Religious Education and Tolerance in the Changing Finnish Society

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This article looks at Finnish 9th grade pupils' (15-16 year-olds) perceptions on Religious Education, and their tolerance towards worldview plurality in the changing Finnish society. Finland is an interesting example of a European country which has traditionally been perceived as homogenous in terms of its cultural and religious landscape, and which has during the recent years become increasingly multicultural and pluralistic. The societal changes have also altered the children and young people's everyday environment in many ways: diversity and pluralism are accustomed parts of the every-day life for many. In terms of Religious Education in Finnish schools, which includes a rather distinctive model based on teaching groups according to the pupils' 'own' religion, the increasing worldview diversity also poses some new questions. These are related for example to supporting children affiliated with minority religions in their identity construction, and immigrant background children's integration to the Finnish society on one hand; and supporting dialogue on worldviews between pupils from different backgrounds on the other. The Finnish REDCo data were gathered during autumn 2012. The survey questionnaire was answered by 406 pupils. Additionally, 37 pupils participated in an interview for more in-depth data on the same themes. Thus, the present analysis combines quantitative and qualitative analyses in presenting the Finnish pupils' perceptions on these themes.
Original languageEnglish
JournalReligious Education Journal of Australia
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)18-24
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2015
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 516 Educational sciences

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