Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription or Fee Access

Can Schools Educate For A Democratic Society? The Struggle for a Participative Pupil Role in Norwegian Schools

Lars Monsen

Full Text: PDF



Starting with a historical review of the struggle for participative democracy in Norwegian schools, this article take evidence from history, from recent reforms and evaluation of these to answer the question. The struggle began in the 1920s and is still evident in more recent national curricula from 1994, 1997 and 2006. The author’s evaluation research has documented how difficult it can be to follow up reform ambitions to include pupils in a democratic classroom where pupils can give their voice in decisionmaking and evaluation. In the recent years it has become more demanding to fulfil these ambitions with an influx of pupils from third world countries where democratic traditions are even less developed. In conclusion: It is still hope for schools as an arena for democratic learning. New ideas for child rearing will put pressure on schools to educate for a knowledge-based society.

Keywords: Participatory democracy – School reforms – Norway – Evaluation of reforms – Pupils’ voice – multi-ethnic classroom