Education in Norway

Ranked twenty-first on the list of leading education systems in performance, graduation rates, and funding, Norway is among the many countries in Northern Europe that places education as a priority for all youth regardless of their financial or ethnic background. In 2016, Norway provided higher education to more than 200,000 students, more than tripling the student count from 2010. Education in Norway is highly valued, however, student drop-out rates are a continuing issue.

Education in Norway is implemented in three parts: primary school, lower secondary school and upper secondary school, the first two of which are mandatory to complete. Students must go to school between the ages of six and 16, but after graduation from lower secondary school, students are given the option to either pursue upper secondary school or discontinue education to enter the job market. Upper secondary school is a three-year program that incorporates either general or vocational studies.
As of 2015, the completion rate of the 64,000 students enrolled in upper secondary school starting in 2010 was 59 percent. Norwegian schools are tuition-free, and Norway continually supports equality in education. So the question is: why do students drop out of upper secondary education?

The answer to this question may have little to do with Norway’s philosophy on education. In fact, it could lie in the background of each student. One major factor influencing the decision to finish schooling is grade point average in lower secondary school. If a student is presented with poorer grades in early education, their likelihood of receiving good grades or seeing their higher education through is low. While 59 percent of the student population in 2015 graduated within the given time span of their schooling, 7 percent failed final exams and 15 percent dropped out before or during their final year.

Obtaining a quality lower secondary education in Norway is an essential factor to the success in upper secondary school. Since lower secondary school occurs during the development ages of 10 to 16, it is imperative for teachers to provide students with engaging and effective curriculum specifically tailored to that age group. The focus is on basic knowledge concepts, such as reading and math, then upper secondary school is a more advanced approach that offers career-specific courses, like business or nursing.

New ideas like the Transition Project focus on low-performing students in lower secondary school to increase their reading, writing and numeracy competencies. This project provides students with follow-up workshops, homework assistance and surveys for teachers to complete and keep track of their lower-scoring students.

Reforms like the Transition Project provide students and teachers alike with cohesive learning. Teachers are able to lecture with more clarity and students are able to grasp the curriculum with more ease. Those students needing more assistance have outlets to spend more time on specific concepts. As a result, students are less likely to fall behind in their classes and will gain a better overall understanding of the curriculum based on the increase in involvement and participation with their teachers.

With an unemployment rate of 7.5 percent for students with education below upper secondary school and only 3.4 percent for students with upper secondary education, it is vital to emphasize the importance of finishing school. Norway has seen the underlying problem, and its efforts in decreasing dropout rates in upper secondary school are just beginning.

Brianna Summ

Photo: Flickr

Child Poverty in NorwayNorway is among the richest countries in the world; in fact, the Human Development Index ranks it first globally. However, by the country’s own standards of development, there are still segments of society which are considered below the line of poverty. Reports on child poverty in Norway reveal some troubling facts about the country’s economically successful image. Here are six important facts about child poverty in Norway.

  1. More than 90,000 children come from families that are defined as poor. According to UNICEF Norway, this number has doubled since 2000. It is feared that this number will continue to rise if adequate measures are not taken to address the issue.
  2. According to a report by Norway Today, every fifth child, or about 18, 500 of the country’s total number of poor children, lives in Oslo. Child poverty in Norway is relatively high in metropolitan areas such as Oslo.
  3. According to the Minister of Children and Equality, Solveig Horne, more than half of poor children come from families with immigrant backgrounds. However, Kari Elisabeth Kaski, the first candidate in Oslo and party secretary of the Socialist Party, says that child poverty is an important issue regardless of immigration status. Kaski also says that child poverty should become a priority issue in the upcoming election in Norway.
  4. One report shows that though child poverty in Norway is particularly high among certain immigrant groups, approximately half of the children in low-income families are of Norwegian ethnic backgrounds.
  5. In some low-income neighborhoods, such Nedre Toyen in Oslo, two out of three children are poor compared to one in five in the Kampen area, which is several steps away. Differences in child poverty – depending on the area in Oslo – are substantial.
  6. The effects of living in poor neighborhoods on childrens’ future opportunities are alarming. A poor neighborhood, where most or all families are poor, does not provide a good network or “social and cultural capital” that can be mutually beneficial to members of the community in getting a job, better education or any other assistance.

