Ministry of Education to grant up to four new licences for private schools
Finland’s Ministry of Education intends to submit its proposal of authorisation for two to four entirely new private schools. In addition, five already existing independent schools are about to get a permanent licence that would replace the temporary authorisations they already have.
A total of 16 applications were received complete with all necessary official statements. Some of the applications included a request by an existing private elementary school to extend their authorisation to cover secondary schooling as well.
The government is to handle the applications on Thursday.
The political opposition has expressed suspicions that the present blue-green government coalition will start granting heaps of licences now that there are no such ideological obstacles as for example the Social Democrats had when they were in office.
However, on the strength of the first distribution of licences, the number of private comprehensive schools does not appear to be showing any explosive growth.
According to Minister of Education Sari Sarkomaa (National Coalition Party) it shows no good administrative practice if schools that meet the basic requirements have to be run on temporary authorisations from one year to another.
Permanent licences will be granted to the Christian comprehensive schools in Espoo, Kerava, Kuopio and Jyväskylä as well as to the Freinet School of Rauma.
The four entirely new licences are to be granted to certain Christian schools and Steiner schools, which were also most strongly represented among the original applicants. Some applicants are ”home schools” that have been run for years without any governmental funding.
”The licences are not granted automatically, and the applications have been examined very closely. Moreover, the number of dismissals outnumbers that of acceptances”, reported Sarkomaa.
The government can authorize for example a certain society to set up a new school that will provide basic education. The authorisation will allow the school to receive official status and funding. Their curriculum is based on the National Curriculum.
In order to set up a new school there has to be an evident need and an agreement has to be made with the local council.
However, such agreement is not necessary if the planned school is to operate in a foreign language or if it is to be based on a specific ideology or pedagogy.
Further requirements for the establishment of an independent school include competent teaching staff and assured finances.
At present, there are approximately 70 independent schools in Finland, while only fewer than three per cent of Finnish children attend a private school.
Ministry of Education