The basic principle of Swedish folkbildning (for which unfortunately, there is no adequate English single word translation) is that education should not try to impose any particular body of information or formal schema on participants but rather seek to unlock the potential of each individual participant.
A folkhögskola is not really a school in the traditional sense but a learning environment, where students are encouraged to explore, discover and develop. Teachers are not ‘information deliverers’ but facilitators who strive to inspire and enable their students.
In Orthodox theology, a Christian is understood to be someone who gradually becomes more and more like Christ, increasingly conforming to the image of God and a priest is not an ‘expert’ but a guide and fellow traveller on that journey.
The Swedish folkbildning model then, provides an ideal learning environment for Orthodox education. We don’t try to impose any particular theological format or pastoral model on our students but, rather, we encourage participants to take full responsibility for their own intellectual and personal development in accordance with their own individual experience and goals.
Students on the Allmän kurs working together to solve a problem
Sankt Ignatios follows the Swedish state’s understanding of the purpose of a folkhögskola.
Swedish society supports public education because it contributes to the continuing development of democracy. The aim and purpose of this support has been specified by the Swedish parliament.
The state’s objective in supporting folkhögskolor and educational associations is to:
- support activities that contribute to the strengthening and developing of democracy;
- enable as many people as possible to influence their life situation and participate in the development of their communities
- close educational gaps and raise the quality of education and training in society;
- widen interest for and increase participation in cultural life.
The conditions for the state subsidy for public education are specified in the Government’s regulations on state subsidies to public education.