Education for Democracy: A Paper Promise? The Democratic Deficit in Finnish Educational Culture


  • Matti Rautiainen
  • Pekka Räihä



This article presents one way of changing the participatory culture of training teachers – the Critical Integrative Teacher Education (CITE) programme now being implemented at Jyväskylä University. For the last ten years the Finnish school system has been the centre of considerable international attention because of its success in PISA. The Finnish school, however, has two faces. In the shadow of those good learning outcomes there lurks a democratic deficit in school and a lack of school wellbeing amongst children. This article examines the nature of the Finnish school and teacher education from the perspective of democracy. If participatory culture in Finnish schools is restricted, then the same also applies to teacher education. The long tradition of education as well as the radical school democracy experiment in the early 1970s resulted in the neutralization of teacher education and the removal of politics and politicality. This led to a teacher education with the emphasis on didactics and psychology but with a social viewpoint conspicuous by its absence. Even though the system offers opportunities to implement even radically different training methods, there is little that is done differently.


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