Education in NorwayAccording to the World Bank, Norway’s poverty rate stood at approximately 13% in 2019 and, in 2021, the unemployment rate stood at just 4%. Norway has made commitments to reducing poverty by prioritizing education in the nation. Education in Norway is also key to maintaining high employment rates. In 2018, Norway spent 7.6% of its GDP on education, exceeding the recommended allocation of 4-6%.

More About Education in Norway

Education in Norway is state-supported and even college is cost-free. Students in Norway generally go through three levels of education before the college level:

  1. Elementary school (ages 6-13)
  2. Lower secondary school (ages 13-16)
  3. Upper secondary school or “high school” (ages 16-19)

Attending primary and lower secondary school is compulsory in Norway and high school is “a statutory right.” There is no upper age limit to entering high school, but most students start at age 16. According to statistics from 2019, about 80% of Norwegians have completed upper secondary education, which is higher than the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) average.

Different Types of Learning for Different People

There are several options for education in Norway, depending on one’s background and needs. Below are some of these options:

  • Adult learning. Adults ages 25 and older have the right to finish upper secondary school and/or vocational training as well as the right to have an education program custom-fit to their needs. Additionally, “for newly arrived immigrants,” the state provides classes in social studies and the Norwegian language. According to the OECD in 2004, Norway had one of the highest vocational training participation rates among European countries.
  • Folk schools. Norway also has the option of folk schools. Folk schools are for learners who want to focus on a specific subject and put their learning into practice. There are no tests or curricula and teachers do not give grades. Students are eligible to attend these schools after finishing high school. However, for folk schools, students have to pay room and board and purchase any required learning supplies.
  • The Qualification Program. The Qualification Program, a two-year program introduced in 2007 that is still active today, helps build vocational skills for people who are “at risk of prolonged unemployment.” By working with a counselor, the program is personalized for the individual’s needs. Participants may also receive benefits, financial aid, holiday entitlements and childcare assistance.

The more educated a population is, the less likely they are to experience poverty. When personalized approaches to education are available, learners can focus their studies on what is most important for them and advance their natural skills and abilities, thereby improving employability.


The systems of education in Norway are diverse. In fact, the country has some of the most socio-economically diverse schools in the world. Norway is also doing well with regard to closing the gender gap, ensuring equitable access to education and creating a diverse workforce. In 2017, the World Economic Forum ranked Norway as the most inclusive advanced economy in the world.

To further explain how education in Norway reduces class barriers, The Borgen Project interviewed Ingunn Jakobsen, a veteran senior high school teacher of English and Norwegian with 40 years of experience. Jakobsen states that every year, secondary schools evaluate their progress in terms of providing equal opportunities to all socioeconomic groups. She explains that these schools then “apply statistics where each school is measured in its contribution to [raising] pupils from lower income groups to a high-performing group of pupils.”

Regardless of what country workers live in, Indeed states that having a diverse workforce means a wider recruitment pool, better decision-making in the workplace, improved employee satisfaction and expanded profits.

Impact on Poverty Reduction

When education is made accessible to poor populations, it breaks the cycle of generational poverty by opening doors to greater employment opportunities. Additionally, learning skills such as reading, writing and math significantly increase marginalized groups’ incomes and strengthen the economy.

– Ava Ronning
Photo: Unsplash

Education in Norway
Public universities in Norway offer free tuition for all students, no matter their country of origin. These universities also offer high-quality education even though it has no cost. This has led students from around the world to seek an education in Norway.

Education in Norway involves the idea that all people should be able to receive a high-quality education, regardless of their socioeconomic status and background. This stems from Norway’s need for people with professional skills. Offering free education to all students provides them with the employees that they need.

Structure of Higher Education in Norway

There are four types of higher education in Norway. The first is a university college degree, which would allow those who receive one the ability to earn a bachelor’s degree. Its length is 120 ECTS, which are credits. The second is a bachelor’s degree, which is 180-240 ECTS. The third level is a master’s degree, which is 120-300 ECTS. Lastly, a Ph.D. is 180 ECTS and is the highest level of education. Many universities offer one-year programs, supplementary programs or short programs, which can be the basis for a branch of professional study. For example, some students choose to take part in these programs for a subject of professional studies, such as psychology.

Norway has also implemented a new system for degrees that follow the 3 + 2 + 3 pathway of a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and Ph.D. This system has made it easier for international students to study in Norway and maintain their qualifications in other countries.

Results of Norway’s System

People in Norway who have a college education are more likely to get a job and earn a higher salary after graduation. Adults with a bachelor’s degree earn 13% more than upper secondary graduates. Findings determined that adults with a bachelor’s degree participated in cultural and sporting activities more often. There is a 36% difference in participation between those with secondary education and those with tertiary education. As a whole, this system sets an example for other countries as it has a positive impact on the economy and individual citizen’s lives. Pursuing higher education is an influential decision that can shape the course of a person’s future.

