Reflexion i anslutning till dådet i Jakarta

Indonesien hamnade åter på löpsedlarna för knappt två veckor sedan på grund av ett terrordåd utanför ett shoppingcenter i centrala Jakarta. Attacken, som inkluderade explosioner och skottlossning, resulterade i ett tjugotal skadade och minst åtta döda, varav fyra var attentatsmän. En indonesisk grupp med kopplingar till Islamiska staten (Daesh) tog tidigt på sig ansvaret. Detta var inte första gången som Indonesien drabbades av ett terrordåd och attacken var inte direkt överraskande då det kommit flera uppgifter under den senaste tiden att något skulle komma att ske i Indonesien inom en snar framtid.

Under 2000-talets första decennium utfördes flera attacker mot företrädesvis ”västerländska” mål, såsom kyrkor, barer, diskotek, restauranger, exklusiva hotell och ambassader. De som planerade och genomförde attackerna hade kopplingar till inhemska elit-styrda organisationer och nätverk, såsom Jemaah Islamiyah. Den militanta islamismen ändrade karaktär och strategi runt 2010. Därefter har det framförallt varit små grupper baserade på vänskapsband eller släktband som har planerat och utfört attacker. Många av aktivisterna har sin bakgrund i etablerade radikala organisationer, exempelvis Jamaah Ansharut Tauhid, och lever i ett socialt och ideologiskt sammanhang – on-line och/eller off-line – där de finner inspiration och vägledning. Det är i dessa sammanhang som de hämtar information om lämpliga mål och lär sig hur man skall utföra terrorattacker. Taktiken har förändrats. Spektakulära bombattacker mot ”västerländska” mål har till stor del ersatts av dödskjutningar mot inhemska mål som symboliserar motståndet mot den militanta islamismens utopiska ideal, främst poliser och militärer.

Det är för tidigt att uttala sig säkert om den grupp som låg bakom attacken i Jakarta och de taktiska överväganden som de hade gjort. Men det var nog ingen tillfällighet att en polispostering och ett Starbucks-café drabbades särskilt hårt. Vilka de än är, arbetar de i kraftig motvind i Indonesien. Det folkliga stödet för IS (och al-Qaida) är svagt i världens största muslimska land.

 

 

 

 

A tentative view on primary language education policy in India

As finally I take my leave of India I continue to struggle with formulating a view on language policy in the early years of primary schooling here. In my first blog I referred to the 700 languages of India. In reality, people talk of the 22 ‘scheduled’ languages listed in the Constitution of India, with English officially identified as an ‘assistant’ language. The many other languages of India seem to be variously identified as dialects, tribal languages, minority languages, ‘non-scheduled’ languages, according to their perceived status within particular linguistic communities at particular points in history. As for the primary school language education policy – like most aspects of education at the moment, the picture is difficult to pin down, given the lack of government support for education. Confirming this, the political economist, Jean Drèze, commented on the newly announced budget (The Hindu, 5.3.15) bemoaning the continued focus on infrastructure investment (mainly road and rail), claiming that it reflects a return to the policies of Nehru (the first prime minister of India after independence) when investment for development was a priority. Drèze argues that it is time for investment in human capital, prioritizing health and education as key factors that will contribute to significant growth. In a climate where education is not perceived as a priority it seems likely that any concerns with provision for quality language education will certainly be silenced.

My final interview for this research visit proved invaluable in my further understanding of context for primary language education in India. As luck would have it I was able to make contact with Prof. Krishna Kumar from the Central Institute of Education at Delhi University. His distinguished scholarship in the sociology of education (together with an early background related to children’s language education) contributed just the combination of expertise that I have been in need of. He offered an incisive (and no doubt controversial) analysis of the context. In essence, it amounted to a proposal that the elite groupings of India can be identified as highly influential in all aspects of education, including language education. Since education is divided between two sectors – public and private; similarly languages in education can be divided into two groupings – English and Indian languages. He proposed that a macro-analysis of the contexts essentially presents private education as linked to English, while public education is linked to Indian languages. In this analysis he suggested that the immediate future would see continued growth in the demand for private, English-medium schools, alongside growth of many small-scale initiatives for multilingual curriculum development. However, he predicted that the systemic picture of India (where English is perceived as an essential tool for both employment and prestige) would not change because it is so well fitted to the social structure of the nation.

