Education is always a hot topic in political debate. This is because education and pedagogy are a central societal issue. A society’s education reflects its ideas about the present and the future. What should children learn in school? How does a pedagogy view children? What is most important for young people to learn? What role should universities play in society? And what training should there be for adults? All of these questions and more lie at the heart of a society’s most important challenges, such as employment, inequality, climate and welfare.
In this course we address education and pedagogy as something that is socially determined and as something that affects our society. It is about the current and the historical conditions of education and how education and pedagogy are always the subject of political power. Classroom discussions will engage both critically and constructively both with education as it is broadly understood, and also with a special focus on education practices in a Scandinavian welfare state. You will learn about the characteristics and dynamics of the welfare state and how it impacts education, individualization, and socialization in Denmark as well as how the field of education is thought about and managed politically in Scandinavia. We will analyze the political dimensions of education policy by looking to the role of national political actors and new policy initiatives and reforms to understand how they shape conditions for education, learning and pedagogy from primary through secondary and to higher educational institutions. Put together, you will come away from this course with an understanding of major positions and arguments in today’s current educational policy developments within Scandinavia, America, and beyond.