- freely available
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(8), 232; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8080232
1.1. The Topic: Maximal Citizenship and Religious Education (RE)
1.2. Citizenship in Finnish RE and Maximal Deficiency
1.3. Research Questions
- How compatible are the elements of citizenship in RE in the selected Finnish national core curricula for basic education with maximal citizenship?
- How do the recent developments concerning citizenship and RE in the selected Finnish policy documents interrelate in view of maximal interpretation of citizenship education?
- How could the compatibility and developmental issues raised in questions 1 and 2 above affect the pupils (young people) at the level of education in view?
1.4. Structure of the Paper
2. Theoretical Framework
Maximal Interpretation of Education for Citizenship
3. Finnishness and Diversity: A Need for Critical Views on Citizenship in Finnish RE
4. Research Design and Methods
4.1. Case Study
4.2. Sources of Data
4.3. Method of Analysis
5. Analysis of Policy Documents Regarding Maximal Citizenship in Finnish RE
5.1. Global Citizenship, Ethno-Nationalism and Linguistic Turn
As immigration began to accelerate in the early nineties, internationalisation began to be more and more tangibly felt in the streets in Finland, too. Conflicts between Finns and immigrants appeared in the headlines. There was a growing need for fostering tolerance and preventing discrimination. It became the task of global education to enhance intercultural understanding … and to foster awareness of one’s prejudices and change attitudes.
Finland has had relatively little experience as a host country for migrants [and immigrants], and this is perhaps one explanation for the dominance of rather negative views of migration among Finns, whereby internationalisation and migration have been seen as a threat to national culture.
5.2. The Issues with Human Rights Education
Current and societal ethical questions are discussed in the teaching and learning. These include ecosocial knowledge and ability … and the role of religions in building peace in the society and the world. The ethics of the studied religion and other religions and worldviews as well as the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights are emphasised in the contents. Human rights violations … are also examined.
The right of the child to participate is a question of children’s right to express their opinion and be genuinely heard in all matters concerning them according to their age and level of maturity, of children’s right to seek, obtain and supply information, and of children’s right to express themselves.(MFA 2009, p. 29) (emphasis original)
5.3. On Critical Thinking, Reflective Judgment and Dialogic Education
In teaching and learning, the pupils familiarise themselves with ethical thinking in the studied religion and in other religions, and they are encouraged in personal reflection on ethical questions … The instruction provides the pupil with elements for building and evaluating his or her … personal view of life and worldview.
6. Summary, Discussion and Advancement
7. Limitations and Future Research Directions
Conflicts of Interest
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Meanwhile, the debates relating to the impact of religion on citizenship vis-à-vis non-secularization, secularization and post-secularization are not the main concerns of this paper.
Note that minimal and maximal citizenship are not necessarily opposite to each other (see more below).
Young people between the ages of 13 and 15 are usually expected to be in grades 7–9 of Finnish basic education. Note that Finnish basic education is compulsory, and it begins when the child turns seven. (See section 25 of the Basic Education Act 628/1998; Amendments up to 1136/2010 in (Finland 2010).
The distinctive characteristics of the “critical” elements in maximal citizenship will be discussed in more detail below.
The approach to mono-religious education offered in each of these countries (i.e., Sweden, Norway and Denmark) has its unique elements. However, the comparison and details of such uniqueness are not within the purview of this case study. (See below for more details on the “Limitations and Future Research Directions” of this study).
He was the country’s Minister of Justice from early May 2017 to early June 2019.
The idea of good citizenship could vary from one person/society/country to another (cf. Fouts and Lee 2005, pp. 32–33).
Ordinarily, the use of a “comparative method” in designing a case study is a must for a single study that combines several cases (Gerring 2007, p. 27). Similarly, a comparison of the RE of different countries would be inevitable in any study that employs “comparative design” as its research design. In such instance, two or more contrasting cases are usually studied from a comparative perspective. The belief here is that social phenomena are better understood when two or more meaningfully contrasting cases or situations are compared (Bryman 2004, p. 53). However, such a comparison is not relevant to this case research.
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