London Metropolitan University Research Institutes

Can schools educate for democracy?

Author(s) Monsen, L:  
Publisher CiCe Publications  
Year 2003  
Editor Europe of Many Cultures, Alastair Ross Ed.  
Language English  
Age group -  
The first experiments with pupil participation in schools as places for democratic learning began in the 1920s when Hareide (1972) convened the first council for pupils. This idea spread to many other upper secondary schools in Norway, and after the second world war most such schools had councils. During the war there was cooperation between the different political factions in the resistance movement, rather than class struggle, and it may be that this gave Norwegians a lesson in democratic cooperation. These sentiments made a great impression in the years after the war. All political parties agreed on the importance of using schools as places for democratic learning, and the school council became a permanent part of upper secondary education. Although in some schools the councils became, as intended, a place for debates and decision-making, in most schools they occupied a more modest place in the lives of most pupils.

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