Making Sense of the Financial Crisis in Economic Education: An Analysis of the Upper Secondary School Social Studies Teaching in Finland in the 2010’s


  • Jan Lofstrom
  • Marko van den Berg



The current financial-economic crisis has actualized important issues regarding the dynamics of the economic system, the relations between economy and politics, and the notions of good society. Thus the question of how economic education in school can support students’ understanding of the crisis is relevant to pose. This article asks what are the strengths and weaknesses, and also the promises and challenges, in the Finnish upper secondary school economic education, concerning teaching about the crisis? The article analyses the core curriculum for upper secondary school economic education in Finland, the available upper secondary school economy textbooks, and a selection of students’ social studies exam papers in the matriculation examination in spring 2010. The focus of the analysis is on how the current financial-economic crisis is presented in the textbooks and in the exam papers, what the competences are that the core curriculum delineates economic education should develope in students, and what capacity Finnish social studies teachers have for teaching about economy. The article proposes that the presence of historical perspectives and political analyses in economic education are important, in particular when teaching about topics like the current financial-economic crises.

Author Biographies

Jan Lofstrom

University Lecturer, Dozent

Department of Teacher Education

University of Helsinki

Marko van den Berg

Normal Lyceum
University of Helsinki

Senior lecturer, Dozent






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