Linguistic Issues, Language Rights and Plurilinguistic Education: How Have the Finnish Educational Policy Reforms Affected the Swedish-speaking Finns?



Ekvall, Nicole Victoria Susanne

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Linguistic issues are likely to occur in countries with more than one official language. This is also the case in Finland, a country with two national languages (Finnish and Swedish). Even though Finland is a proponent of language rights and multilingualism, it experiences linguistic issues as its language climate has been deteriorating over the past decades. Hence, this study conducts a policy analysis of how the Finnish educational policy reforms of 1968, 2004, and 2012, have affected the Swedish-speaking Finns, to shed light on how Finland is doing when it comes to respecting and enforcing the language rights of its Swedish-speaking minority. The educational policies under study are all connected to the linguistic issue in Finland as they regulate the compulsory Swedish-language subject in Finnish-speaking schools. This thesis argues that education is key to mastering a language and Finland should promote educational policies that enforce a plurilinguistic education in the comprehensive school, in order to remain a bilingual country. In addition, these types of educational policies create the possibility of a healthy language climate that allows for socio-cultural diversity in a multilingual society.



Linguistic issues, Pluralinguistic education, Swedish-speaking Finns, Language rights, Educational policy, Finland