Democracy is knowledge and experience: Discussion Paper on Democracy Education

Democracy is knowledge and experience: Discussion Paper on Democracy Education

22.06.2017 | Democracy

The Institute publishes a discussion paper on the similarities and differences of democracy education in Finland and England

One of the main missions of the Finnish Institute in London’s Society and Culture Programme is to contribute to and advance the discussion about the equality of education. This paper by Vilja Kamppila (M.Soc.Sc) is based on interviews conducted in the autumn of 2016. Kamppila interviewed nine education experts in both countries to compile their views on the challenges, development and future needs of democracy education.

The high quality of Finnish education, curriculum that responds to current needs, well-trained teachers and the will to guarantee equal opportunities for all children have given basis to the success of the Finnish welfare state. A democratic society does not develop by itself but it is a result of a conscious effort and investment.

“Both the British and Finnish experts emphasised that one of the most important tasks for any school is to teach pupils skills for working as a part of a community, collective decision-making and constructive interaction with others. Learning these skills should be prioritised in future curriculums,” says Vilja Kamppila.

The discussion paper conveys that democracy education is based both on knowledge and experience. Through education we gain knowledge about society and political systems, but it is just as important that pupils gain experience in decision-making and influencing. Extra-curricular activities also have an educational context where one can learn interaction and partaking.

Kamppila’s paper looks at the differences on the Finnish and English education system covering both their strengths and weaknesses. The conclusion is that both countries can learn from each other.

“The Finnish Institute in London wants to encourage international collaboration and sharing best practices in the field of education. Listening to the pupils and their experiences should to be part of this international dialogue” says Johanna Sumuvuori.

Download the paper and its Finnish abstract here:

Download Democracy_Education_Discussion_Paper.pdf

Download Suomenkielinen tiivistelmä Vilja Kamppilan raportista School.pdf

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