How to Create Sustainable Nonviolence Curriculum in Public Schools in Sweden: A Case Study

How to Create Sustainable Nonviolence Curriculum in Public Schools in Sweden: A Case Study

Giuseppina Wright (California State University – Dominguez Hills, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2209-6.ch009
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Author argues the urgent need for nonviolence training and the contemporary challenges of implementing such plans. Furthermore, chapter briefly discusses the eruptions of violence and experienced in Europe, along with innovative ways to educate all stakeholders. In addition, the chapter includes a case study of a Swedish school, with research of contemporary nonviolence training and curriculum. The chapter will benefit a variety of entities and organizations, such as educators in public school systems and governmental organizations. Findings suggest a growing concern amongst educators, students and parents due to escalating threats and acts of violence in school settings. Moreover, findings indicate partial integration of sustainable nonviolence curriculum into some Swedish schools. Author proposes to integrate and implement nonviolence training into the Swedish public school system as nationally mandated integrated subjects. Further research suggests additional research conducted to measure qualitative and quantitative results nonviolence curriculum and training.
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According the Swedish Institute, Swedish population grew by more than 100,000 in 2014, mostly as a result of record high immigration, with approximately 127,000 immigrants and refugees entering Sweden. Out of the 127,000 immigrants, 80,000 were asylum seekers with the three largest groups being Syrians, Eritreans and people with no state (so called stateless people) (Swedish Institute, 2016). Stateless people are people with undetermined nationalities or citizenships caused by the dissolution of a country or a union, such as the Soviet Union, Eastern European countries (especially Yugoslavia) and Baltic nations. Examples of stateless people are the Roma, and former citizens of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia that were unable to regain citizenship in the newly founded nations due to changes in nationality laws and neutralization processes (UN Refugee Agency, 2016). Typically, refugees are seeking asylum due to wars and political upheaval in their respective countries, however Eritreans are seeking refuge in Sweden and Europe due to gross human rights violations, torture and abuse recognized by Amnesty International due to political and religious opposition to the Eritrean government (O’Doud, 2015). The unprecedented influx of asylum seekers from countries such as Syria, Eritrea, Somalia and Iraq has created a strain on the resources offered in Sweden, specifically the educational system.

To better appreciate the chapter, a brief introduction of Sweden is provided. Sweden is a country of approximately nine million people, of which 15 percent are born outside Sweden; resulting in a multicultural nation inclusive of religions such as Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism. It is a country where the inhabitants may choose and practice their own religion, political affiliation and experience gender fairness, with no fear of oppression or persecution. Sweden is a member of the European Union, and is a parliamentary democracy with a multi-party government. Moreover, Sweden is a modern monarchy that serves as the country’s representation in ceremonies and events. The monarchy, however, has no political power. (Swedish Institute, 2016). The majority of Sweden’s population, approximately 85 percent, is living in cities, has multicultural influences, and manages to balance high-tech industries with integral value systems of sustainability and environment.

In a country like Sweden, public funds such as direct taxes, value added taxes and payroll taxes account for the main funding base for public programs such as education and health. Ruist published a study establishing Sweden as a relatively small country, with less than 20 percent of the total population of the European Union; however, Sweden accepted an estimated 22 percent of all European refugee asylum claims in 2013. Hence, the strain on the educational system is apparent, with 1.35 percent of Sweden’s GDP representing net annual cost of refugees in 2015 (Ruist, 2015). A large portion of the net annual cost estimate is linked with extensive and lengthy integration time, such as acquiring Swedish language skills, general education and subsequent work placement. Thus, public education plays a large part in the assimilation and integration process.

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