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Norway:Higher Education

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Overview Norway

Contents

Norway:Political, Social and Economic Background and Trends

Norway:Historical Development

Norway:Main Executive and Legislative Bodies

Norway:Population: Demographic Situation, Languages and Religions

Norway:Political and Economic Situation

Norway:Organisation and Governance

Norway:Fundamental Principles and National Policies

Norway:Lifelong Learning Strategy

Norway:Organisation of the Education System and of its Structure

Norway:Organisation of Private Education

Norway:National Qualifications Framework

Norway:Administration and Governance at Central and/or Regional Level

Norway:Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level

Norway:Statistics on Organisation and Governance

Norway:Funding in Education

Norway:Early Childhood and School Education Funding

Norway:Higher Education Funding

Norway:Adult Education and Training Funding

Norway:Early Childhood Education and Care

Norway:Organisation of Early Childhood Education and Care

Norway:Teaching and Learning in Early Childhood Education and Care

Norway:Assessment in Early Childhood Education and Care

Norway:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Early Childhood Education and Care

Norway:Single Structure Education (Integrated Primary and Lower Secondary Education)

Norway:Organisation of Single Structure Education

Norway:Teaching and Learning in Single Structure Education

Norway:Assessment in Single Structure Education

Norway:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Single Structure Education

Norway:Upper Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Norway:Organisation of General Upper Secondary Education

Norway:Teaching and Learning in General Upper Secondary Education

Norway:Assessment in General Upper Secondary Education

Norway:Organisation of Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Norway:Teaching and Learning in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Norway:Assessment in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Norway:Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Norway:Higher Education

Norway:Types of Higher Education Institutions

Norway:First Cycle Programmes

Norway:Bachelor

Norway:Short-Cycle Higher Education

Norway:Second Cycle Programmes

Norway:Programmes outside the Bachelor and Master Structure

Norway:Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

Norway:Adult Education and Training

Norway:Distribution of Responsibilities

Norway:Developments and Current Policy Priorities

Norway:Main Providers

Norway:Main Types of Provision

Norway:Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning

Norway:Teachers and Education Staff

Norway:Initial Education for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Norway:Conditions of Service for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Norway:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Norway: Initial Education for Academic Staff in Higher Education

Norway:Conditions of Service for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Norway:Continuing Professional Development for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Norway:Initial Education for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Norway:Conditions of Service for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Norway:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Norway:Management and Other Education Staff

Norway:Management Staff for Early Childhood and School Education

Norway:Staff Involved in Monitoring Educational Quality for Early Childhood and School Education

Norway:Education Staff Responsible for Guidance in Early Childhood and School Education

Norway:Other Education Staff or Staff Working with Schools

Norway:Management Staff for Higher Education

Norway:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Higher Education

Norway:Management Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Norway:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Norway:Quality Assurance

Norway:Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education

Norway:Quality Assurance in Higher Education

Norway:Quality Assurance in Adult Education and Training

Norway:Educational Support and Guidance

Norway:Special Education Needs Provision within Mainstream Education

Norway:Separate Special Education Needs Provision in Early Childhood and School Education

Norway:Support Measures for Learners in Early Childhood and School Education

Norway:Guidance and Counselling in Early Childhood and School Education

Norway:Support Measures for Learners in Higher Education

Norway:Guidance and Counselling in Higher Education

Norway:Support Measures for Learners in Adult Education and Training

Norway:Guidance and Counselling in a Lifelong Learning Approach

Norway:Mobility and Internationalisation

Norway:Mobility in Early Childhood and School Education

Norway:Mobility in Higher Education

Norway:Mobility in Adult Education and Training

Norway:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Early Childhood and School Education

Norway:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Higher Education

Norway:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Adult Education and Training

Norway:Bilateral Agreements and Worldwide Cooperation

Norway:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

Norway:National Reforms in Early Childhood Education and Care

Norway:National Reforms in School Education

Norway:National Reforms in Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning

Norway:National Reforms in Higher Education

Norway:National Reforms related to Transversal Skills and Employability

Norway:European Perspective

Norway:Legislation

Norway:Glossary

Higher education is in Norway defined as education and training provided at universities, specialised university institutions, university colleges, university colleges of arts, other public university colleges not under the auspices of the Ministry of Education and Research, and private higher education institutions.

