The Norwegian educational system is remarkable for both academic levels and breadth of participation and completion rates. Education for all is an elemental precept of Norwegian educational policy
All children and young people have the equal right to education without any difference on the basis of, creed, gender, living status, social and cultural background or any special needs.All public education in Norway is free of charge, while kindergartens have parental fees. Education must be organized in a lifelong learning perspective to meet changes in society constructively.
Many international students who want to study in Norway and parents who choose Norway for their children education, the article helps them to get a view of Norwegian education system.
Kindergartens in Norway are for children below compulsory school age. Kindergarten is known as barnehage in Norway and the system is quite different from UK or USA, as it starts at a much younger 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. In 2016, the number of children in the Norwegian barnehage system totaled 282,649. 36% of those were aged 0-2, with the remaining 64% aged 3-6.
The School System
Primary and Lower Secondary Education:
In Norway, education is compulsory for all children for lasts ten years. Primary and lower secondary education covers children aged 6 to 15 or grades 1 to 10. Schooling is divided into two parts. The first seven years (first to seventh grade) are called the primary school and the next three years are called the lower secondary school (eight to tenth grade).
Upper Secondary Education:
After completed compulsory 10-year education of primary/lower secondary education, students are entitled to attend three years of general education or four years of vocational training. The norm for apprenticeship training is two years of vocational training in upper secondary education followed by one or two years of practical training in the industry. Students have a right to free upper secondary education, but they may be required to cover the costs of necessary equipment. Students attending upper secondary school who have a first language other than Norwegian or Sami have a right to adapted education in Norwegian. The right applies until they are sufficiently proficient in Norwegian to follow normal teaching at the school.
Tertiary Vocational Programmes
Tertiary vocational education is post-secondary education and training or equivalent informal and nonformal competence, but are not defined as higher education. They run from between six months to a maximum of two years. In 2016 14,748 students were enrolled in public or private post-secondary vocational education. Of those, the most popular fields were natural sciences, vocational and technical subjects. The second most popular field and the most popular among women were health, welfare, and sport.
Higher education is based on general admission, and requires a completed and passed upper secondary education. The main structure 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 programme. The most popular fields are currently natural sciences, vocational and technical subjects (19.5%) followed by education (18%).
Norwegian education policy believes in lifelong learning and gives opportunities to adults to get the education. Norway’s provision for adult education includes primary, lower secondary and upper secondary, folk high schools, associations and independent distance learning institutions. Every adult over the age of 24 and living legally in Norway, who have not completed sufficient primary and lower secondary learning are entitled to the education at these levels. A study association consists of two or more voluntary organizations that offer a selection of courses, ranging from basic course to work training and studies at university level. Study associations offer courses in most municipalities.
Folk high schools are free, general schools that have a clear integrative goal. Folk high schools do not have a curriculum or examinations and offer both short courses (2-94 days) and long courses that last up to ten months. Flexible web-based schools are also available.