Education System in Norway from Kindergarten to University

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Education System in Norway from Kindergarten to University

Education in Norway

Norwegian Education System is renowned at international level for its security, excellent teaching, and educational institutions. In Norway, there are many international schools available where many foreigners have chosen to enroll their children in the regular Norwegian education system.

“The Norwegian educational system aims to be among the best in the world with regards to both academic levels and breadth of participation and completion rates. The quality of their education and training is instrumental for the qualities developed in their society.”

Education in Norway costs 6.6 percent of the gross domestic product, while the average for the OECD countries is 5.9 percent.

From Kindergarten to University: How the Education System Works in Norway

Kindergarten Daycare and Education

The Government has the overall responsibility for quality development, management and financing of the kindergarten sector, and allocates earmarked funds for the running of kindergartens.

A Barnehage is an institution for children below the compulsory school age. Although nursery is often translated as a school or kindergarten, the system is very different from what you get in the UK or the USA, because it starts at a very young age.

At the age of one, approximately 70% of children attend a Barnehage, a figure which rises to 92% at the age of two, and 96% at the age of three.

Kindergarten owners are responsible for the contents of the individual kindergarten. The Parents’ Council for each kindergarten determines a year plan ensuring the participation of parents and staff in the framing of the educational contents. Kindergarten owners are responsible for employing adequate and qualified staff.

The School System

The Norwegian school system can be divided into three parts: Elementary school (Barneskole, ages 6–13), lower secondary school (Ungdomsskole, ages 13–16), and upper secondary school (Videregående Skole, ages 16–19).

  • Primary and lower secondary education covers children aged 6 to 15 or grades 1 to 10. Local authorities are required to offer before and after-school care for pupils in 1st to 4th grade. Compulsory education is divided into two main stages: Primary school (grades 1–7) and lower secondary school (grades 8–10).
  • Upper secondary education normally provides three years of general education or four years of vocational training after the compulsory 10-year program. Upper secondary education and training comprise all courses leading to qualifications above the lower secondary level and below the level of higher education.
  • Tertiary vocational programs are post-secondary but are not defined as higher education. They run from between six months to a maximum of two years. Tertiary vocational education is an alternative to higher education and is based on upper secondary education and training or equivalent informal and non-formal competence.

Higher Education

Higher education is based on research and usually builds on three years’ completed and passed upper secondary education. There are about 195 000 students at Norwegian universities and university colleges (both public and private).

The main structure in Norway is a 3+2+3 model. (In other words a three-year bachelor‘s degree, two-year master‘s degree and a three-year doctoral program)

Tuition at public universities in Norway is free, even for international students.

The percentage of people aged 19-24 in higher education has risen substantially, from around 10-12% in 1980 to 28% (men) and 43% (women) in 2016. The most popular fields are currently natural sciences, vocational and technical subjects (19.5%) followed by education (18%).

The state is responsible for universities and university colleges, which are directly subordinate to the Ministry of Education and Research.

Adult Education

Adults who have not completed sufficient primary and lower secondary learning are entitled to the education at these levels. Adults from the age of 25 years, who have completed primary and lower secondary (or equivalent) but not upper secondary, have the right to such education upon application.

Lifelong learning and opportunities for education for adults are important principles in Norwegian education policy.

Norway’s provision for adult education includes primary, lower secondary and upper secondary, folk high schools, associations and independent distance learning institutions. Study associations offer courses in most municipalities. Folk high schools are free, general schools that have a clear integrative goal.

10 000 adults each year receive education at primary and lower secondary level. 20 000 adults participate in upper secondary education and training each year. 15 000 students attend continuing education courses at public universities and university colleges. 70 000 participate in supplementary training courses.

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