The opening of my blog

I have decided to start writing a regular blog to accompany my “Privat ekonomi” column. You must forgive me for writing in English but at the end of a hard day at the office, I don’t have the energy to try to write in good Swedish!
This last week SvD has carried articles about private schools here in Sweden. My blood boils… After being brought up in London, and having my two engineer sons in schools in Singapore (private), Paris (private), Scarsdale (public) and Helsinki (public and private), I have no hesitation in saying that any country that embraces the route of having unlimited private schools as a matter of government policy will be doomed in future years. Private schools drain resources and teachers away from public schools. Private schools burn money to advertize and market themselves to the well-off and middle classes. Class segregation is a result of this activity. There is a natural tendency for better off parents to ensure that homework is done and that courses are followed. Naturally exam results can be better, but that is not because the private sector is driving the students more efficiently better. Results are betterbecause the surrounding environment is more conducive to study harder! Social class differentiation into upper and lower classes is a wasting element in any society because it leads to lost (stifled) opportunities for those whose education opportunities have been taxed…
Education needs to be a flat and equal opportunity activity. It is too important to play with…

The question of education for 16, 17 and 18 year olds has reared its head again in Helsinki. The city wants to have top performing elite high schools that takes in only the “best” students. Those 16, 17 and 18 year olds that fail to do well in their exams are finding ”good” school places difficult to come by.

Normally boys have other things on their mind at that age – being not as mature as the young ladies. The result is that many fine young men are turned away from a possible university education because they are late developers. I have seen close up at least three boys, one being me at 13 years old, who were on that edge of failure. I was lucky to have a friend who, without noticing, guided me towards try a little harder to devour my text books… The others were supported by their parents and did well to become top engineers.

Education is the best investment anyone can make at any time in their lives. Unfortunately not everyone understands that – don’t let politics ruin our education with private schools.



  • Annette Lindahl skriver:

    I share Nicolas’ views completely, but I am very worried about how we develop the oublic schools in Finland right now. Now the education given is okay and very well suitable for the average pupil . For those doing somewhat poorly, there is not enough remedial instruction at the moment and for the ”very bright top” the stimulation lacks also. We must improve the standard of our public schools in a way that they offer stonger support, hold a good stadard for the borad majorty and allows the few tops to shine.

  • Calce skriver:

    In Finland I think there are already quite a lot of ”speciality Schools” – schools that deepen the focus on particular subjects (be it science, music or arts). This gives the pupils and the teacheres an extra bond, that provides for a more motivated environment. It requires for the young to determine at least one focus area and become stronger in that. The parents are typically more involved and the pupils will get challenged in at least some dimension to a higher degree than normally. However as in everything else in life it’s the people, and in particular the leaders, that ”make or break” it

    My son goes to a science focussed high school, yet does sport 5 times a week and spend last spring in Stockholm in a sports oriented public high school. The sports activities there were well organized, but he could not go to an engineering or medical university after school there. In Helsinki it’s possible, and with a fantastic Headmaster even very doable because the teachers all have a common view. ”If somebody is determined to do extraordinarily, it’s our task to make it possible”


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