Despite these troubling facts, the good news is that as the world’s most developed country, child poverty in Norway is defined differently in relation to the poverty of children globally. It mostly means for children to have little to no resources to participate in life experiences such as birthday parties, a school trip and other experiences that are socially and culturally enriching. Norway is also a welfare state. Generally, there is little difference between children from rich and poor backgrounds in the sense that they get equal education and healthcare among other social services. Further, the number of children who die has decreased by 50 percent in the last 20 years.

Clearly, poor children in Norway still have the resources to give them the best chance of growing up to be healthy, educated and successful adults; however, there need to be government efforts aimed at the underlying causes in order to prevent child poverty in the first place. Only then will these children have access to necessary socially and culturally uplifting experiences.

Aslam Kakar

Photo: Flickr

Poverty Rate in Norway
Norway, officially known as the Kingdom of Norway, is located between Finland, Russia, Skagerrak and Denmark. With a population of over 5.2 million people, Norway is a member of the European Economic Area. Norway is the world’s fifth-largest oil exporter and is considered to be one of the richest countries in Europe. Below are eight facts about the poverty rate in Norway.

8 Facts About the Poverty Rate in Norway

  1. Norway had an unemployment rate of 4.4 percent in 2016 and was ranked 48th on a list of worldwide unemployment rates. The rate dropped 0.2 percent from 2015 to 2016.
  2. Although Norway is considered to be a wealthy country, 7.5 percent of the population still lives below the poverty line.
  3. The richest 10 percent of the population in Norway controls 21.2 percent of the entire nation’s wealth. The poorest 10 percent of the population controls only 3.8 percent of the whole country’s wealth.
  4. Norway lowered its oil prices in 2015, which caused an increase in the country’s unemployment rate and slowed down the growth of its GDP in 2016.
  5. Many immigrants in Norway live in poverty. According to recent research, 36 percent of immigrant children live in poverty in Norway, while only five percent of children with Norwegian parents do.
  6. The main cause of poverty among immigrants is that many immigrants are unable to apply their education and work experience they gain from their home country to their new careers in Norway.
  7. The poverty among children is a direct cause of lower education rates. Most immigrant children end up failing at the workplace and struggling with the same poverty problem.
  8. Norway’s government has expressed a willingness to increase public spending from the sovereign wealth fund to help prevent a recession.

Although Norway is considered to be one of the wealthiest countries in Europe, poverty is still a problem in the country, especially among immigrants. The Norwegian government will need to pay more attention to immigrants’ living conditions in the future in order to make changes and reduce the poverty rate in Norway.

Mike Liu

Common Diseases in Norway

Norway, a country in northern Europe, is known for its beautiful landscapes and happy population. While the country is commonly mentioned as one of the happiest countries in the world, it too faces the plight of disease just like the rest of the world. Here are some of the most common diseases in Norway.

1. Ischemic Heart Disease
Known as the most common cause of death in the Western world, ischemic heart disease is a shortage of blood supply. In its less severe form it is felt as angina, but as the disease gets worse, plaque begins to cover the wall of the artery, leading to a heart attack.

2. Alzheimer’s Disease
A type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior, Alzheimer’s disease is the second most common cause of death in Norway. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia and begins to affect adults around the age of 65. In the early stages of the disease, those inflicted experience memory loss, but as it continues on it becomes difficult for them to keep up with a conversation or respond to the environment around them.

3. Cerebrovascular Disease
Encompassing different types of afflictions, cerebrovascular disease refers to any disorder in which the brain is affected by bleeding. The various conditions include stroke, carotid stenosis, vertebral stenosis and other diseases.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is a disease that affects millions of people all around the world. This term is one that describes several conditions including emphysema, chronic bronchitis, asthma and forms of bronchiectasis. While many people have subtle symptoms such as breathlessness and coughing that are a normal part of aging, these can be the first signs of more serious pulmonary issues.

