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Scandinavia Today / Sweden


How the Swedish Free school policy increase segregation in the society

Wednesday, 27 February 2013
As the Swedish government's flagship free school system seen by many as making it possible for children from disadvantaged background to get a shot at private education, it has turned out that such is not the case. Discrimination is actually rife with the systems than would have been imagined.

The free school system in Sweden in Sweden where most entrepreneurs and individuals have been encouraged to create their own private school has actually been observed increasing segregation, as more affluent or well-to-do parents tend to pull their children into schools that have like-minded.

According to radio Sweden, some parents actively choose to remove their children from schools with students from more disadvantaged areas, although the closest to home the better, Bo Malmberg, Professor of Human Geography, Stockholm University made the assertion on radio Sweden.

"Those who mainly use school choice are middle class groups. And they often do it to opt out of schools that have a mixed social and ethnic composition," he said.

Malmberg will shortly presents a new study with Uppsala University as part of the project "the Swedish school's new geography." In the study, 5,000 families in eight selected municipalities had to respond to a mail survey about the motive behind their choice of school.

A common response has been the geographical location and proximity to home. But for the families who live in more affluent areas, which are close to the more socially deprived neighbourhoods, mostly in larger cities, the distance to school is no longer so important, according to Malmberg.

"When you ask parents about school choice, they refer very often that school quality is central, but we analyze this in more detail  and can tell that what is meant by quality is often the school composition of different social groups and different ethnic groups," he said.
by Team

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