Effect on Poverty Rate

One of the most beneficial results of free tuition is the increase in the college graduation rate. Many students struggle with earning enough money for their entire tuition. Therefore, they often can only attend part-time so that they can accommodate a job, or they drop out because they cannot afford the fees. Free tuition completely eliminates this problem and allows students to focus entirely on their studies.

Free education in Norway attracts more people to colleges, especially public universities. Many people globally do not even apply for college because they know that they would not be able to afford it. However, free tuition would give people the chance to attend. It is also difficult for some people to secure loans for their education, especially if tuition is expensive. Private lenders may be hesitant to give that much money to a young student since they are unsure if they will be able to pay it back. Free education stops students from having this worry and eliminates the possibility of crushing loan debt after graduation.

Lastly, free college in Norway ensures that the country’s citizens have more education. As more people become qualified for high-skilled jobs, they may have access to higher-paying careers. As a result, the wealth gap could decrease and lift people out of poverty.

– Miranda Kargol
Photo: Flickr

Top 10 facts about living conditions in Norway
The Northern European country of Norway is well-known for having high standards of living in terms of health care, education and in several other categories. These top 10 facts about living conditions in Norway presented in the text below highlight just how much the country has achieved to date.

Top 10 Facts About Living Conditions in Norway

  1. For 15 years in a row, the United Nations Human Development Report has ranked Norway as the best country in the world to live in. One of the reasons why Norway is ranked so high is due to the country’s investment in its citizens living long and healthy lives. This investment results in a high life expectancy, which is 82.3 years. This is especially impressive when comparing this statistic to the worldwide average life expectancy of 71.5 years.
  2. Norway is one of the leading countries in the world as it relates to clean air and water. About 96 percent of Norwegians stated they are satisfied with their water quality and the country has the largest sales of electric vehicles in the world. Many citizens in Norway (about 25 percent), were encouraged to purchase electric vehicles due to high taxes on gasoline.
  3. One downside to living in Norway is that the cost of living is relatively high compared to other countries. Having the highest gas prices in the world, coupled with heavy taxation on alcohol, food, clothing and many other items leads to Norway being an expensive country to reside in.
  4. Although the cost of living in Norway tends to be high, this is often balanced out by the average annual income of Norwegians. The Gross National Income (GNI) in Norway in 2018 ranked in first place worldwide at $68,012. Another factor worth mentioning is that minimum wages for entry-level positions range from $16 to $21 per hour, which is also quite high compared to other countries across the world.
  5. The main reason for the high taxation on items in Norway is to fund the universal and single-payer health care system. Regardless of income, every citizen and resident is covered under the plan. Norwegians also have the choice to pay out of pocket and travel to a foreign country for medical procedures, which is a common practice due to the fact that wait times for procedures can be several months.
  6. Norway once again has the percentage of adults with a four-year degree or better at 35 percent. One leading cause for this statistic could be due to the fact that public universities in Norway are tuition-free, even for international students.
  7. From 2011 to 2015, poverty rates in Norway increased from 7.2 percent to 9.3 percent. Citizens in the 18-34 age group and individuals with an immigrant background are impacted the most. Young children are also disproportionately affected by the increase in poverty rates as about 17.5 percent of children live in low-income households. Some have blamed this negative trend on tax regulations that negatively impact the poorest in Norway.
  8. One hardship in many countries is the debate on maternity and paternity leave. Some parents are forced to return to work shortly after their child is born for financial reasons. However, in Norway, mothers have the choice of either taking 35 weeks of maternity leave at full pay or 45 weeks with 80 percent pay. Fathers also have the choice to take up to 10 weeks of paternity leave.
  9. Norway is ranked among the top countries around the world with the highest employment rates. Norway’s employment rate averages out to 74.4 percent, in the same category with other European countries such as Denmark, Finland and Switzerland.
  10. The country is also hailed as one of the safest. In some countries, feeling safe and comfortable in one’s home can be a luxury. However, in Norway, about 88 percent of citizens in Norway stated they felt safe walking alone at night and the homicide rate is at a low 0.5 percent.

The top 10 facts about living conditions in Norway prove to be positive in most aspects. Although taxes are high, tuition-free public universities, lower cost of universal health care and a higher average annual salary balances this issue out. The higher than average life expectancy rate results from universal health care being easily accessible for all citizens, and how clean the water and air is in the country. Although one negative factor to point out is the increase of poverty rates, the Norwegian government strives to increase spending from its sovereign wealth fund to continue economic growth for the country.

– Maddison Hines
Photo: Pixabay