5. Lung Cancer
One of the most common cancers in the world, lung cancer is a leading cause of death in Norway. Most of the time, lung cancer is caused by behavior choices, such as smoking. Other risk factors include high levels of pollution, radiation and asbestos exposure.

While many of the most common diseases in Norway are ones that come naturally as we get older, some of them, such as lung cancer, are ones most commonly brought about by behavioral and environmental choices.

Olivia Hayes

Photo: Flickr

Why Is the Cost of Living in Norway So High?
With its capital, Oslo, ranked as the 59th most expensive city in the world, Norway is anything but cheap. The high cost of living in Norway is a result of its egalitarian social system, which relies on a value-added tax system and minimal variations between incomes among its citizens to sustain its unique economy and socioeconomic structure. However, the social welfare system provided by the Norwegian government as well as the low unemployment rate in Norway are the positive results of the pricey standard of living.

A key feature that defines the high cost of living in Norway is the increased tax rate. From income tax (starting at 28 percent) to value-added tax, Norway’s tax structure strengthens its egalitarian social system. One of the benefits of using this type of social system is that there is a very minimal differentiation between incomes in Norway. This prevents wage-gaps and renders social classes in Norway to practically nonexistent.

While inadequate pay for minimum wage is a problem among many developed countries, Norway has abandoned this concept all together. Most citizens in different employments sectors, from education to food service, earn a living wage. Although this boosts the price of common goods significantly, it also ensures that Norway’s working class does not become impoverished. This socioeconomic ideology is responsible for reducing Norway’s unemployment rate to a minuscule 3.4 percent.

Education, health care and transportation in Norway are all subsidized by the government. High taxes provide for quality public services. This is especially evident in health care for Norwegian families; cash-for-care benefits, as well as free prenatal visits, including maternal and paternal leave, are all covered by the Norwegian government.

Mutual functionalism between Norway’s citizens and government not only allows its economy to thrive but its democratic process too as well. By rewarding workforce participation with quality social welfare, the Nordic model is an economic solution to ensure societal development. Although the cost of living in Norway may seem inopportune at first glance, there is no doubt that the Norwegian social system provides exceptional benefits for its citizens.

Kaitlin Hocker
Photo: Flickr

Human Rights in Norway

Norway is a small Scandinavian country with a population of approximately 4.9 million. It is a parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy, and a range of political parties operate freely there.

Recent reports on human rights in Norway show it is one of the best countries for political, civil and individual rights except a few minor, worrying trends in immigration and the rights of religious minorities. “Norway has ranked first on the UN Development Program’s Human Development Index for 12 of the last 15 years, and it consistently tops international comparisons in such areas as democracy, civil and political rights, and freedom of expression and the press.”

Below is a breakdown of characteristic details of human rights in Norway in the past couple of years.

Political pluralism: Norway’s Constitution promotes political pluralism and guarantees it in practice. All political parties from a range of ideological backgrounds participate freely in elections. The country’s political freedom is such that the indigenous Sami population, “the only group in Scandinavia recognized as an indigenous people by international conventions,” has its own legislature, the Sameting, which works to protect the language and political, cultural and economic rights of the group.

Press freedom: Freedom of the press is constitutionally guaranteed and protected in public life. The government subsidizes the majority of newspapers, although private and partisan, in an effort to promote political pluralism and democracy. Citizens’ digital rights are respected. Internet access is free and unimpeded. There is respect for academic freedom, and private discussions are free and vibrant.

The freedom of belief: The freedom of religion is constitutionally guaranteed and respected in practice. Norway is a secular country where the church and the state were separated by a 2012 constitutional amendment. All religious beliefs enjoy freedom, but lately, there is seemingly a rise in anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim violence and harassment.

In 2015, a new special police unit in Oslo – founded to strengthen efforts against hate crimes – reviewed 143 crimes, roughly double the number reviewed in 2014. “In June of this year, Norway became the first Nordic country to propose a ban on the burqa -full face and body covering- in kindergartens, schools and universities.”

