Free Schools Integral Part of Swedish Education System

3 September 2010
barbara bergström

Ms Bergström (in pink) spoke passionately about free schools

The Swedish Association of Independent Schools (Friskolornas riksförbund) celebrated "Friskoledagen" on Sunday at Kungsträdgården.

With many schools from around the region participating, Internationella Engelska Skolan was represented by teachers and students from IES schools in Bromma, Järfälla, Eskilstuna, Nacka, Täby, and Södermalm.

Teachers from Bromma proudly carried their banner

Ms Barbara Bergström, founder of Internationella Engelska Skolan, took part on stage in one of the panel discussions. She spoke passionately about her support for free schools and their strengths.

"Without the right to establish free schools, Internationella Engelska Skolan i Sverige would not exist," said Ms Bergström. "This would have been a loss to students and parents who would have been unable to thrive with the alternative we have and are offering."

She went on to stress: "It would also have been a loss to the country and the community were we have contributed with a sense of dynamics and determination. We have been and are providing a unique insight into international and Swedish education. The right to choose presupposes that school choice exists."

Dr Benedikz, who represented Internationella Engelska Gymnasiet at the event is also a strong advocate of what free schools can offer Sweden.

"They are an integral part of our education system. They offer an alternative to state schools and many parents and students in the Stockholm have chosen schools like Internationella Engelska Gymnasiet specifically because of the different education they offer.

"At IEG we strive to create an academic, internationally-orientated school where teaching is predominantly in English."

Dr Margret Benedikz

Dr Benedikz by the IES stand

Dr Benedikz believes it is important that the state works closely alongside free schools to develop the best education system possible for Swedish students: "We should be seen as an important feature of the school system along with state schools."

In recent years the significance of free schools like Internationella Engelska Skolan has not gone unnoticed outside Sweden. Internationella Engelska Skolan has, for example, recently been in talks with the British government as the UK is particularly interested in discovering what the free school model has to offer the UK.

Internationella Engelska Gymnasiet Södermalm (IEGS) is an international Upper Secondary school located in the heart of Södermalm with a strong academic tradition and a commitment to helping students develop to their full potential.
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