The Curriculum as a Governing Instrument – A Comparative Study of Finland and Norway

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Mølstad, Christina Elde ; Hansén, Sven-Erik (2013)
  • Publisher: Education Inquiry
  • Journal: Education Inquiry (issn: 2000-4508)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.3402/edui.v4i4.23219
  • Subject: curriculum; governing instrument; Norway; Finland; comparative research

Traditionally, the Nordic curriculum has been viewed as a document with school subjects in focus. This article reports on how two national curricula function as instruments for governing education and explores the possible differences in how national curricula govern education. This investigation was carried out by researching curricula for compulsory schools in Norway (2006) and Finland (2004). In Norway, the governing that emphasises output mechanisms is compared to Finland where the governing is distributed in a more intricate manner at three identified levels. All three levels in the hierarchical legal levels (Act, Regulation and circular letters) are directly activated in the formal rule system, whereas only the two first levels, as part of the formal rule system, are used within the Finnish curriculum decision-making structure. A second finding is that a consequence of the use of the formal rule system is that, at the higher level of the legal status, legitimacy is acquired through a process of essential voices being heard in the process of creating the curricula. Unlike the Finnish curriculum, the Norwegian curriculum does not have the same level of democratic procedures behind it concerning consultation over the content.Keywords: curriculum, governing instrument, Norway, Finland, comparative research(Published: 06 December 2013)Citation: Education Inquiry (EDUI) 2013, 4, 23219,
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