© 2014

The Nordic Education Model

'A School for All' Encounters Neo-Liberal Policy

  • Ulf Blossing
  • Gunn Imsen
  • Lejf Moos
  • Examines the conflict between the traditional School for all model and more recent neo-liberal policies

  • Shows that neo-liberal technologies affect the Nordic model in different ways

  • Describes, analyzes and discusses a Nordic vision in relation to international trends


Part of the Policy Implications of Research in Education book series (PIRE, volume 1)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvi
  2. Ulf Blossing, Gunn Imsen, Lejf Moos
    Pages 1-14
  3. Country Cases

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 15-15
    2. Ulf Blossing, Åsa Söderström
      Pages 17-34
    3. Annette Rasmussen, Lejf Moos
      Pages 57-75
    4. Sirkka Ahonen
      Pages 77-93
    5. Anna Kristín Sigurðardóttir, Hafdís Guðjónsdóttir, Jóhanna Karlsdóttir
      Pages 95-113
  4. Thematic Chapters

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 115-115
    2. Ulf Blossing, Gunn Imsen, Lejf Moos
      Pages 133-154
    3. Anne Nevøy, Annette Rasmussen, Stein Erik Ohna, Thomas Barow
      Pages 191-210
    4. Trond Buland, Ida Holth Mathiesen
      Pages 211-230
    5. Ulf Blossing, Gunn Imsen, Lejf Moos
      Pages 231-239
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 241-244

About this book


This book presents a detailed analysis of the educational model in Nordic European countries. It describes the traditional idea of education for all, which can be characterized by the right for every child to have an education of equal quality in a common school for all pupils regardless of social class, abilities, gender, or ethnicity.  

Against this background, The Nordic Education Model traces the rise of neo-liberal policies that have been enacted by those who believe the School for All ideology does not produce the knowledge and skills that students need to succeed in an increasingly competitive and global marketplace. It examines the conflict between these two ideas and shows how neo-liberal technologies affect the Nordic model in different ways.

The authors also show how social technologies are being interpreted in different ways in actual school practices. This process of translating national regulations into internal sense builds on the values in the culture to which they are introduced.

In the end, this book reveals that a Nordic model can constitute a delicate balance between traditional values, institutionalized practices, and contemporary, neo-liberal forms of governance and policies. It may be argued from a new institutional perspective that the main structures of the Nordic educational model will sustain as long as the deeply rooted Nordic culture survives in the globalised society.


Aims of education policies Comprehensive school system Democratic reasons for schooling Education as a public good Education as an individual asset Education for all Egalitarian philosophy Equality of school opportunities Equity of Education Ideology of equality Inclusion Moral idea of democracy Neo-liberal education policy Nordic educational ideology Privatisation of education Reducing social class differences School for all School reform Traditional school structures

Editors and affiliations

  • Ulf Blossing
    • 1
  • Gunn Imsen
    • 2
  • Lejf Moos
    • 3
  1. 1.University of GothenburgGothenburgSweden
  2. 2.Department of EducationNorwegian University of Science and TechTrondheimNorway
  3. 3.Danish School of EducationUniversity of AarhusCopenhagen NVDenmark

Bibliographic information