So, there you have it. Within primary education, particularly through growth in the private sector, English may already be perceived as a basic skill. However, I tread cautiously on whether this is really the end of the story. In sociolinguistics, language usage rarely stands still for long!

I sign off from this final blog with some words of thanks – firstly to the excellent colleagues at the Dept of Linguistics, University of Delhi who so generously welcomed me into their midst and secondly to the Nordic Centre in Delhi who have given me a place to rest my head and an excellent wifi connection. Most importantly though, my sincere thanks are due to the schools, the children, the academics and various government officials who guided me in attempting to understand the world of languages in Indian primary schools.

Celebrating Holi at Delhi University 

Holi Day at Delhi uni

I say goodbye to India (for now), signing off with a happy picture from Friday’s Holi celebrations at Delhi University – a celebration of colours, when people daub themselves with a brilliant array of colours (hopefully the colourful powder will wash off easily!!).

Elephants and cows amongst the cars

Delhi is a curious mix. In a metropolis of around 20 million inhabitants it’s surprising to see an elephant being led alongside the highway as I did the other day (presumably it must belong to a zoo or circus). India is well-known for its tradition of allowing cows to wander freely – particularly in rural areas, however, in Delhi they are officially banned from the streets. So, when I saw cows in the road I knew I had arrived in a village, although the conurbation of Greater Delhi is very close to swallowing up the area.

The school we visited was quite different from any other I had yet attended. Overall, I felt a strong sense of a community and saw very little concern with timekeeping. This was a government school in an economically poorer area of Delhi, where village people lived alongside more recently arrived migrants from the countryside that had come to find work in the city. Attendance can be problematic for the children of these families who sometimes had to return to their villages to help with the harvest and to claim their portion of the produce. Children as workers might therefore disappear from lessons for periods of up to three weeks. Under such circumstances progress in learning will surely be quite erratic, but for these children, who might be the first generation in their family to attend school atall, adjusting to the system is a new experience.

Lunch arrives

Lunch arrives

Another concern was nutrition. For some, their first meal of the day would be that supplied by the school. Legislation ensures that all children attending government schools receive free meals. At this school the hot lunch arrives in a van at 10.30 am, since this is a morning school, using buildings which will accommodate another school during the second afternoon shift from 1 pm (population figures for this age group are growing more rapidly than school buildings – as a result of urban drift).

The school was designated as a Hindi-medium school, but with an English stream, so I was able to observe the first class having great fun in a game where they had to touch the part of their bodies named by the teacher in English (head, nose, etc.). Later, I observed a lesson based on a quite different understanding of how young children learn language. In a year 4 class the teacher asked one girl to read from the textbook while the class repeated her words. But, astonishingly, she was expected to read one word, which would then be chorused by the class, before moving on to the next word – what a contrast in understandings of teaching and learning!

My subsequent interview with Dr Mukul Priyadarshini, who taught on the highly rated 4-year course for elementary school teachers at a college of Delhi University, helped to account for this surprising evidence. Apparently, to become an elementary school teacher you need only to complete a two-year diploma course and take an entrance test to be ‘qualified’ as a teacher. There is little time in such a short course for any in-depth consideration of how children learn additional languages and many graduates of these diplomas have very low-level skills in English. Those students completed the 4-year course were more likely to accept jobs in some of the better equipped private, English-medium schools Nonetheless, for a ‘village’ school to be offering an English stream gives a hint of the high aspirational expectations of parents in this newly urbanised region of Delhi – apparently an increasingly common phenomenon throughout the country.

Floods at Delhi University – summer has come!

I spent my first week meeting people in Delhi and now I am back from Chennai to meet more people and visit schools in the capital. But – what a welcome on Monday morning – the floods have come! As the photo shows, the storm water drainage near the University of Delhi Arts Campus simply cannot cope with the downpour. Thank goodness I was advised to travel by taxi rather than taking the metro and walking! During the journey I was quite worried that my taxi might finally ‘die’ and I would have to paddle, but somehow the experience of the driver shone through and we survived.

Floods at Delhi University!

