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As Sweden matches on privatising welfare as Venture capitalists take over schools in the country

Thursday, 08 December 2011
The bourgeoisies’ government in Sweden has done much to open Swedish welfare services to private money, a drive which even though there is increasing criticisms, the government is determined to drive it on.

On main sensitive area which is a borne of contention at the moment is the educational or school sector. Here one in five Swedish schools today is controlled by venture capitalists according to recent figures analysed by Swedish television. The problem here is that as more schools go to private hands, quality is still low and the cost to the tax payer is rising.

Among the applications to start new schools, it shows that venture capitalists are about to take over more of the Swedish school. For next year's 489 applications to start new schools, it is a new record.

Among them, about one third of school – firms are controlled by venture capitalists.
“That is a large percentage,” says Kjell Hedwall from the Swedish Schools Inspectorate, who see how large corporations are taking over more and more of free school start market.

There are four groups that dominate: Kunskapsskolan (Knowledge School), John Bauer, Baggium and Academedia. All but Kunskapsskolan is controlled today by private equity firms outside Sweden.

The greatest is Academedia, which operates more than 20 school companies, including Pysslingen, Vittra, Fenestra, and Rytmusgymnasiet.

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Academedia has this year sought to launch over 100 new schools in the country, according to Swedish Television. Academedia last year, made a profit of Skr89 million after taxes. But private equity business is often based on growing profits as the biggest gains come when the business is sold.

In the debate about private equity in health care, there has been criticism of many of the companies in their ways of tax planning using tax havens. Academedia owner EQT, has ownership through a fund in the tax haven of Guernsey.

CEO Marcus Strömberg told Swedish television that it feels problematic that their owners invested in a tax haven, for tax reasons:
“I think it's bad. Anything that can affect our confidence is negative for us.
Schools Inspectorate has become increasingly tougher to approve new schools. Most have now been rejected.”

But according to reports, the school body approving new schools has granted more applications approvals. This is despite the fact that more applications were received from organisations that have had complaints from the school inspectorate. 

There authorities criticized the grading, attendance control, unqualified teachers, lack of support and too little teaching time. Schools Inspectorate has initiated a major review of the John Bauer Group's schools. But at the same time may now start eight new elementary schools.

Kjell Hedvall, head of the school inspectorate, told Swedish television that the authority has assessed their applications and based on them what they have seen, there have not been found reasons to disapprove.

The issue to privatisation of social services in Sweden has attracted lots of complaints from the public on quality and promise that are not kept and from the opposition which accuse the ruling coalition of giving to their friend in the private sector, tax payers money which, much of it is later siphoned to tax havens.

But the cries of the public and the opposition is like blowing hot air as the government is still determined to privatise more of the welfare services in the country in the coming months and years before the next elections.
By Scancomark.se Team

            


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