools must by law be secular and non-confessional in all respects. Private schools may express their profile by adding extra teaching or activities. However, such added teaching or activities must be voluntary for the pupils. There should be no ideological or religious profile added to the compulsory general curriculum.

Confessional schools have been repeatedly questioned in the public debate since they were introduced. The critique has especially been focused at Muslim schools, arguing that they hinder immigrants’ social integration. There is presently (March 2021) a majority in the parliament in favor of limiting or reducing the number of confessional schools, although the issue is still under investigation.

D 15 mars 2021    APer Pettersson

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