Knowledge on the Nordics

Sweden: Uncovering Nordic Education and Society with Janne Holmén

February 12, 2021 Janne Holmén Season 3 Episode 2
Knowledge on the Nordics
Sweden: Uncovering Nordic Education and Society with Janne Holmén
Show Notes Chapter Markers

This podcast tackles a wide-range of factors about the educational systems of the Nordic countries, focusing primarily on Sweden and comparisons with Finland. On the way, it answers the following questions: 

  • Why does the Finnish education system have such a good reputation around the world? 
  • After decades of reform, is the Swedish education system in crisis? 
  • How does decision-making and the politics around education in Finland and Sweden differ and how is it similar? 
  •  What role do schools and teachers play in the creation of our 'mental maps'? A term usually used by cultural geographers, mental maps encompass many different dimensions of our world view: from an awareness of our country and region’s place in the world, to our view of history and where we sit on an imaginary timeline.
  • How is all of this influenced by national politicians and institutional systems, and even the international dimension? 

Join the editor of nordics.info, Nicola Witcombe, on her virtual visit around the Nordic countries, this time to Janne Holmén, Associate Professor in the Department of Education at Uppsala University to discover the answer to these questions. Janne is from the Åland Islands and this has influenced his research interests.

This podcast was recorded in February 2021 and is the second in the series: The Nordics Uncovered: Critical Voices from the Region. The third in the series is an interview with Elisabeth Staksrud, Professor in the Department of Education and Media at Oslo University in Norway. She will be talking about childhood in the Nordics and the online lives of children and young people.

Sound credits from freesound.org including school break noise outdoor.wav by Libra222.


How do the institutional differences between Sweden and Finland affect schools?
Are Finnish schools so successful due to lack of government interference?
Why are the Nordic countries useful to study when it comes to schools?
A geopolitical world view from the Åland Islands and through text books
How are mental maps or world views formed in the minds of young people?
Education as a way of creating good citizens of the welfare state & changing policy depending on which party is in government
Stefán Ólafsson's question: What do Swedes think about not being at the top of e.g. equality rankings any more?