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Norway:Overview

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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

Key features of the education system

Norway is a large country, with relatively few inhabitants. 100 years ago, Norway was one of the poorer countries in Europe. Today, Norway ranks among the richest countries in the world. It is also a country with relatively low inequality. As is characteristic for the Nordic model, unemployment is low and income differences are small. The welfare state is well-developed, based on universal entitlements. Local authorities are responsible for basic welfare services, including basic education, and have substantial autonomy in allocation of resources between sectors and in provision of services. The municipalities are responsible for primary and lower secondary schools, while the county authorities are responsible for upper secondary education and training.

Norway is not a member of the European Union, but we are a full member of EU's education programme, Erasmus+, and the framework programme for research and innovation, Horizon2020.

Education is key to maintaining high employment rates and a productive and innovative work force. It is also key to developing and refining a democratic culture. The Norwegian school system is inclusive; there is to be room for all and it is free of charge. Everyone is to be given the same opportunities to develop their abilities. Children and young people have an equal right to education, regardless of where they live, their gender, social or cultural background or any special needs.

It is important that children from different family backgrounds can meet on equal terms in their local community and have the same opportunities regardless of class distinctions or cultural and religious differences. In a modern society that is otherwise characterised by cultural diversity, the education system works as a glue in the community.

Most children attend kindergarten

Parents in Norway are entitled to 11 months parental leave with full salary, of 10 weeks are reserved exclusively for the father.

Children are entitled to a place in a kindergarten from the age of one. About 50 percent of kindergartens are private, but government funded. Fees paid by parents are moderate and are regulated by the government. Fees are the same for public and private institutions. Kindergartens in Norway take a holistic approach to the education and care of children under school age. Norwegian kindergartens are intended to promote well-being and enjoyment through play and learning, and to foster children’s natural creativity, sense of wonder and natural curiosity. Kindergartens shall also prepare children for school. Access to kindergartens of high quality brings about important benefits for children, families and society as a whole.

Inclusive education system

Primary and lower secondary school are mandatory for all children aged 6–16, whereas upper secondary school is a statutory right. Primary and lower secondary education is founded on the principle of a unified school that provides equal and adapted education for all students. There is a common national curriculum for primary and secondary education, but within this framework the municipal and county authorities, schools and teachers can influence the implementation of education and training.

The culture and traditions of the Sami community are part of the common Norwegian and Nordic culture which both the national and the Sami curriculum require that all pupils are acquainted with. In areas defined as Sami districts, teaching is given according to the Sami curriculum.

There are very few special schools. Also, grade repetition is not practised.

The school day is short for the younger children, and municipalities are obliged to offer day-care facilities for children in the lower grades. All municipalities are required to have a Culture school. These schools offer courses and training for children and youth in music, dance, theatre etc.

Culture schools often cooperate with day-care facilities for school children and offer courses for the children attending the day care centres. Parents have to pay a fee for participation in after school day-care and in culture school activities. Fees are set by the Municipality.

Statutory right, but not duty to attend Upper Secondary Education

Young people who have completed primary and lower secondary education, or the equivalent, are entitled to three – four years' of upper secondary education or training. In upper secondary school the pupils can choose from three academic education programmes or nine vocational education programmes.

Most vocational programmes consist of two years in school, followed by two years of apprenticeship. Social partners in Norway have a certain influence on the development of the content and organisation of vocational training. Vocational education and training can also provide access to higher education after a one-year bridging course.

The folk high schools are liberal education schools outside the formal education system. Folk high schools do not have a curriculum or examinations. Folk high schools offer both short and long courses, maximum 10 months. The schools are free of charge and mostly recruit young people from the age of 19.

Few private schools

Norway has relatively few private schools. Almost all private schools are approved by the government and are grant-aided. The main rule is that a private school must constitute a religious or pedagogical alternative, or follow an internationally recognised curriculum in order to be approved. Government aided private schools can only charge limited fees and are not allowed to select children according to performance or other subjective criteria.

Higher education free of charge

In higher education (ISCED levels 6 to 8), the degree structure is in line with the Bologna Process, with 3-year Bachelor, 2-year Master and 3-year PhD as the main model. The post-secondary vocational colleges at ISCED levels 4 and 5 provide a variety of courses of half-a-year to two years duration.

Norway is a small country in terms of population, but covers a large area. That is why there is a relatively high number of higher education institutions. With the exception of some private university colleges, all higher education institutions are state-run. By law, state-run universities and university colleges may not charge tuition fees for ordinary degree courses or professional training courses. This legislation is a key to ensuring that all citizens have the same right and opportunity to take part in higher education. To further support the principle of equal opportunities, all Norwegian students are entitled to financial support (grants and loans) to cover their living costs through the State Educational Loan Fund. To qualify for support from the State Educational Loan Fund you must usually be a Norwegian citizen. Foreign citizens can, on certain conditions, receive support for education in Norway.

Lifelong learning

Lifelong learning is an important principle of Norwegian education policy. Basic skills training and validation of prior learning play a significant part in our adult education policies.

Immigrants with legal permission to live in Norway have a right and a duty to take courses in Norwegian language and social studies for immigrants.




Structure of the national education system

Compulsory education (Grunnskolen) is divided into two main stages: Primary School (barnetrinnet) and lower secondary school (ungdomstrinnet). Upper secondary education (videregående opplæring) is not mandatory, but young people who have completed primary and lower secondary education, or the equivalent, have a right to three years' upper secondary education and training. Vocational education and training usually consist of two years in school and one year in-service training. In-service training at a training establishment is usually combined with productive work, so that an apprenticeship takes two years in all. General studies last three years and lead to general university admissions certification. It is possible for pupils who have finished their vocational education to take a supplementary one year programme to obtain general university admissions certification.

Higher education mainly have a degree structure in line with the Bologna Process. Post-secondary schools (fagskoler) cover a variety of courses of duration up to two years. Degrees from post-secondary schools at ISCED level 4 and 5 (fagskoler) are normally not accepted as part of higher education degrees.



2016 diagram NO.pngsource: Eurydice 2016


Useful links

Facts about education in Norway 2016

Key figures on education from Statistics Norway

The Education Mirror 2016: Facts and analyses of kindergarten, primary and secondary education in Norway

Minifacts about Norway

Statistics Norway

Norway’s official websites abroad

Common European Reference Tools Provided by the Eurydice Network