John Dewey and Entrepreneurship in School-A Swedish Case

Eva-Lena Lindster Norberg


Progressive education, with its purpose of educating young people to become democratic citizens, has influenced the Swedish educational system for many years. Critical voices have been raised, claiming that progressive education has diminished Swedish pupils’ results. Since 2011, when entrepreneurship as a concept and as a pedagogical approach was instituted in Swedish curricula, the debate has emerged again. In this case, however, the problem was with the pedagogical ideas of the entrepreneurship in school. Critical voices claim that entrepreneurship is a part of the neoliberal agenda and that the language of progressive education has been appropriated and misused in order to create productive citizens who will maintain the capitalist state. This article is written from the perspective of pupils in an upper secondary school, illuminating and problematizing the sense in which the entrepreneurship in school can be said to be progressive in the spirit of John Dewey. The result shows that the entrepreneurship in school contains many similarities with the ideas of progressive education, especially in the way that pupils work and take part in activities. However, the lack of pupils who talk about learning to improve future society or to develop democracy is obvious. Thus, even if working methods seem to be equal, the overall educational goals are different. The goal of entrepreneurship in school is to educate young people to become independent, innovative individuals but in that education mission, there is a risk that democratic values are neglected.

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Copyright (c) 2015 Eva-Lena Lindster Norberg

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Journal of Education and Training      ISSN 2330-9709

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