Europe III - Group Page

NORTHERN EUROPENorway, Finland, Sweden
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Poland, Denmark, Netherlands

Introduction
The countries in this group were all located in Northern Europe, apart from Poland (Eastern Europe) and the Netherlands (Western Europe). But they were all geographically and relatively close to each other. The Northern European countries all share borders, which may automatically suggest that they are more similar. This is because countries that share physical borders tend to have a blend of each others' cultures on both sides of the border. Though Poland and the Netherlands do not share borders with any of the countries in the group there may still be some similarities amongst them, but this definitely suggests that there will be far more differences.

Comparison/Contrast
Denmark, Norway, Netherlands and Sweden all have a parliamentary system of government with a constitutional monarchy. Poland and Finland are both Republics without monarchs and headed by presidents. The system of government within the countries may affect the amount of funding there is towards arts education. It was interesting to find that in our research, we found that the countries with a parliamentary system of government all had a lot of state funding from the government and were able to depend on the Ministry of Culture or Education for support of their programs. However, in the republics such as Finland and Poland, there was less of an emphasis on arts education. The priority towards arts education funding was not as high for the republics.

Another interesting correlation with the same basis as the last was that the teacher training programs and their inclusions of the arts were also related to the system of government. As before, countries with parliamentary system of governments in our group showed some inclusion of the arts in teacher education. For example, in Norway, there is the requirement of taking arts classes in order to become a teacher. In Denmark there is the fulfillment of the criteria of being instructed in the arts and creativity to be a successful teacher. In Sweden there is involvement with technology. However, in Poland and Finland, teachers are educated mainly in the maths and sciences. Again, there is a lower priority towards arts education for even teachers in these countries.

One similarity amongst all of the countries is that they all have successful arts organizations that share a similar mission. The goal to spread the arts and creativity amongst the community and to enrich the culture with an appropriate blend of the arts is common amongst all the organizations that we researched.

Conclusion

Given the system of governments that are common to the countries of the group, there seems to be a similar attitude towards arts education with each of the types of governments. With the parliamentary system, arts education is a relevant concern. There is adequate funding of the arts in schools and there is an appropriate amount of inclusion of arts in the education of teachers. However in the republics, there is less of a priority towards the arts, and though there may be a rich culture with a heavy blend of the arts, there is little attention to the importance of arts education. It was surprising to see the correlation of the system of governments with their respective attitudes. The United States being a republic itself, we assumed that there would be more of an emphasis. But realizing the similarities between the way arts are implemented in schools, and how they are not a part of the core curriculum, reminded us more of the United States. It is interesting to learn that the government plays such an important role in arts education.



By: Dushyant Barpaga, Shawna McGee, Casey Koch, Shelby Pierce, Stacy Isbell