Delhi uni 2.3.15

This morning my planned visit to the University Campus school took a number of unexpected turns. Firstly, I had assumed that the school would be a ’model’ school, providing for the children of University staff and offering teaching practice opportunities for student teachers. In fact, the school was actually established to provide an education for local manual labourers, domestic maids and workers on the university campus. Financially, it has the status of being a government-aided school, with 5% of its funding coming from a foundation set up by University professors, the other 95% comes from the Delhi authorities. The second unexpected discovery was that this week is Exam Week! Today, everyone in school was taking end-of-year tests in all subject areas. Here you can see in the photo, Class 1 ( a class of 45) have no books on their desks, just a worksheet fixed to a clipboard to complete, since all books are cleared away as no-one is permitted to have access during tests.

Testing times for Grade 1 (45 children)

Delhi uni school

 

The morning’s test was mainly on Hindi vocabulary (this is a Hindi-medium school) and was conducted step by step, with children marking their own work after each section was completed. The atmosphere was quite relaxed and the teacher seemed happy for me to ask a few questions once the test was over. However, it very soon became clear that although I could ask the questions in English, the teacher would then have to translate, then the children might reply in English with one-word answers only. Given that these children were just six years old and had only 2 English lessons per week, this perhaps was not so surprising.

The morning ended with a short interview with the school principal, which proved to be very illuminating. She very passionately explained how committed she was to trying to provide the best education possible for these children. She explained that she had grown up in a village where she had been lucky enough to attend school and do well. She later went on to complete a college diploma, university degree and finally a PhD in political science (focusing on leadership in education)! It seemed that she used the pride in her personal success as a way of trying to motivate the school children to have hope and ambition for their own futures. She talked particularly about how important it was to involve the parents in their children’s education. Many parents had attended little or no schooling themselves so these children were often the first generation in their families to attend regular schooling. Inevitably, not all parents fully appreciated the potential value of schooling, so the principal had introduced a monthly meeting for parents, with the aim of encouraging them to become more involved. Already she is finding that the meetings are making a difference. It was truly an inspiring school visit – though I was concerned to see the poor decorations and very basic blackboard in each classroom. It was evident that the funding was quite limited in comparison with the other schools I have so far visited. Still, the warm and friendly atmosphere provides important security for the children and it was evident that it was a happy school – despite the exams!

Primary languages in Tamil Nadu – a considered view

In my third blog I will try to take stock of what I’ve heard and seen in Tamil Nadu, drawing particularly on three interviews I’ve now conducted with experienced researchers in the fields of language teacher education, child development and the history of English in India.

Firstly, education for primary teachers: there seem to be quite varied programmes for becoming primary teachers with no official requirement to be licenced. The most common qualification for primary teachers is a two year, practically focused college course. There are also four-year courses validated by universities as degree-level qualifications. Pre-service teacher education courses rarely seem to include a module on teaching languages to young children, yet most teachers at government schools are expected to do this. Given the lack of suitable teacher preparation, I was not surprised when my first interviewee, Dr Saras (a retired University professor) proposed that most subjects would be more effectively learnt if they were taught in the State language (Tamil), with English taught just as a subject.

My second interviewee offered a different perspective As a Professor of English, Dr. Shreesh Chowdhry was able to reflect on the changing role of English in India. He reported that the government of India after independence, under Ghandhi’s influence, had ambitions that English would gradually fade out and policies were planned with this in mind. However, the reverse seems to have happened. The areas of life where English is now used have steadily increased. In the 2011 census 315 million respondents reported that they spoke English as a second language. Professor Chowdhry illustrated how things have changed in his own family, explaining that while he and his wife may speak in their mother tongue at home, their children increasingly use English. For the new generation he commented that they even quarrel in English! He related this shift to both prestige and economic factors, also suggesting that, ‘no young man today wants to marry a girl who doesn’t know English, though I don’t know how English makes you a good wife!’

However, as my school visits have shown, this demand for English from Grade 1 is now a huge problem, given the lack of teacher expertise. Professor Chowdhry feels that with the pressure for English from the people, the situation will have to improve. He agreed that the change would not happen overnight, but felt it might only take a decade, or at the most two.