Although according to the Huffington Post “very very few” of three percent of Norway’s Muslim population, or roughly 150,000 individuals, wear a niqab – the veil that covers the face, showing only the eyes – it still is a matter of civilian liberty and has to be dealt with accordingly. In August 2015, the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination criticized the country for lack of a comprehensive approach to halt these crimes, as it scars the overall picture of human rights in Norway.

Associational/organizational rights: The Norwegian constitution guarantees the rights to assembly and protest. In 2015, following a terrorist attack on a synagogue, hundreds of Norwegians made a “ring of peace” around an Oslo Synagogue to show solidarity with the Jewish community. The right to assembly and strike is guaranteed to labor organizations/unions and workers except for senior civil servants and the military.

Immigration: Like many other European countries, Norway has seen a surge in the immigration in recent years as it has increased fivefold since the 1970s. “In 2015, Norway received asylum applications from 31,000 people, primarily from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan; this was a significant increase from the 11,000 applications received in 2014.” The country is witnessing the rise of anti-immigration right-wing politics. Consequently, the controversial practice of refoulment, which the international law forbids, continued in 2015, affecting more than 1,000 people.

Prisoners’ rights: Norway is known globally for its radical humaneness toward prisoners. The incarceration rate is among the lowest in the world at 75 persons per 100,000. In the U.S., it is 10 times higher. There is no death penalty nor lifetime imprisonment, and the maximum sentence for most crimes is 21 years. Norway’s recidivism rate of 20 percent is one of the lowest in the world. However, the country’s capacity has not been sufficient with more than 1,000 prisoners waiting to serve their sentences in recent years.

Individual rights: Norway is also one of the best countries for personal autonomy. Citizens from the European Union do not need a permit to work in Norway. The Gender Equality Act provides equal rights for both men and women. Conscription in armed forces is gender-neutral according to a law that took effect in 2015. In 2013, women won 40 percent of seats in parliament. A gender-neutral marriage act passed in 2009 granted Norwegian same-sex couples identical rights as opposite-sex couples, including in adoption and assisted pregnancies.

Given its credible record in the past, it is very likely that the strong presence of NGOs and civil society networks with the cooperation of government, will strengthen efforts to redress discriminatory practices because they are a threat to pluralism and the positive image of human rights in Norway.

Aslam Kakar

Photo: Flickr

Norway RefugeesNorway is a country in Northern Europe that is home to about 5,196,000 people. It is not part of the European Union because of its strong economy. With the recent influx of refugees to Europe, Norway had to determine how to manage those coming into the country.

10 Facts About Refugees in Norway

  1. Out of all the countries that make up Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland), Norway has a stricter approach when it comes to accepting refugees. Norway attempted to pose limitations in several ways to thin the flow of refugees to the country.
  2. Some measures the government took to decrease the amount of refugees include deporting those who are deemed a threat to security, and building a steel fence to stop refugees from crossing the border.
  3. In 2015, Norway experienced a large increase in asylum-seekers. More than 30,000 refugees came to Norway, and more than half of them were Syrian. Norway refugees also consist of Iraqis, Afghans, Sudanese, Somalis and Eritreans. Currently, refugees represent 3.6 percent of the Norwegian population.
  4. Since 2016, Norway is building a steel fence at the Arctic border with Russia to keep out refugees. In 2015, 5,500 refugees used this border in order to cross over into Norway. The border fence will be 660 feet long and 11 feet high. The border fence was met with criticism from refugees’ rights groups, and it reflects the tension that exists between asylum-seekers and members of the Norwegian population.
  5. To get to Norway through the Arctic border, people seeking refuge used a legal loophole. Russian border police do not permit people to cross the border while walking, and Norwegian border police do not allow cars to come through unless the driver has proper paper identification. Therefore, refugees made the crossing by riding bicycles. Refugees who used this loophole are under threat of deportation.
  6. Norway refugees typically arrive through two methods: crossing the Mediterranean by boat or going through Russia.
  7. After the shocking amount of refugees that Norway received in 2015, it developed more stringent controls on their borders and ID checks. Norway also offered $2,300 to refugees who choose to return to their own countries. This made the number of asylum seekers in Norway drop by 95 percent.
  8. Refugees entering the country are required to take “culture coding classes.” If they do not attend these classes, their benefits are cut. These classes were set up after there were a number of rapes committed by refugees. The classes focus on topics like gender, consent, communicating with the opposite sex, boundaries, domestic violence and what to do if you witness a sexual assault. Although these classes were criticized for stigmatizing refugees, many refugees appear to react positively to the classes, seeing them as a way to ease their integration into Norwegian society and better understand the different cultural norms.
  9. Despite Norway’s restrictions on asylum seekers, the country is very generous with the aid it provides to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). In fact, in 2016, it became the UNHCR’s largest donor per capita and the seventh largest donor among all countries. Norway also is the fourth largest donor of non-earmarked support.
  10. Norway strongly invests in UNHCR’s education programs for refugee children and in resettlement programs.

