SWEDEN – Oscar Olsson
“Oscar Ulrik Bernahardin Olsson (4th of July 1877- 25:th January 1950) created the first study circle in Sweden in 1902 as part of the International Order of Good Templars.
The features of the study circle were according to Olsson: people studied in small groups, often at home, study material was rare, teachers were not considered a necessary prerequisite of study but rather leaders of groups that organized the session and had no theoretical qualifications, people supplemented their studies by attending lectures or meetings, circle member had no previous qualifications, they learnt to discuss, argue, show consideration for others, accept defeat and share responsibility, experiences a sense of community and identity, knowledge they acquired through the study circles could be directly related to their everyday life and the studies began at the initial cognitive level of the members and were guided by their needs.
Study circles empowered and emancipated the working class, since higher education was not a possibility to them due to financial reasons and because young people had to provide for their whole family when they were physically able to. Through the study circle they could gain knowledge without financial necessities. As Olson put it “The emancipation of the working class should be a task for the workers themselves.”
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