As provided by Finnish law, the aim of compulsory schooling is to secure adequate equity in education throughout the country. In recent years, however, there have been signs that music education in primary schools may not be living up to the aim of equity (Suomi 2019; Vesioja 2006). The concern about music education provision in grades 1–6 is shared by many countries around the world. In this study, we examined the variation in how teachers (N = 133) experience their ability to support pupils in realising the objectives for music eduction in the national curriculum and how principals (N = 82) describe the organisation of music education in their schools. Data was generated through an online survey in Swedish-speaking primary schools in Finland and analysed with both quantitative and qualitative methods (descriptive statistics, analysis of variance, regression analysis, qualitative content analysis). The findings suggest that there is a wide and significant variation in how the music curriculum is realised across primary schools and classrooms. About a third of the variance could be attributed to the following predictors (in descending order of importance): the teacher has good knowledge of the national curriculum for music; the teacher has taken singing lessons in addition to formal teacher education (for grades 1–2); the teacher has participated in ensemble, band or orchestra courses in addition to formal teacher education (for grades 3–6); there are sufficient resources for music education in the school; and the teacher has studied music in the liberal adult education system (for grades 1–2). We conclude that the national aim of equity in education is currently not realised with regard to music education in Swedish-speaking primary schools in Finland and suggest that the responsibility for improving the situation needs to be shared between institutions for teacher education, national and municipal policy-makers, school leaders, individual teachers, and teacher teams.
|Issue number||1 & 2|
|Publication status||Published - 2019|
|MoE publication type||A1 Journal article-refereed|
- primary schools
- Educational equity
- music education