Anna Gargiulo

Photo: Flickr

Due to the increasing urgency of the refugee crisis, many countries are adjusting their immigration policies. Norway has long been hailed as one of the most open countries in terms of accepting refugees and providing aid for war-torn countries such as Syria. However, after a huge influx of immigrants in 2015, Norway has begun tightening its borders. In order better to understand the changes in the country’s policies, here are 10 facts about refugees in Norway:

  1. After World War II, an independent Norwegian organization called the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) became one of the greatest advocates for displaced people and working with national governments. In 2015 alone, the NRC assisted more than 5.4 million displaced people.
  2. In 2016, Norway contributed one of the largest pledges of humanitarian aid aimed at helping Syrian refugees. The small country pledged $1.2 billion dollars ($240 per person) toward four years of funding.
  3. Norway has a history of emphasizing humanitarian efforts regarding both donations and admitting refugees from foreign countries. Since 2013, Norway has granted citizenship to over 260 percent of its “fair share” of Syrian refugees based on an estimation by Red Cross and Red Crescent groups.
  4. Norway has been increasing its focus on ensuring that refugees integrate into society smoothly by assessing their access to education and the workforce. A large component of this assessment includes observing and treating the mental health of immigrants, many of whom suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, major depressive disorder and other mental illnesses.
  5. Norway has recently tightened restrictions on refugee immigration. In 2015, these restrictions resulted in a sharp decline in the number of refugees entering the country.
  6. Recently, asylum centers have been facing closures since the number of immigrants has dropped steadily since its peak in 2015.
  7. In 2017 thus far, Norway has experienced the lowest number of refugees seeking asylum since 1997. Many Norwegians believe this can be attributed to the recent increase in immigration restrictions.
  8. As of 2015, 3.6 percent of Norway’s population was comprised of refugees living legally. These refugees come from over 169 countries. A large majority of these refugees are from Bosnia and Herzegovina and were granted protection in the early 1990s.
  9. The Norwegian government has made headlines for its criticism of U.S. President Trump’s policies on the refugee crisis. Foreign Minister Brende tweeted: “Norway strongly believes that refugees should receive equal treatment regardless of religion, nationality or race. Hence, concerned [about] U.S. policy.”
  10. Like an increasing number of U.S. colleges and universities, the University of Oslo (UIO) has made its stance on the refugee crisis clear. The UIO website states its academic policies as well as their newly implemented efforts to welcome student refugees and asylum seekers.

Essentially, these 10 facts about refugees in Norway highlight that, despite the country’s massive funding of foreign aid, there are currently 65 million displaced refugees with nowhere to go. Additionally, many refugees in Norway are not yet capable of entering the workforce or educational system. This means that Norway faces the challenge of finding a solution for integrating refugees into its society while maintaining its reputation as an asylum.

Julia Morrison

Photo: Flickr

 Poverty in Norway

The European Union (EU) definition of the poverty line are those individuals making 60 percent of the national median earnings — for Norway, that would be about $17,000 a year. Using the EU definition, about 10 percent of Norwegians were considered below the relative poverty line in 2006, two years before the 2008 recession hit. Here are seven facts about poverty in Norway.

