The building of democracy starts in schools

The report highlights the importance of maintaining and developing a strong democratic culture that protects freedom of expression and source critique, respect for fellow human beings, empathy, and active citizenship. The report emphasises in particular the role of education in these efforts. For us in the Nordics, democracy is not only a political structure, but a way of life that requires ongoing commitment, dialogue, and participation. 

“The issues that the DIS network is working on are highly relevant. Worrying global trends are also affecting us here in the Nordics through the increased spread of propaganda and disinformation. As our common Nordic democratic values are challenged, education plays an important role. Through the DIS network, we can share our knowledge and experience, and together become better equipped to overcome the challenges we face,” says Marlene Giertz, chair of the DIS network and departmental secretary at the Swedish Ministry of Education and Research.

Through the DIS network, Nordic co-operation has gathered knowledge and best practice that helps it to strengthen educational efforts around democracy and human rights, as well as to counter social marginalisation, extremism, and religious discrimination. 

These issues relate to the schools’ operating culture, management, and teacher expertise, as well as the students’ opportunities to involve themselves in democratic processes and have influence over their own day-to-day lives. 

The aim is to bolster collective understanding and support for democratic values, while also celebrating and showing respect for our cultural diversity. 

Vision 2030 for Nordic co-operation states that we must work to achieve a socially sustainable Nordic Region. We believe that a society with strong democracy and where each citizen feels valued and included does materialise by itself. It has to be created each and every day. Nordic policy co-operation via the DIS network is an important part of this work.