Since the Quality Reform of 2002, higher education institutions offer 3-year bachelor’s degrees, 2-year master’s degrees and 3-year Ph.D. degrees. A few study programmes are shorter than 3 years, there are some integrated five to five and half year master degrees and some professional study programmes that last 6 years. In addition, there are some master programmes of less than two years duration.

Tertiary education also includes vocational colleges (ISCED 4) and practical courses of training with duration half a year to two years as alternatives to higher education. For more information, see section 6.7.

The academic year is 10 months and normally divided into two terms (semesters): Autumn term from mid August to mid December, Spring term from early January to mid June.

With the Quality Reform of 2002, the institutions were encouraged to make the terms longer. Earlier the Autumn term started in early September and the Spring term in mid January.

Professional study programmes generally start in the Autumn term, disciplinary studies may start in both the Autumn and Spring terms.

Specific Legislative Framework

The Act of 1 April 2005 No 15 on Universities and University Colleges is common to all higher education institutions, both public (state) and private institutions. 

Because of the Quality Reform, the 1995 Universities and University Colleges Act was changed considerably. The revised act entered into force on 1 July 2002 and 1 January 2003. The legislation was changed considerably as part of the Quality Reform, and The main changes, now part of the 2005 Act, were as follows:

● The institutions are no longer mentioned by name, but by categories: universities, specialised university institutions and university colleges.
● Institutions can change category if certain conditions are met, for example from university college to university.
● Private institutions can apply for status as accredited institution belonging to the categories mentioned above in 1,on the same basis as state-owned institutions.
● The institutions must have satisfactory systems for internal quality assurance.
● The act introduces an independent (from the ministry and the institutions) governmental agency for accreditation and evaluation, NOKUT.


●  State (public) universities and university colleges may not charge fees from students neither for regular courses leading to a degree nor for professional training courses. 

● Private universities and university colleges shall ensure that the state operating grant and fees from the students are used to the benefit of the students. Institutions receiving state funding may not give financial dividends or in any other manner transfer profit to the owner or close associates of the owner.
● The board of the HEI is made responsible for the physical and psychological learning environment ensuring the health, security and welfare of the student in co-operation with the student welfare organisations.
● The academic year is stipulated to be 10 months.
● Full time study for one academic year is normally awarded 60 credits (based on the ECTS).
● Students admitted for study programmes of more than 60 credits will have a mutual and formal agreement with the institution in the form of an individual education plan outlining the responsibilities and duties of both parties.
● Recognition of degree or periods of study from institutions not covered by the act is shared between the institutions and NOKUT .
● The grading scale is unified and corresponds to the ECTS grading scale, from A (best) to E (pass) and F (failed).
● Issuing Diploma Supplement is mandatory. It is done automatically and free of charge.

In 2007, the 2005 Act was amended in order to include a statutory regulation of individual and institutuional academic rights and responsibilities.

The legislation on loans and grants to students, starting with the establishment of the State Educational Loan Fund in 1947, has been of vital importance for the recruitment to higher education. The act currently in force is Act of 3 June 2005 No 37. The organisation of student welfare (i.e. student housing, canteens, day-care institutions) is also important for the recruitment to higher education, and the latest legislation in this field is Act of 14 December 2007 No 116 (this Act entered into force 1 August 2008).

General objectives

The aims of the national policy on higher education in the past decade were defined through a 1991 White Paper on higher education (St meld nr.40 1990-91 “From vision to work”) and the ensuing parliamentary debate. These aims were reiterated in all the budget proposals during the 1990s, and are still important as an underlying rationale for higher education policy making, not least through general political backing from the Storting (Norwegian Parliament). According to these aims, higher education should:

● Contribute to enhance the capacities and abilities of the population in such a way that consideration is taken both to the interests of the individuals and to the country’s need for a highly educated work force
● Improve the quality in higher education and research
● Ensure that applicants to higher education institutions are given equal treatment (in terms of access)
● Promote conditions at the universities and university colleges that are favourable to the development and transmission of new knowledge
● Use the resources of the sector more effectively
● Reduce the time actually spent by students before graduation, so that the lengths of study periods needed correspond more closely to the formal requirements
● Encourage increased international cooperation in higher education and research.
In addition, specific goals and objectives are stated for each subject or area of professional education. For the education of health personnel and teachers, there are separate national curriculum regulations specifying study content and general goals.