My final interviewee, Dr Anandalakshmy, was one of the team connected with the early development of the activity-based approach for primary schools in Tamil Nadu. Her background in child development and teacher education has led to a career which included serving on many national advisory committees, so I was fortunate indeed to learn from her wide experience. Dr Anandalakshmy’s explanation for the current policy situation related to the whole consultation process. She suggested firstly that there’s a lot of misunderstanding about learning English and English-medium schools. Introducing English-medium schools would not ensure that children learnt English if the teachers were not good at English (as is generally the case). She argued that the mother-tongue should be the language of education and English is best introduced as a subject. Also, much more time should be allowed for both languages, making Tamil, English and Maths core subjects from the start of schooling. In her opinion, the problem with planning the language policy has been that planners failed to consult widely, relying on those who agreed with them already. The hierarchical nature of Ministry procedures in India also makes it difficult for others to challenge poor decisions. The resultant popularity of English-medium government schools is Tamil Nadu may fail to contribute to any improvement in competency levels as a result.

Well, three different perspectives on the question of English in primary schools and still little sense of anything approaching a policy for multilingualism. Next, I travel on from Chennai to Hyderabad to attend the annual education conference – perhaps there I will discover teachers who are working on the development of an effective methodology for multilingualism in the early primary years – or, perhaps not!

Primary English in Chennai schools

With a population somewhere between 4-5 million Chennai (previously known as Madras) is a busy city with a wide variety of schools. So far, I’ve managed to visit just four – ranging from strong to fairly weak in terms of their provision for English language teaching. The challenges are multiple, but first I’ll say something about the State policy for introducing an activity-based curriculum (ABL) across the whole primary curriculum, since this seems to have been an important feature of the approach to teaching and learning here.

The conceptualisation of ABL is rooted in an interpretation of the Montessori methodology, with a strictly structured framework based on mainly practical tasks with instructions on sets of work cards that children follow, increasingly climbing ‘the learning ladder’ as they progress through every stage. For each activity, the work group is specified – requiring children to move between pair work, group work and individual tasks, with even a specification of which tasks will be fully or partially supported by the teacher. At the end of each step on the ladder children complete a test before progressing to the next step. In the schools I’ve visited so far the reality of this very carefully structured procedure seems to be a relaxed classroom environment with children working confidently, with varying degrees of independence depending on the task and the individual teacher.

ABL in action

individual and group work in action

The role of the teacher seems to be the most crucial element in the children’s confidence and competence in English. I met some teachers in English-medium schools with a high level of fluency in English who opted for a strongly teacher-led approach with children responding keenly to rather formulaic questioning. In other classes where teachers had a similarly high level of fluency in English, I met children were very happy to ask me all sorts of questions, even curious to find Sweden on the world map and guess how long it might take to fly from Umeå to Chennai! In the two Tamil-medium schools that I visited, where English is taught as a curriculum subject, the teacher’s fluency in English was lower and children’s ability to engage in short conversations with me was very limited. The teacher’s approach to English here seemed to be more strongly reliant on reading and copying from the work cards. Sadly, one school did seem to be very under-resourced in terms of poor school buildings and facilities. In my short visit it was not possible to discover the reason for this, but there was little doubt that the environment had an impact on the learning experience here.

At one school I was also lucky enough to speak briefly with 3 girls aged around 16 who had just collected their weekly copy of The Times (Indian short version for school students). They were wonderfully fluent and very willing to discuss with me a short article in the paper about the dominance of English. An impressive outcome from a girls government school which is not rated as particularly high achieving!

So, as a general impression, the ABL structuring may have its limitations, but it does seem to offer a secure framework with lots of scope for originality, if teachers are adventurous. Under such conditions the key factor that will make a difference in learning English is the teacher’s fluency level. A minimum of around an intermediate level is highly desirable (approximately B1, for those familiar with the European levels of the CEFR). Once this is achieved then it becomes possible to think of moving away from a curriculum focusing on reading and copying, towards an increase in the opportunities for classroom interaction to occur. Lots still to do to achieve quality provision for primary English, but some encouraging signs at least!

Language education policy in India

My second week here in India now and I’m rapidly learning about the complexities of language education policy and practice in this vast country.

Here are some numbers first – just to give you an idea of the challenges of scale! A population of approximately 1.27 billion, 200 million of which are in the school grades 1-8 (age 6-14 years) – so, perhaps its not so surprising that school attendance for this age group only became compulsory in 2010 and attendance is still not brilliant. Much of the education budget has so far been focused on providing an adequate infrastructure (buildings, etc.). Gradually though, each of the 29 states is now turning its attention towards consolidating the quality of learning provision.

