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Few refugee children in private school system

Published torsdag 3 augusti 2017 kl 16.16
Private school CEO: Councils should do more
(1:29 min)
The Kunskapsskolan chain is one of the schools to apply to be part of the quota scheme.
The Kunskapsskolan chain is one of the schools to apply to be part of the quota scheme. Credit: Mikael Olmås

The proportion of refugee children in state-run schools is three times higher than that in private-run "free schools" and a new quota system has seen only around 60 refugees go to private schools.

In Sweden parents can choose the school their children can apply to go to, from the public state-run schools under the local councils, to the schools run by other bodies such as cooperatives, charities and profit-making companies.

And there is a wide split in where refugee children go to school. Last year saw the amount of refugees in school rise by a quarter, but most are concentrated in just a few schools.

The council-run schools have nine percent of their pupils from an asylum-seeker background, while the private schools have just three percent.

A new law from November 2016 makes it possible for free schools to set up a second queue system to allow a quota of refugee children to be taken in. But despite over a hundred private schools applying to the system, just 60 or so children are using it.

Fredrik Lindgren is the CEO of one of Sweden's biggest free school businesses, Kunskapsskolan. He says it is the local council's job to have better contact with new families and tell new refugees that they have the chance to choose a free school.

But Per-Arne Andersson at the association of local authorities says the scheme cannot overcome other, bigger, factors. He says to newspaper Dagens Nyheter that the school segregation is due to housing segregation, and that most refugees live in places with few private schools at all.

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