Democratic values in the comprehensive schools curricula of the Nordic countries.
The major focus of this paper is to find out which aspects of democratic values are emphasised in the comprehensive schools curricula of the five Nordic countries. It is also an intention of the paper to find out similarities and differences in emphasis and if available data allows to further investigate the reasons for differences and similarities.
Major sources for the work were curricula of comprehensive schools from the different Nordic countries. Each countries current curriculum was closely read to understand their contents and to undertake comparative analysis. Text analysis was used as a major tool to look closely at the text and context. For further knowledge journals on curriculum studies and other relevant materials were consulted.
A preliminary review of the general section of comprehensive schools curricula of these countries show:
In the Danish curriculum participation, responsibility and understanding rights and duties are emphasised.
The Finnish curriculum raises issues on human rights, equality, natural diversity, preservation of environment and multiculturalism. Responsibility, a sense of community and respect for the right and freedom of the individual are emphasised. General diversity and gender equality are given significant attention.
In the Icelandic curriculum the major focus is human rights, collective responsibility, participation, influencing, and respect. Concern for people, animal and the environment are included in the curriculum. Critical thinking and reflection, active cooperation & collective responsibility are also emphasised.
The Norwegian curriculum mentions understanding, cooperation, independence, individual freedom and tolerance as important issues.
Swedish curriculum raises issues on respect for human rights, respect for persons and the environment. It considers inviolability of human life, individual freedom and integrity, equality between women and men, solidarity with the weak and vulnerable as crucial points. Sense of justice, generosity of spirit, tolerance and responsibility, well-being and development of the individual, no discrimination and personal responsibility were among the areas the curriculum lifted up.
The curricula in these five countries give room for democratic values. There are some variations on emphasises on specific issues. But all the curricula include issues of rights and responsibilities.
Keywords: curricula, democratic values, Nordic countries