Balqis Khattab builds the school she wants to see

Louise Otto - 2018-05-03

A lot has happened since BIMobject decided to support Balqis Khattab in her initiative to start a new high school in Malmö, Sweden. The concept of Moderna Gymnasiet is met with enthusiasm by teachers and students alike, but the need for more financial backers remains. In spite of this, Balqis Khattab and her growing team keep working to realise the vision of a city that meets the drive of its young people with opportunities, not closed doors.

Balqis started this initiative wanting to give Malmö’s youth a high-school education where the transition into a successful future is embedded in the curriculum. Planned to open in 2019, Moderna Gymnasiet will focus on social studies and economics with the long-term aim of reducing unemployment and increasing social stability among young adults in the city.

The school has now been joined by an experienced headmaster with thorough knowledge of the Swedish national regulatory documents for high schools and a broad set of skills ranging from entrepreneurship and innovative thinking, educational and organisational leadership, strategy, and quality enhancement, to working with social sustainability, democracy, and human rights issues. The efforts to move the project ahead have also included two successful events inviting pupils in the right age range to learn more about Moderna Gymnasiet.

The first event was held in January, when Balqis and the other initiators welcomed around 30 visitors. Many of the potential applicants to the school already frequent the organisation Möllans Basement, which is also run by Balqis and offers after-school activities such as study groups and CV-writing courses. Refreshments were provided by Oatly, who have also promised internships to Moderna Gymnasiet’s future pupils. Around the same time, Balqis was able to secure the teaching staff for first year-students.

Following the overwhelmingly positive response from the school’s future attendees, Balqis organised another event at the beginning of March. This time held at the shopping centre Entré, the many visitors included not just potential students, but also representatives from the Business Development Office in Malmö, Save the Children Sweden, the property owner Trianon, and many other players in the city’s business and industry sectors. Again sponsored by Oatly, the event proved a fun evening for younger guests, with the presentation of Moderna Gymnasiet being followed by dancing and prize raffles.

“Moderna Gymnasiet has been received with such enthusiasm by the young people in our city, it’s easy to see that it is needed. There are a few obstacles left to overcome before we can open the school doors this autumn, but I’m convinced we’ll get there”, Balqis concludes.


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