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| Published in Education in the World | Written by Irene Adler

Why Norwegian Educational System Is the Best in Europe

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Known for its natural beauty, Norway also has a deep history and rich culture. The public educational system in Norway is one of the best and the most popular in Europe. Thousands of foreign students come to The Kingdom of Norway every year not just to gain a degree, but also to get quality knowledge and practice received skills during the studying process.

It’s a welcoming country with the population of more than 5 million citizens which is ready to be explored by new learners and offers high educational standards for their convenience.

The Norwegian educational system consists of all the institutions that are accredited and in the majority state-run. In 2003, the country began to be the part of Bologna process in Europe that involves Bachelor, Master, and Ph.D. degrees. In this case, with the new educational reform it has become easily for students of all grades to get recognition for their specialization in other countries. The academic year usually lasts from August to June. All courses are measured in credits or studiepoeng according to standards of European Credit Transfer System (ECTS).

Norwegian schools

In Norway, every kid between the ages of 6 – 16 has to attend the school. There are three educational levels at school: Barneskole (primary school), Ungdomsskole (lower secondary school) and Videregående skole (upper secondary school). All public studying is totally free and different municipal corporations are responsible for effective functioning of local public schools. For example, according to the new reform many municipalities give pupils, who are learning IT in upper secondary school, free laptops for their needs. The language of education is Norwegian, but, of course, there are special foreign language classes.

Children start their primary school education at 6 years old and complete it at the age of 13. In the first grade, they usually play different kinds of educational games and gain basic social skills. From the second to the seventh grade, pupils learn numerous subjects: from English and math to social studies. Important to mention, that kids don’t get official grades during this stage. Instead of this, teachers write brief comments or unofficial grades to demonstrate the progress. (This post: "Life Behind the Studies: 5 Fun Traditions at Princeton" can be interesting for you too.)

What about lower secondary school? Commonly kids go there at the age of 13 and studying for three years. During this period, pupils must get good marks to attend upper secondary school. At the 8th grade, children have to pick valgfag or elective that is foreign languages or additional Norwegian studies. Also, there are particularly no jobs available for teenagers who graduate lower secondary school, so they have to take three additional years of facultative schooling in upper secondary school.

It is interesting to know that upper secondary school is separated from a lower secondary school. So kids have to enroll again and start upper secondary at a new school. Norwegian law kept private schools in illegal position until 2005 when these schools provided religious and pedagogic education to their programs.

New opportunities for foreign students

The Kingdom of Norway provides the truly unique educational experience to all international students who come abroad. Moreover, they receive not only specializations according to their preferences, but also have an opportunity to take part in dynamic outdoor activities, have fun at cultural epicenters of student cities and just live in the stunning environment.

It’s worth remembering, that even if you have a chance to study for free in Norway, you still have to pay for living in a country that is quite expensive. But for this money, you get very high standards of living. Furthermore, students are permitted to have a free healthcare if they’re staying in Norway for more than 3 months. Also, there are special discounts for international students, especially in the student-focused places: from public transport to leisure activities.

Foreign students from outside the EU are allowed to work for about 20 hours per week during the semester and full-time during breaks. There is an excellent opportunity for international students from developing nations to win a scholarship. The level of competition is immense, so it’s better to apply for it as earlier as possible if you want to become one of the 1,100 lucky winners that are awarded by Norwegian government each year.