23 SES 16 B, Unpacking Myths of the Nordic Success Story of Education in an Era of Multiple Crises
The Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden) have a strong image of being welfare states with social justice and cohesion high on their agendas. Nordic education has a high degree of access and low degree of segregation in international comparison. However, neoliberal features of privatization, commercialization, competition, and choice increasingly permeate Nordic education policies and practices. This session presents research on some of the contradictions in Nordic educational policy, practice, and curriculum, and aims to critically explore how justice and equality of and in education are challenged and in part acquire new meanings in the context of globalized Nordic countries in the early 2000s.
The beginning of the twenty-first century has witnessed a global strong sense of disorientation and conflicts about the purpose of education. In the so-called knowledge economy, the central underlying values of education have been challenged and transformed, as education as a social common good to large extent has been replaced by education as an economic and private good (Gunter & Apple, 2016). The five Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden) still have a strong image of being universal welfare states with social justice and cohesion prominent on their agendas, reflected in the national curricula, and high levels of taxation and reallocation as a central political means (Esping Andersen, 1996). Nordic education has a high degree of access and a low degree of segregation in international comparison, and the Nordic countries enjoy a reputation of fairness in education and other welfare aspects. The marked neoliberal features of privatization, commercialization, competition, and choice that increasingly permeate Nordic education policies, albeit to varying extent, are less known outside this region (Blossing et al., 2014; Lundahl, 2016). Yet these conflicting political purposes and practices of education perhaps become tangible in these countries.
Adopting international outlooks and comparisons, this session aims at critically analyzing how justice and equality in education are challenged and to some extent take on new meanings in the context of the globalized Nordic countries in the early 2000s.A critical evaluation of policies and curricula is particularly salient as it questions the widespread view of equality about the Nordic countries.
The session is composed by members of a Nordic Center of Excellence Justice through Education in the Nordic Countries, funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers (http://blogs.helsinki.fi/just-ed/). It consists of four papers, each of which deals with a crucial aspect of equality and justice in the changing policy context. The first paper discusses the local enactment of clashing educational marketization and equality policies in Sweden, the Nordic country having gone furthest in a neoliberal direction. The second paper addresses educational policies and practices on sexualities in the Nordic area, focusing on Finland and Iceland. The third paper highlights how policies in math and science education in Denmark, Sweden, and Norway are part of the shift from education for democracy to education for the economy in the Nordic countries. In the fourth and final paper, the author focuses on how therapeutic governance increasingly characterizes Finnish youth policies and individualizes societal problems by reducing them to personality characteristics.
Note the authors are from three of the countries as required, but one of the papers also presents data from the remaining Nordic countries, i.e. five independent countries.
Blossing, U., Imsen, G., & Moos, L. (Eds.) (2014). The Nordic Education Model. ‘A School for All’ Encounters Neo-Liberal Policy. Dordrecht: Springer. Esping Andersen, G. (1996). The Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism. Cambridge: Polity Press. Gunter, H. M., Hall, D., & Apple, M. W. (Eds.). (2016). Corporate Elites and the Reform of Public Education. Bristol: Polity Press. Lundahl, L. (2016). Equality, inclusion and marketization of Nordic education: Introductory notes. Research in Comparative and International Education, 11(1), 3–12.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
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