Primary Education age

Education in Norway

Education in Norway is mandatory for all children aged 6–16. The school year in Norway runs from mid August to late June the following year. The Christmas holiday from mid December to early January historically divides the Norwegian school year into two terms. Presently, the second term begins in the beginning of January.

History of education in Norway[edit]

Organized education in Norway dates as far back as medieval times. Shortly after Norway became an archdiocese in 1153, cathedral schools were constructed to educate priests in Trondheim, Oslo, Bergen and Hamar.

After the reformation of Norway in 1537, (Norway entered a personal union with Denmark in 1536) the cathedral schools were turned into Latin schools, and it was made mandatory for all market towns to have such a school.

In 1736 training in reading was made compulsory for all children, but was not effective until some years later. In 1827, Norway introduced the folkeskole (people's school), a primary school which became mandatory for 7 years in 1889 and 9 years in 1969. In the 1970s and 1980s, the folkeskole was abolished, and the grunnskole (foundation school) was introduced.

Education today[edit]

The Norwegian school system can be divided into three parts: Elementary school (Barneskole, ages 6–13), lower secondary school (Ungdomsskole, ages 13–16), and upper secondary school (Videregående skole, ages 16–19).

Elementary and lower secondary school are mandatory for all children aged 6–16. Before 1997, mandatory education in Norway started at the age of 7. Students almost always have to change school when they enter lower secondary school and upper secondary school, as most schools only offer one of the levels.

Primary school (Barneskole, Grades 1–7, ages 6–13)[edit]

In the first year of primary school, students spend most of their time playing educational games and learning social structures, the alphabet, basic addition and subtraction, and basic English skills. In Grades 2-7 (Years 3–8 or P3/4-S2/3), they are introduced to mathematics, English, science, religion (focusing not only on Christianity but also on all other religions, their purpose, and their history), aesthetics, and music, complemented by geography, history, and social studies in the fifth grade (Year 6 or P6/7). No official grades are given at this level. However, the teacher often writes a comment, analysis, and sometimes an unofficial grade on tests. Tests are to be taken home and shown to parents. There is also an introductory test to let the teacher know if the student is above average or is in need of some assistance at school.

Lower secondary school (Ungdomsskole, Grades 8-10, ages 13-16)[edit]

When the students enter lower secondary school, at age 12 or 13, they begin getting grades for their work. Their grades together with their location in the country will determine whether they get accepted to their high school of choice or not. From eighth grade (Yr 9 or S3/4), students can choose one elective (valgfag). Typical offered subjects are German, French, and Spanish as well as additional English and Norwegian studies. Before the educational reform of August 2006, students could choose a practical elective instead of the languages. Teens born in 1999 and later could once again choose a practical elective upon starting lower secondary school, thus getting the option to choose two electives.

A student may take the Grade 10 exam in a particular subject early as long as he or she has been granted an exemption from further instruction in the elementary/middle school curriculum of that subject.

In 2009, Norwegian fifteen-year-olds performed better in OECDs Programme for International Student Assessment than other Scandinavian countries, with significant improvement since 2006. In mathematics, however, the top scoring 10% were estimated to lag three years behind the top scoring students in Shanghai.

Upper secondary school (Videregående skole, Grades VG1-VG3, ages 16-19)[edit]

Upper secondary school (akin to high school) is three years of optional schooling, although recent changes to society (few jobs available for the age group) and law (government required by law of 1994 to offer secondary schooling in one form or another to everyone between the ages of 16 and 24 who submits the application form) have made it largely unavoidable in practice.

Secondary education in Norway is primarily based on public schools: In 2007, 93% of upper secondary school students attended public schools. Until 2005, Norwegian law held private secondary schools to be illegal unless they offered a "religious or pedagogic alternative", so the only private schools in existence were religious (Christian), Steiner/Waldorf, Montessori schools, and Danielsen. The first "standard" private upper secondary schools opened in the fall of 2005.


Interesting facts:

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