7 Facts About Poverty in Norway

  1. The Borgen Project had the opportunity to speak with Researcher Sindre Bangstad of the Frisch Institute in Oslo. He states: “A number of recent studies have shown that socio-economic inequalities continue to rise in Norway. Inequality is due to extensive tax cuts for the wealthiest five percent under the present right-wing government.”
  2. Aside from tax cuts, Norway provides a massive amount of social welfare programs and many regular citizens are able to find help. According to the “Inequality of Opportunity Index,” first put forth by Fransisco Ferreira of the World Bank, only two percent of Norwegians can attribute the lack of social mobility to a factor such as race, gender, birthplace, or disability.
  3. The young and old are both at risk. While inequality hurts youth, especially immigrant youth, the elderly are also facing economic hardships. Norway still needs to pay out the services promised to the older population. The elderly receive a good amount of benefits and make up a smaller percentage of the population in poverty. Contraceptive use is high and keeps birth rates low, so new generations are not as large as their predecessors. Only one in 200 children of Norwegian parents live under the poverty line.
  4.  At the same time, four in 10 immigrant children live in poverty in Norway. According to the CIA World Factbook, more than 27,000 refugees reside in Norway, who arrived from Eritrea, Somalia and Afghanistan. “Poverty is increasingly racialized in that children of immigrants are much more likely to grow up in poverty than children of white Norwegians born here,” Bangstad said.
  5. Many people facing economic trouble are centered in urban areas. Homelessness is a growing concern as housing prices remain high. With the wind, the temperature can be negative 15 degrees Celsius at night. People use shrubbery, churchyards, or sheds as toilets. Norway recently passed a law banning street beggars along with giving municipalities the power to begin making other regulations.
  6. The country’s welfare model makes social programs reliant on oil tax revenue. The decline of oil is a pressing concern for policymakers. According to the CIA World Factbook, this sector comprises nine percent of Norwegian jobs, 15 percent of its GDP and 39 percent of its exports.
  7. Norway has built up the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, stockpiling more than $800 billion. The budget each year is projected to use only four percent of those funds. The Norwegian government said it is willing to increase public spending to avoid a recession but provides many amenities to its citizens already. Perhaps something as simple as offering increased access or outreach to those who need such amenities could boost productivity and halt progress towards an economic recession.

Poverty looks similar and different across the globe. Norway still has challenges to overcome but has a government that continually works for its people. The current problem for social welfare programs fighting poverty in Norway may be hard to solve, but luckily the stockpile the country has accumulated can buy time for all its citizens to continue working towards a more sustainable future.


Michael Rose

Photo: Flickr

Norway is a highly developed country with flourishing technological advancements and a robust economy. According to current statistics, Norway is ranked number one in the top fifteen most developed countries in the world.

Norway has a human development index of 0.944 and the country’s economy is very diverse with a mix of natural resources and exports. The country has a strongly integrated welfare system that places it at the top of all other countries in the world.

Hunger in Norway is virtually nonexistent, and the country generally lends support and aid to other countries that experience hunger. Norway has recently doubled its allocations to hunger disasters in countries like Sudan, Yemen, Somalia and northeastern Nigeria.

Norway encourages humanitarian efforts for countries experiencing hunger, and due to the country’s position and lack of poverty, Norway closely monitors funds so that they can offer further support.

The Norwegian government, as well as non-government organizations and stakeholders, actively seek to assist countries by measuring levels of hunger and giving support to countries that need relief.

There is very little hunger in Norway due to the country having a strong welfare state, acting as a stabilizer to its economy by allowing individual autonomy.

This has made Norway a shining star that continues to offer hunger relief to the U.N., Red Cross and World Food Programme in the reduction of hunger and the eradication of poverty. These organizations have relied heavily on Norway to respond quickly to the needs of millions of people in need during times of conflict and natural disaster.

Since there is not hunger in Norway, the country is able to enjoy happiness while offering opportunities to partner with many organizations to follow their model of success. Norway is an example of a country without hunger that continues to guide other poor and developing countries.

Rochelle R. Dean

Photo: Flickr