As for languages – over 700 languages are spoken in the various regions of the country. In an effort to ensure an effective start to the primary years of schooling the national policy currently recommends that all children should be taught in the official state language (for grades 1-5, or 1-6 in some states). Although both educationalists and linguists would both agree that children are much more likely to succeed in education if they are taught in a language they already know (particularly in the early phases of education) parents seem to be not so happy with this policy. National reports show a rapid increase in the popularity of private schools which claim to offer an education in English. Today, English medium schools amount to 30% of the total school provision – and rising.

Bay of Bengal at 6 am

 I was lucky enough to interview the co-director of schooling for the state of Tamil Nadu on Saturday morning (the only day when she could rely on not being interrupted by meetings, etc!). She outlined the state policy which aims to try and ensure equal opportunities for all children by providing quality education within the government (state) schools. For Tamil Nadu, they believe that allowing government schools to teach all subjects in English (English-medium) will encourage parents to send their children to the government schools, thus maintaining quality for all, with no extra fees to pay. The challenge now is to up-skill 200, 000 teachers, 60, 000 of whom teach in grades 1-5 (the primary sector is what I’m particularly interested in). Their aim is to develop teachers’ expertise in offering a learner-centred curriculum, in English, moving away from the teacher-centred, transmission mode of delivery that has been part of the education tradition here. It’s early days yet, but apparently things are beginning to happen in schools. Later this week I’ll let you know my first impressions during my school visits! For now though, I’ll leave you with a photo of the Bay of Bengal at 6 am – the best time of day – before the temperature becomes so sticky that aircon is a necessity!

På "skidslöjdens" tid

Nu börjar skid-VM Falun. Uppstartspratet i medierna – som började för något år sedan – är över, skönt! En viss mättnad infinner sig.

I Sverige oroar man sig mycket för att de norska skidåkarna ska dominera stort och vinna många medaljer.  I Norge är skidåkningen en ”nationalsport”, så är det inte riktigt i Sverige. Denna ståndpunkt – och försök till förklaring av Norges framgångar – är av gammalt datum. I 1922 års idrottsutredning (”Statsunderstöd för idrottens främjande” ) noterades att ”hela folket” i Norge värnade och praktiserade längdskidåkning. Glädjande var dock, menade utredarna, att intresset för skidåkning i Sverige ”under de senaste åren” ökat väsentligt, ”och det lider nog icke något tvivel att en viktig orsak härtill är att finna i det organisations- och propagandaarbete, som nedlagts från föreningarnas sida”. Skollärarnas insats hade också varit viktig när det gällde skidsportens ökande popularitet. Ett problem var dock utrustningen, att många skolbarn inte hade några skidor.

Den lösning på utrustningsproblematiken som föreslogs i 1922 års utredning säger något om hur tiderna förändrats: ”Genom skidslöjden kunna gossar i åldern 12–14 år själva skaffa sig skidor, såsom också skett i många skolor, och det har visat sig att barnen genom denna skidtillverkning få en mera ingående kännedom om skidan, dess skötsel och vård. Statsmedel anses emellertid endast böra användas för att kostnadsfritt kunna tillhandahålla lämpliga modellskidor och brättjärn. Anskaffandet av övriga verktyg och virke bör åligga skolorna.”

Heja Sverige!

Framtiden och MKV-programmen: stärkt forskningsanknytning, pedagogisk utveckling och förbättrad arbetsorganisation

Gårdagens sällsamt mörka novembermåndag inleddes med ett framtidsinriktat viktigt arbetspass där vi i lärarkollegiet engagerade i de två medie- och kommunikationsvetenskapliga programmen samlades för att göra en så kallad SWOT-analys. Övningen gick ut på att individuellt och i grupp identifiera nuvarande och framtida styrkor, svagheter, möjligheter och hot i och för verksamheten. På bara två timmar lyckades vi samla oss kring en förståelse av nuläget och en riktning framåt. I en tentativ handlingsplan identifierade vi tre gemensamma punkter som vi enades om är viktiga att prioritera i vardagen i arbetet med MKV-programmen. Den första handlar om forskningsanknytning. Den andra om pedagogisk utveckling och den tredje om en förbättrad arbetsorganisation.

