“The Reepalu commission has provided a totally inaccurate description of what serious organizations like Internationella Engelska Skolan stand for and contribute with to society. Its proposals cannot form the basis for legislation.” This is a core conclusion from the Board of Internationella Engelska Skolan (IES), in its statement of opinion sent to the government on Monday. IES is the leading free school organization in “Grundskolan” (grades 1-9), operating 29 such schools in Sweden plus one upper secondary school during the current school year, with 21 400 students. As of 30 September 2016, there were approximately 122,000 applications in the waiting list to secure a place for the forthcoming year.
Mrs. Barbara Bergstrom, the Founder of IES, adds: “I can state with certainty, that Engelska Skolan would not exist, had the Reepalu proposal been the law at the time. Through the years, our schools have saved thousands of students being tormented by bullying and suffering from lack of the most basic safety in public schools, schools marked by chaos. IES has provided students with a safe environment, and peace to work. We have brought, currently, 700 teachers to Sweden from other countries, teachers in subjects like Math and Science, who are very hard to find in Sweden today.”
“I am proud of what we have created, and don't want to see it destroyed because of ideological fundamentalism. I cannot conceive that this will happen, either. But the threat against our very existence must stop, hopefully through a broad, pragmatic political agreement. The Reepalu proposal is a distraction, and cannot be considered a part of the solution.”
The statement from IES raises the fundamental question of the purpose of the Reepalu commission. The answer cannot be found in problems in schools or health care, considered by other commissions. The real answer is to be found within politics itself. The Reepalu commission is a result of political blackmail from the Left party during the formation of a new government after the election of 2014. The governing Social Democrats now seem to think that it is a smart political play to invent an ideological conflict before the 2018 election, thereby distracting from the real problems facing the country. The Reepalu commission has therefore started with a conclusion in a desperate search for a problem. It has not reached its conclusion based on any objective and rational analysis of facts.
The political system in Sweden is currently marked by “confusion and lack of order” (“oordning och oreda”), not the companies operating in education and health care, writes IES. The Reepalu commission was unnecessary from start and is highly damaging in its proposals. It should be replaced by a balanced and pragmatic political agreement, creating long-term stability for the educational and health care markets.
In its extensive statement of opinion, IES shows why entrepreneurship and companies must be allowed to develop the plurality of options needed for choice. The statement explains in detail how quality in the operations is the only way to achieve long-term success and profits. To create surplus in existing operations is a necessary precondition for expansion, and also serves as a security for parents and students. IES carries a financial burden of over 4,000 MSEK for rental contracts alone. No landlord would ever enter into a contract, if they could not be sure that IES has a strong cash flow and financial solidity. The statement makes the fundamental point that the Reepalu commission has not at all understood what constitutes capital (“insatt capital”) in a service company like IES.
The IES statement to the Ministry of Finance also counteracts the accusation that a school company like IES contributes to “segregation”. The dominant problem here is that many schools are not operated in a way which helps lift the academic results of all students, due to a Rousseau paradigm of rejecting adult authority. New important research from the University of Göteborg on `School Excellence' gives strong evidence that this is the crucial problem, made greater by the huge number of recently arrived immigrant students. Last academic year, 2015/2016, 36 percent of IES students had a foreign background, well above the 22 percent for Swedish municipal schools.
“Internationella Engelska Skolan provides a role model for structure, order and systematic quality work from a school operator, according also to the National Schools Inspectorate. That makes it preposterous if the government would come with proposals aimed at destroying a company like IES”, the Board concludes.