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Education System of Norway

Norway boasts of one of the best education system in the world with 100% literacy rate and ranks among the top 20 of world’s best Education system. One of the most important contributing factors for this is “Universal Schooling” policy.  As per the policy,  children and adults have equal right to education and training in the country irrespective of their nationality, gender, social and financial background. The initial 10yrs of education being mandatory.

Universities and state run colleges do not charge any tuition fees from any of its student, be it Norwegian or foreign national. Furthermore, Norwegian universities and colleges offer variety  courses ranging from vocational subjects to conventional graduate and post graduate programs to more typical doctoral programs in various fields. This gives students  flexibility to  select program of their  choice.

With high quality education, zero tuition fees and variety  in program selection combined with the scenic natural beauty, friendly culture, and safe living (see the Note below) makes Norway a much sought after destination amongst the international students.

Interesting to know

In fact Norway is the “Second best place to live in the world” as per the recent study conducted by United Nations (U.N.) and published in their “World Happiness Report 2013”. 

Currently, more than 20,000 foreign students are studying in Norway.

Governing Body

In Norway, it is the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research (Norwegian term: Kunnskapsdepartementet), a Norwegian Government Ministry, that controls and administers the entire education system of the country starting from Kindergarten till University education. Additionally, the Ministry is also responsible for administering all the research-based activities in the country like research policy formulations, research funding, etc

Education System Structure

The Norwegian Education System can be broadly categorized into two parts: School Education and Higher Education.

The Norwegian School System is classified into:

Kindergarten(Barnehage): It is for the children upto the age of 5. Though not compulsory, kindergarten is often seen by several Norwegians as the first stepping stones of a child towards school environment before the child is formally admitted in Primary School at the age of 6.

Primary School(Barneskole): It targets the children in the age group 6-13yrs; the child being admitted in grade 1 at the age of 6. The primary school cover  grades from 1-7 and is a part of  “compulsory 10-Year Education” norm of Norway Education Policy

Lower Secondary School(Ungdomsskole): It covers the grade from 8-10, the children being usually admitted at age of 12 or 13 in grade 8. It is also a part of ”Compulsory 10-Year Education” in the country

Upper Secondary School(Videregaende skole)l: Students are entitled for admission in “Upper Secondary School” after completing primary and lower secondary education.  It is usually of three years and consists of both general studies and vocational education programs.

Higher Education System

The education imparted after three years of “Upper Secondary Education” is termed as the “Higher Education” and it normally lasts for “3years or more”. The usual eligibility criterion is by passing under “General Studies Stream” in the upper secondary school. There is an alternative to the mentioned eligibility criterion, it is called “23/5 law”. As per this law any person who satisfies the following criteria is  eligible to enroll himself/herself to a higher education program:
  •  The person having age of 23 years or above.
  •  The person having total of 5 years combined experience of schooling and work experience.  
  •  The person having passed exams in English, Norwegian, natural sciences, mathematics, and social studies.
The higher education is broadly categorized into:
  • Universities: Usually provide educational degrees, Bachelor, Master and PhD, on the theoretical subjects like Arts, Humanities and Life Sciences.
  • University Colleges: Usually provide degrees, Bachelor, Master and PhD, in professional courses like various Engineering streams (Electrical, Electronics, Mechanical, etc) and Vocational Streams (Nurse, Teaching, etc).
  • Private Institutions: Usually provide various degree programs in specialized areas like Business Management, Fine Arts, Marketing, etc.

English Language Proficiency Test

In Norway, the primary medium of instruction is Norwegian. However, with large influx of international students, more and more courses are being taught in English also.
Below you can find a brief overview on general requirements for English language proficiency test. The Institute may have some additional requirements too that you can find by visiting that specific institute’s website.

Applicant must have to prove his or her proficiency in English language by clearing one or more of the following exams with specified criteria:
  •  Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a minimum score of 500 (paper based) or 170 (computer based).
  •  International English Language Testing Service (IELTS) with a minimum score of 5.0.
  •  Advanced Placement International English Language examination (APIEL) with a minimum score of 3.0.
  •  Universities of Cambridge/Oxford: - First Certificate in English – Certificate in Advanced English – Certificate of Proficiency
However, the following categories of applicants are exempted from appearing in English proficiency test:
  •  Applicants from countries under European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) and/or the Council of Europe/UNESCO-Cepes, who have studied English as their first foreign language for at least 7 years at compulsory/upper secondary school.
  •  Applicants who have a Bachelor’s degree with English as the language of instruction.
  •  Applicants who have passed an A-level examination in English.
  •  Applicants who have completed one year of academic studies at a college or an university in an English-speaking country (Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, Ireland, United Kingdom).
  •  Applicants who have majored in English at undergraduate level.

Fees and Scholarships

Since there is no tuition fees for attending public higher .However, the students need to pay a small amount of fees typically in the range NOK 300-500 per semester towards student welfare organization. A student welfare organization takes care of services such as housing, dining, and some health care services amongst others for students.

Optionally, students can also apply for financial aid from the Norwegian State Educational Loan Fund. It can be in the form of scholarship schemes, educational loans or various fellowship programs.
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