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Funding Education

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Funding Education

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Governments are constantly searching for cost-effective education policies, while the private sector and industry offer their own funding solutions. This week we look at initiatives in three countries, Germany Sweden and the US.

Career Concept

Cinto Gersie is always on the run. He has his own business which he started while he was studying for his MBA, analysing the German mineral water market. He said: “I wrote my thesis on the mineral water market in 2006 and I finished my studies in 2007. The final paper I wrote was in fact my business plan for the company.”

Cinto was the first student in his class to be helped by an investment fund, and today his company is flourishing. He sells flavoured water to lifestyle customers, a fast growing market in Germany. He pays eight percent of his income back into the education fund, and will go on paying for another four years.

But only the best can hope for this type of investment. Benedikt is a first year student at the EBS Law School in Wiesbaden. He had to pass demanding exams to get funded and has to get good marks in order to retain his funding.

In contrast to a bank loan, there is no fixed interest on funding. And repayments only start once the student begins earning. Then they pay a specified percentage of their income back into the education fund for a fixed period.

It is a system that works for everyone involved. Graduates help new students, investors help them too and even earn money from it.

For more information see:

Sweden: School Voucher System

Since the beginning of the nineties, Sweden has issued vouchers for every child between the ages of seven and 19 years old, which can be used in all schools, regardless of whether they are state or privately run.

Christian Wetell, the principal of the Kunskapsskolan Enskede School, says: “The voucher system works so that each student and their parents can choose which school they go to, and they will have a sum of money they can choose to put into any school where they would like to be educated. So, that means they can give them to any school, public or private that they would like to go to.”

The face value of the vouchers is decided by the local authorities, according to the budget allocated to the education sector and then school fees are transferred directly to the schools. In the area where Kunskapsskolan Enskede is located, vouchers are worth around 9,000 euros a year, and in Sweden, all children receive a free lunch at school.

Odd Eiken, Executive Vice President of the Kunskapsskolan Education Sweden, explained: “The voucher system in Sweden was designed in order to expand equal opportunities without having one size fits all. It’s very important to provide equal opportunities, but equal opportunities doesn’t mean a system of identical programmes, because eventually that creates inequality.”

The school vouchers system covers all children who are eligible to attend school in Sweden.

For more information see:

USA: Faith School Funding

Faced with the prospect of Catholic schools closing, a Jesuit priest in Chicago has come up with an inspired solution. The students fund their education through working one day a week via the Cristo Rey Work Study Programme. Now there are 24 schools using the project.

The students work one day a week in law firms, offices and corporations. A group of students timeshare the same job.

Yosseline is 18 and works one day in a private equity firm, where she earns $7,500 a year for her school. Her family pays another $1,000 a year. Yosseline also has a weekend job for her personal expenses. She is always busy but she is getting a good education – all Cristo Rey students get into university.

Cristo Rey schools are established in poor neighbourhoods where public schools are failing. Ninety five percent of the 6,500 Cristo Rey students currently on the programme are from ethnic minorities. They do not have to be Catholic to get on the programme, but they do have to prove their determination.

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