Democrac' as othering within Finnish education

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Simpson , A 2018 , ' Democrac' as othering within Finnish education ' , International Journal of Bias, Identity and Diversities in Education , vol. 3 , no. 2 , pp. 77-93 . https://doi.org/10.4018/IJBIDE.2018070106

Title: Democrac' as othering within Finnish education
Author: Simpson, Ashley
Contributor organization: Doctoral Programme in School, Education, Society, and Culture
Department of Education
Date: 2018
Language: eng
Number of pages: 17
Belongs to series: International Journal of Bias, Identity and Diversities in Education
ISSN: 2379-7355
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4018/IJBIDE.2018070106
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/299910
Abstract: The aim of this paper is to focus on the ways discourses about democracy and human rights within Finnish education are framed through nationalistic and/or ethnocentric ideologies. Finland has been ‘described’ as a country ‘that shows what equal opportunities look like’ (Sahlberg, 2012), and a country with ‘high levels of equality’ (Aylott, 2016). In a further example, Niemi, Toom, & Kallioniemi. (2012) note the importance of teachers as actors of democracy in Finland and stress strong social cohesion as a factor in Finland’s educational successes. The Ministry of Education and Culture in Finland has published on the need for Finland to do better in terms of inclusion and participation in its schools (Ministry of Education and Culture, 2008). Moreover, the Ministry has gone on to stress that Finland recognises the importance of curriculum development, literacy, and, teacher training for human rights education (Ministry of Education and Culture, 2011). In compulsory education, section 2 of the Basic Education Act in Finland states: ‘(2) Education shall promote civilisation and equality in society and pupils’ prerequisites for participating in education and otherwise developing themselves during their lives’ (Ministry of Education and Culture, 2016, p. 1). The translation and interpretation of what these words mean in practice is yet to be seen. Lappalainen & Lahelma (2015) argue that discourses on equality in Finland have generated a number of assumptions about what society should be like, in contrast to what Finnish society is like. Simola (2014) argues that within Finland a number of discursive formations over time have produced ‘myths’ around ‘educational clientelism’ and notions of ‘social democracy’. Indeed, some studies on Finnish education have indicated that Finnish schools do not encourage students to develop their own ‘political voice’ (Sandström, Einarson, Davies, & Asunta, 2010) in comparison to other countries. Finally, some commentators have indicated a potential ‘democratic crisis’ in sections of Finnish society (Andersson & Sjöblom, 2013). Seemingly, a number of questions remain surrounding the meanings and practices of democratic values within Finland.
Subject: 516 Educational sciences
Peer reviewed: Yes
Usage restriction: openAccess
Self-archived version: acceptedVersion


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