Att genomföra en dylik, mycket begränsad, men ändå framtidsinriktad aktivitet känns särskilt viktigt i en organisation som genomgår en kris. Vår institution har, vilket du som läser detta förmodligen redan känner till, ett stort ekonomiskt underskott och har därför tvingats till relativt sett drastiska åtgärder. Flertalet fast anställda lektorer och viss administrativ personal har blivit uppsagda i dagarna och sparåtgärderna i verksamheten är många. Eftersom MKV-programmen har stor volym och skönt nog överlag är populära bland studenter (och arbetsgivare), drabbas vi inom MKV i relativt blygsam omfattning av dessa läraruppsägningar. Men alla medarbetare vid institutionen påverkas självfallet av den allvarliga situationen i stort och smått. En gemensam målsättning och väg framåt kan dock, som organisationskommunikationsforskningen (långt ord!) vittnar om när det gäller dylika förändringsprocesser, underlätta väsentligt.

När det gäller forskningsanknytningen ser vi stora möjligheter att förstärka den i vår grundutbildning. Här handlar det dels om att forskande lärare och doktorander bör komma in oftare på kurserna och undervisa och handleda på sina respektive specialområden, dels om att våra kurslitteraturlistor behöver revideras och förnyas med forskningsanknytningen i åtanke. Stärkt internationalisering blir dessutom en positiv bieffekt av en sådan utveckling.

Den pedagogiska utvecklingspotentialen är i sin tur mångfacetterad. Det handlar till att börja med om att vi behöver lära på ett sådant sätt att självständigheten hos studenterna stärks. Det handlar också om att fortsätta utveckla formerna för utbildningarna, exempelvis att använda sig av digitala verktyg, nya pedagogiska grepp och lärplattformar. Att medvetet jobba inom och med lärarlag är också en viktig ingrediens i en förbättrad pedagogik som vi vill satsa på. Samverkan med andra parter, inte minst utanför universitetet, är ytterligare ett område där vi redan ses som starka men som har potential att utvecklas än mer, inte minst pedagogiskt. När det gäller samverkan finns MKV-programmen redan med som exempel på ”best practice” i ett Vinnovastött projekt. Studenterna gör praktik, jobbar med autentiska fall (”case”) i kurser och ibland skriver de uppsatser på uppdrag. Samverkan med externa parter ger mycket till utbildningen men får inte, vilket lärarkollegiet i morse också konstaterade, ske på bekostnad av vetenskapligheten.

Det tredje och sista, men inte mindre viktiga utvecklingsområdet som togs upp som prioriterat område under dagens lärardiskussion gäller vår egen arbetsorganisation och sättet vi arbetar på. I kristider är det särskilt viktigt att ha ändamålsenliga arbetssätt och (besluts)strukturer för att hushålla med tid, energi och resurser och här är vi många som anser att det finns en hel del att utveckla, inte bara på institutionsnivån. Kanske kan en blick utifrån på vår organisation vara till hjälp och få oss att tänka nytt och prioritera bättre? Studentgruppen klagar ofta på oss lärare att vi är dåliga på att planera, lägga scheman i tid och informera om kursinnehållet samtidigt som man överlag glädjande nog är nöjd med själva kursinnehållet. Problemet känns med andra ord som angeläget att lösa. Kraven från studenterna och förväntan på förhandsinformation har dessutom ökat lavinartat senaste decennierna. Det ligger en hel del i kritiken och är i mångt och mycket en direkt återspegling av ett strukturellt problem med bemanning som vi brottats med i alla år jag varit universitetsanställd. Problemet borde dock inte vara olösligt. Utbildning och kurser ska planeras åratal i förväg, men samtidigt väntar vi på institutionen på antagningssiffror, genomströmningstal och budgetuppföljningar osv tills kort innan vi anställer och bemannar lärare. I vår hårt ansträngda ekonomi blir nog inte situationen lättare och framförhållningen bättre av sig själv. Situationen skapar en olycklig ryckighet i undervisningen och det blir allvarliga brister i kontinuiteten och i förlängningen kvalitén på undervisningen. I den akademiska världen tar dessutom rekryteringsprocesser osedvanligt lång tid eftersom det så centrala sakkunnigförfarandet är lika tidskrävande som underfinansierat. Umeå universitets formulerade Vision 2020 om det effektiva universitetet skulle, om det var en realitet, kunna vara en hjälp att lösa upp många av vardagens knutar och på så sätt rusta oss bättre för framtiden. Gemensamma målsättningar, som här gällande MKV-programmen, är helt klart en sådan ingrediens som både underlättar och motiverar!

