A1 Journal article (refereed)
‘Human rights and democracy are not self-evident’ : Finnish student teachers’ perceptions on democracy and human rights education (2021)

Kasa, T., Rautiainen, M., Malama, M., & Kallioniemi, A. (2021). ‘Human rights and democracy are not self-evident’ : Finnish student teachers’ perceptions on democracy and human rights education. Human Rights Education Review, 4(2), 69-84. https://doi.org/10.7577/hrer.3937

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsKasa, Tuija; Rautiainen, Matti; Malama, Mia; Kallioniemi, Arto

Journal or seriesHuman Rights Education Review


Publication year2021

Publication date12/05/2021


Issue number2

Pages range69-84

PublisherUniversity of South-Eastern Norway

Publication countryNorway

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessOpenly available

Publication channel open accessOpen Access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/75834


This article discusses democracy and human rights education (DHRE) in Finnish teacher education, drawing on existing literature, curricula and a survey of student teachers’ perceptions. Earlier studies suggested that DHRE in Finnish teacher education is unsystematic, implicit, and dependent on the teacher’s individual interests. These studies highlight a sense of national exceptionalism, where DHRE is assumed to be self-evident. In 2019, we conducted a survey of student teachers (n=300) in one university. Data content analysis reveals that student teachers now see DHRE as relevant and timely, and by no means self-evident. Student teachers believe that DHRE needs to be explicit and part of their professional education. Although the Finnish national curriculum addresses DHRE explicitly, there is a lack of implementation and explicit DHRE teacher education. We contend that the data reflects societal change, and that the notion that democracy and human rights are self-evident needs to be challenged in Finland.

Keywordshuman rightsdemocracycitizenship educationteachersteacher trainingcontent analysis

Free keywordshuman rights education; democracy education; teacher education; student teachers; content analysis

Contributing organizations

Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2021

JUFO rating1

Last updated on 2024-22-04 at 16:47