Dr Suzanne Wiborg is a Reader in Education at the Institute of Education, University College London, where she coordinates the Masters programme in Comparative Education. She has published several articles in peer-reviewed journals, and is author of Education and Social Integration. Comprehensive Schooling in Europe (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2009), and co-editor with T.M Moe of The Comparative Politics of Education. Teacher Unions and Education Systems Around the World (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017).
This lecture will discuss how the comparative case-oriented method can be used in the study of the uneven development of comprehensive education in Europe. The Scandinavian countries (the main focus in this lecture) developed non-selective, integrated school systems for nearly all pupils (6-16 years of age) during the period of 1850s – 1990s in striking contrast to, for example, England where comprehensive education was only partially introduced (1960s and 1970s) and in Germany where it completely failed. The purpose of this lecture is to illustrate step by step how to develop a comparative mid-range theory on the basis of these similar (Scandinavia) and contrasting (England and Germany) cases. Case selection, major outcomes, causal analysis, processes over time, and the use of systematic and contextualized comparisons, which are central issues in the development of a comparative theory, will be discussed.
This lecture will examine why and how the Nordic countries made a break with the ‘social democratic’ welfare state traditions of strong state control in order to pave the way for neoliberal policies on education. The edifice of the education systems in these countries was traditionally built on strong egalitarian values, but over the last thirty years they have, for instance, introduced school choice and increased the private school sector. However, the extent to which neo-liberal policies on education have been introduced varies strongly between the Nordic countries. Finland and Norway have remained much more hostile to toward neo-liberal policies than in Denmark and Sweden where such policies, even with the support of the social democrats, have been pursued more radically. This has, for example, resulted in a remarkably large state-supported independent Free School sector in Sweden. This lecture will discuss the variations of neo-liberal policies on education across the Nordic countries and some of the reasons behind these.