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Lessons from Sweden
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Education and Adult Learning. Linköping University, Faculty of Educational Sciences. (Vuxenpedagogik och Folkbildning)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9916-8705
Linköping University, Department of Social and Welfare Studies, Social Work. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2019 (English)In: Neoliberalism and market forces in education: Lessons from Sweden / [ed] Magnus Dahlstedt & Andreas Fejes, Routledge, 2019, 1, p. 231-234Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Through the establishment of a free school choice, the right to establish independent schools, and possibilities to make profit on publicly funded schools, Sweden has developed one of the most market-oriented education systems in the world. Currently, Chile and New Zealand are two of the few countries where similarities to the extreme market orientation in Swedish education can be traced (see Chapter 5). Even the OECD have critiqued the Swedish education system for having become too market oriented, contributing to an increase in inequalities and segregation. This critique is highly interesting in that the OECD is a global organisation that for decades has been promoting a market-liberal reform agenda throughout the world. In the report Improving Schools in Sweden – an OECD Perspective, on the state of the Swedish education system, the organisation concludes:

Providing full parental school choice can result in segregating students by ability and/or socio-economic background and generate greater inequities while not necessarily raising performance… . Swedish school choice arrangements do not currently have a consolidated approach to ensure equity while supporting quality. There are no clear guidelines for schools, and funding strategies do not necessarily prioritise disadvantaged students across all municipalities, possibly implying that independent schools become more selective towards more advantaged students, given the same student costs.

(OECD, 2015, p. 101) The current market-oriented system in Sweden was also elaborated in the school commission, commissioned by the government, delivering its final report in 2017 (SOU 2017:35). The commission was made up of researchers, as well as representatives from teacher trade unions as well as public and independent schools, and had the task to make a complete overview of the entire education system in Sweden. At large, the commission confirms, based on existing research, the assessment made by the OECD, in terms of an extreme market orientation in 232Sweden, contributing to an increase in inequality and segregation. However, rather than suggesting a makeover of the Swedish education system, as was made in the early 1990s when the market reforms were introduced and implemented, the commission provides suggestions on how the current system could be fine-tuned. Or rather, the neoliberal ideas behind the last decades’ makeover of the Swedish education system were further reinforced by the commission.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2019, 1. p. 231-234
Keywords [en]
Neoliberalism, marketization, education, market forces
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-155059ISBN: 9781138600881 (print)ISBN: 9780429470530 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-155059DiVA, id: diva2:1295475
Available from: 2019-03-11 Created: 2019-03-11 Last updated: 2019-09-16Bibliographically approved

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Fejes, AndreasDahlstedt, Magnus

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