Conditions for High Civic Knowledge and Participation in Norwegian Schools

  • Rolf Mikkelsen

Abstract

The Norwegian students in the Civic Education study are doing very well in civic knowledge, skills, attitudes and concepts. Despite this documented democratic awareness the student's score is below international average on interest in politics and conventional participation. On the other hand the 14 year olds carry an important willingness to vote as adults, they have a high level of trust in their government and they want to participate in the school society. The paper discusses the question how these Norwegian findings can be explained, and wheather or not are the school system and school activities are part of the explanation. The paper illustrates the strategies for teaching an learning democracy in Norwegian Schools. The "about-perspective" means to teach the students about democracy und die "through-perspective" means teaching and learning through democracy. Using examples this paper shows, that school is one of the institutions who most explicit prepare young people for their role as citizens, that is as participators in democratic political activity. The comparison between Norwegian 14 year olds and 18 year olds shows improvements closely connected to student's years in school. The about-perspective seems well taken care of by schools, teachers and students. This integrative school-system in connection with the open classroom climate seems to be a condition for attractive democratic attitudes.
Published
2003-08-25
Section
Article