23 SES 02 D, Europeanisation and National Policy
Parallel Paper Session
Over several decades now, there has been an ongoing co-operation on education policy in Europe. Gradually, the process of Europeanization in the area of education has involved more and more actors and agencies on the national, as well as on the trans-national level, and the interplay between them have become an extensive and complex practice of trading and negotiation. In this paper we focus on the European framework of key competencies for lifelong learning which has become a cornerstone in the European Union’s growth strategy “Europe 2020”. In this context The European Commission also wants to see the key competencies made more visible in the national school curriculum. This has led to a development towards a move from subject-specific to generic curriculum criteria and to an increased focus on learning outcomes. In the recent Swedish comprehensive school reform, where a new curriculum was launched, the trend towards generic curriculum criteria was still quite imperceptible. The study shows that instead European policy trends were mixed up, re-interpreted and contested within the national context. The main question of this paper is to what extent and in what ways the Swedish compulsory school reform can be seen as an expression of a European educational policy discourse and how transnational elements are re-interpreted in the meeting with the national policy agenda. The empirical material consists of policy texts related to the European growth strategy "Europe 2020" and to the work on a new Swedish curriculum for the elementary
In order to capture the dynamics of institutional change in the school reform Discourse Institutionalism (DI) is used as a theoretical framework in this paper. Tracing discursive processes of coordination and communication makes it possible to analyse why some discourses success and becomes institutionalised. Institutions viewed as internal to agents, serving as structures that at the same time constraints and construct the thinking, saying and acting of actors. Change is within the discourse institutionalism understood as a process from the inside, by showing how real actors’ ideas in discursive interaction construct and reconstruct their courses of action.
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