New Funding: ”Multilingual and intercultural education within teacher education and the comprehensive school in Finland and Sweden”

JustEd members Gunilla Holm, Fritjof Sahlström and Anna Slotte-Lüttge from University of Helsinki have received a three-year grant from the University of Helsinki as part of its strategic funding for developing research collaboration with the University of Stockholm. The comparative research is done in collaboration with researchers from the Department of Language Education and the Department of Swedish Language and Multilingualism at the University of Stockholm. This project will focus on how multilingual and intercultural education is expressed and made visible in teacher education and the comprehensive school in Finland and Sweden. The project will analyze how teacher educators and school teachers understand the expectations and norms expressed in policy documents with regard to both their own preparedness to work in multilingual and multicultural contexts as well as the existing differences in this area between Finland and Sweden.

Doctoral dissertation on Minority Religious Education

Harriet Zilliacus, member of JustEd team 5, successfully defended her doctoral thesis on 12 December 2014 at the University of Helsinki. The dissertation “Supporting Students Identities and Inclusion in Minority Religious and Secular Ethics Education: A Study on Plurality in the Finnish Comprehensive School” explores how education in minority religions and secular ethics supports students identities and inclusion in the Finnish comprehensive school.

The study offers an insight into the Finnish model of religious education in comprehensive school, where students are divided to the Lutheran majority religion classes, different minority religion classes, and secular ethics classes according to their religious affiliation or non-affiliation. The findings of this study indicate that the current system of religious education supports students’ identities within a given tradition. However, it does not always take into account the plurality and the students’ multifaceted identities. The findings of this study indicate that religious education needs to be developed so that it could meet the challenges in the educational context and view students’ identities as open to change and individual development.

The dissertation is available online at