Living Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Educational Philosophy and Theory

pp 1-6

Date: Latest Version

Adult and Continuing Education in the Nordic Countries: Folkbildning


Adult education; Character formation; Civic education; Emancipation; Popular education; Social movements

Introducing Folkbildning

This entry discusses the Nordic variety of nonformal adult education or popular education. These English terms emphasize different aspects of this Nordic tradition. It is education for adults, including young adults. Unlike the formal school system, it is not bound by a set curriculum; it is therefore more flexible in its capacity to reflect changes in society. Furthermore, it is entirely elective. Although nonformal adult education is the term most commonly used in referring to this form of education in English, popular education captures a salient feature in much of this tradition; it is typically geared particularly to those with little education or low social status. It aims to be not only for the people but also by the people; it is the people taking the education of themselves and their fellow men into their own hands.

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