The municipality says no to schooling in Thailand

Kristina Iwar’s children have, during their stay on Koh Lanta, Thailand, completed their compulsory schooling. But when the family switched from a free school to a municipal school in Solna, they had to interrupt their stay in the tropical paradise.

If the children did not return to school in Sweden, the family would have to pay a large fine, something even SVT has reported on.

– We worked from there and I would study. I sent in documentation and information that the children did their hours there, to show that it is a perfectly good alternative.

On Koh Lanta, the family lived an everyday life with work and school, but in a paradise. The proximity to both school and friends meant that there was more time with the family.

– It’s really sad, the children can’t meet their friends there. It’s also about being able to give your children the experience, being able to run barefoot for three months.

Critical of the message being different

Kristina Iwar does not oppose the law on compulsory schooling, but thinks it is problematic that different municipalities and schools make different decisions. According to her, there are several other municipalities that approve the school on Koh Lanta.

– It contributes to enormous confusion, not least from the children’s perspective. The most important thing is that the children go to school and fulfill their school obligations. The school in Thailand follows the Swedish curriculum and offers teaching in small classes.

She also experienced benefits from teaching in Thailand. The school offered full transparency, according to Kristina Iwar, the children were ahead of their classmates in Sweden.

Considering moving

Now the family is considering several different options to be able to spend parts of their lives in Thailand. It involves moving to a municipality that approves schooling on Koh Lanta, or simply dismissing the children from school.

Fredrik Nordvall, head of the children and education administration in Solna city, says that there are strict requirements for one to be allowed to complete compulsory schooling abroad. One of those requirements is that there must be special reasons.

– It is a very sharp writing which means that it is almost impossible to grant this. All requirements must be met, we think it falls on one or even several criteria in this case, he says.

He says that there is a possibility that different assessments are made in different municipalities, but that this matter was tried in the administrative court, which ruled Solna city right.

– Based on those conditions, any municipality would have done the same, he says.