May 16, 2021

Controversy in Norway for the exclusion of the Holocaust in the curriculum | Culture

Controversy in Norway for the exclusion of the Holocaust in the curriculum | Culture

Renewing the curriculum in Norway has become the subject of controversy. Last week the left-wing newspaper Klassekampen The news about the exclusion of the Holocaust and the Second World War was advancing in the draft prepared by the conservative government of Erna Solberg to reform primary and secondary education. The "Fagnynyelsen", the project that aims to innovate the education of young Norwegians in 2019, focuses on content that is "relevant to the future", say its responsible.

One of the subjects that will suffer the most losses corresponds to the social sciences, especially history, which recedes in favor of subjects with a contemporary perspective. As a result of this modification, the mention of historical events such as the Second Great War, during which Germany will disappear, will disappear. it invaded the country and governed it through a military administration and a government of like-minded Norwegians. "The Holocaust and the Second World War must have a completely natural place in the school curriculum. It is unthinkable to present a curriculum in 2018 without including the biggest civil conflict of our time, "lamented the Norwegian newspaper Ervin Kohn, president of the Jewish community in Oslo.

Irene Trysnes, associate professor of Social Sciences at the University of Agder, co-author of a letter of protest against the draft in which several university professors criticize the new curriculum in social sciences in which, they maintain, "both the history and the geographical aspects are at risk of disappearing". "Some objectives are very specific, while others are more vague. It is emphasized that the students will learn the history of the Sami, but there is nothing about the Second World War and the Holocaust, "the Agder researchers emphasize in the letter.

"The new curricula are not very concerned about how the past has influenced the present, when they emphasize values ​​such as tolerance and democracy. If we understand the current moment, we must also understand how it has been throughout history, "observed Professor Trysnes in Klassekampen.

The leader of the Norwegian Union of Education, Steffen Handal, feared that the curricula were so confusing that teachers could no longer find support in them. "It is difficult for a society to accept that one of the greatest conflicts of civilization in history should not be addressed in school," Handal said.

The news has sparked a social debate. The opposition parties ask the Solberg government to quit. In the networks, politicians such as Labor and historian Anniken Huitfeld, former Minister of Labor, Culture and Equality in the governments of Jens Stoltenberg, who expressed opposition to the measure through Twitter: "It is a serious omission if the Holocaust is not mentioned in the school curriculum. "

However, some critics of the academic and political world point out that neither the Holocaust nor the Second World War were mentioned explicitly in the curricula since the educational reform of 1994, during the last term of the labor activist Gro Brundtland. "The Second World War and the Holocaust are also not explicitly mentioned in current curricula, although these historical contents are much more extensive than in the new drafts. Norwegian teachers are very competent, and I am not worried about World War II falling out of teaching in Norwegian schools. But we must not forget that textbooks are based on the objectives of knowledge, and it is natural to think that the most concrete objectives will also have the greatest importance in the development of new teaching materials, "Professor Trydnes told Klassekampen.


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