Klimat i fokus utan energi

Det hoppingivande momentum som fanns i klimatpolitiken 2009 inför COP15, allmänt kallat Köpenhamnsmötet, dog i samma takt som finanskrisen bredde ut sig världen över. Glädjande nog har dock inte kommunikationsaspekterna försvunnit ur klimatforskningen. Många av de medie- och kommunikationsvetare som för första gången intresserade sig för en miljöfråga i och med klimatkrisen, fortsätter göra så än idag. Det kan jag konstatera efter att ha deltagit i två internationella konferenser där vetenskaps- och miljökommunikation diskuterats. Det oerhört starka fokus på dagspressens rapportering kring FN:s klimatmöten och publicering av IPCC-rapporter börjar också mattas av något, till förmån för en större mångfald angreppssätt. Nu studeras också andra tidsperioder än tiden kort före, under och efter dessa återkommande mediehändelser. Det är nödvändigt, för ska man förstå hur exempelvis ”gemene man” begriper situationen bör man ta andra faktorer än eliters dagordning och vardag i beaktande, om än dessa aktörer  självfallet har makt att forma det gemensamma. Problemformuleringsprivilegiet, för att använda ett långt ord. Kopplingen till toppolitiken och den internationella expertpanelen, med klimatforskare som kontinuerligt rapporterar om klimatproblemets komplexa konsekvenser, vittnar annars om såväl journalistikens som medieforskningens starka beroende av politiken respektive vetenskapen. Idag finner vi dock en större mångfald när det gäller vilka nationer som studeras.

Även om dominansen av västvärlden är fortsatt stark, finns exempel på forskning som tar problematiken i fattigare, tillika mer utsatta, länder på allvar. BBC World-journalisten James Painter, nu verksam i Storbritannien vid The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, University of Oxford, leder ett av dessa komparativa projekt kring nationer, medier och klimat (https://reutersinstitute.politics.ox.ac.uk/people/james-painter-director-journalism-fellowship-programme-reuters-institute). En finsk journalistikprofessor (Risto Kunelius) och en norsk dito (Elisabeth Eide) leder i sin tur ett transnationellt forskarnätverk, MediaClimate ((http://mediaclimate.net), som har deltagare från 20 länder och alla kontinenter representerade i gruppen. Spänningen och ojämlikheten mellan Nord och Syd gör sig ständigt påmind i denna forskning. Vem är det som bär störst skuld och vem ska försaka och betala när klimatproblemen ska tacklas? Som svensk blir man också fascinerad över hur starka och många klimatskeptikerna är i flertalet andra länder, inte minst USA och Australien, nationer som vi annars gärna identifierar oss med och kopierar. Klimatfrågans hälsodimensioner, ett starkt och angeläget forskningsområde inom vårt universitet, berörs dock väldigt lite i befintlig kommunikationsforskning. Här finns mer att göra för som rätt nyligen släppta klimatrapporter poängterat så kan betoningen på hälsovinster vara en nyckelfaktor för att få till stånd beteendeförändringar. Miljön och hälsan besparas på samma gång.

Men trots att klimatfrågan legat högt på dagordningen i ett decennium och är direkt sammankopplad med energiförsörjningen i våra samhällen är det samtidigt slående hur frånvarande det perspektivet är. Situationen känns igen även inom andra samhällsvetenskapliga och humanistiska ämnen. Energin fattas. Samtidigt är ett högt nyttjande av fossil energi boven i klimatdramat. Kärnkraften har fått en renässans efter att klimatproblemen börjat tas på allvar och i exempelvis Portugal har en utbyggnad av vattenkraften med tydlig påverkan på landskap, människa och djur genomförts som en direkt följd av behovet av förnyelsebar energi och EU-politiken. Olika energiformer står i ett dialektiskt förhållande till varandra och bör därför samstuderas oftare. Det hävdar i alla fall jag. Energiförsörjningen är fundamental i alla samhällen, en helt avgörande del i det som gör samhället möjligt. Därför måste också mer energi in i klimatfrågan.