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  • Elisa Seppänen

The reform of the Finnish general upper secondary school diploma in music:

Investigating future directions in education

In order to follow the principles of sustainable education, the well-being of students should be established as its core factor. In searching to alleviate stress, educators pay attention to students’ self-agency skills and effective study methods in order to regulate learning and maintain a meaningful life. Recent research shows that music is a powerful motor in building young people's identity, and it is consequential that educational stakeholders must create new structures and enable the study of music in a comprehensive way. One of these opportunities is the ongoing reform of the general upper secondary school diplomas, conducted by the Finnish National Agency for Education EDUFI [Opetushallitus, OPH]. This study aims to reveal the current reform process of the upper secondary school diploma in music and its possible effect on the Finnish education system and adolescence well-being. This reform will inevitably affect the educational culture and society in several sectors. For this purpose, experts involved in the reform mentioned were interviewed. The participants of the study were invited to discuss the essential questions of the reform in order to clarify the current status of the process, and its prospects. The data from the interviews draws on experts’ opinion on proposing a reform to the current upper secondary diploma in music. Interviews are analyzed in connection with previous research and the current state of the reform. This paper reinforces insights into how music plays a role in adolescent identity modification. In addition, music diploma reform has the potential to make it visible and appreciated. In connection with the interviews, visions and suggestions for implementing the diplomas in the future will emerge. However, the shared understanding of the meanings of music education for the benefit of young people emerges from the interviews, appearing as the most significant discovery of this study.


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