Projektdetaljer

Beskrivelse

The core idea of this project is to theorise and analyse how the increasing involvement of private foundations in the field of education changes public schooling. During the last decade, private foundations have taken up an increasingly central role in sponsoring projects and programs across all levels of public education in Denmark. Reflecting a global trend toward private sector participation in public education (Erfurth & Ridge, 2021), donations from private foundations to Danish public education have grown from DKK 544 million in 2016 to DKK 1.328 million in 2020 (Danmarks Statistik 2022). While some donations come in the form of money to projects formulated by schools or municipalities themselves, recent years have seen private foundations take a more proactive role in shaping and developing projects, teaching materials, digital platforms, know-how, and partnerships. A pertinent example of this shift is the Novo Nordisk foundation’s LIFE, a “nationwide science education initiative”, channeling DKK 1.9 billion into improving science education in public schooling over a ten-year period (Novo Nordisk 2022). From the foundation’s LIFE Campus in Lyngby, LIFE presently has around 120 employees who facilitate, teach and develop lessons for science instruction in schools. In 2023, four regional laboratories will open, and five trucks with fully equipped laboratories will drive around offering high-end science equipment and lessons to Danish schools (LIFE 2022). Considering this and other examples of proactive private sector involvement, this project sets out to scrutinize the growing yet surprisingly underexplored engagement of private foundations in Danish public education.
We ask: How does the engagement of private foundations reconfigure conditions for public schooling?
The research question will be answered through four subprojects engaging two shared cases: Lego and Novo Nordisk/LIFE. The first two subprojects will examine how private foundations enter and reconfigure the field of education and what rationalities, global networks, new forms of knowledge and new forms of “private politics” they introduce. The two latter subprojects will focus on the impact of private sector engagement and activities on educational professionalism.

Relevance. Given the foundations’ involvement in up-front experimental work across the entire educational continuum from educational research, teacher training and resourcing, software and tech, curriculum and publishing, to school development and classroom instruction (Rowe, 2021; Williamson 2018, Williamson et al. 2019), the project creates a window to explore the status and future direction of public schooling. Moreover, as important, it encompasses crucial democratic issues pertaining to how the strategies and projects of contemporary private foundations may relocate public discussions of schooling and educational professionalism from political arenas into the boards and campuses of private actors. The project aims at providing knowledge that can enable democratic debate about the changes and displacements the involvement of private foundations create in public schools regarding purpose, educational professionalism and education governance.

Lægmandssprog

AP/Møller Mærsk gav en milliard til folkeskolen, Legofonden støtter legende læring i ind- og udland, og senest har Novo Nordisk fonden doneret 1,2 milliarder til naturfagsundervisning i folkeskolen. Hvor folkeskolen tidligere blev drevet og udviklet gennem pædagogiske og politiske diskussioner blandt lærere og forskere, forældre, kommunalpolitikere, embedsmænd og folketingspolitikere, så
suppleres de diskussioner nu af fondenes målformuleringer, eksperter, materialer og partnerskaber. Man finder Playlabs skabt i samarbejde med Lego på læreruddannelserne, og fra 2023 kører lastbiler med fuldt udrustede laboratorier ud fra Novo Nordisk/LIFE i Lyngby til landets folkeskoler for at bidrage til elevernes viden om og fascination af naturvidenskab. Der er god brug
for ressourcerne og den engagerende inspiration modtages med åbenhed fra skolerne. Selvom det både er store beløb og professionelle indsatser, som tilflyder folkeskole, læreruddannelse og uddannelsesforskning fra de private fonde i disse år, er fondenes direkte og indirekte betydning for folkeskolen stort set uudforsket. Dette projekt undersøger, hvad der sker med betingelserne for
folkeskolen, når de private fonde ikke blot donerer penge til politisk satte mål men arbejder aktivt med og ind i de pædagogiske maskinrum. Projektet har som ambition at gøre det muligt at tage en demokratisk debat om disse tendenser.
StatusIgangværende
Effektiv start/slut dato01/09/202231/08/2026

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