NTB, Dagen (March 15, 2013)
On March 15th, the government of Norway released a white paper report proposing that education be made more practical and relevant. The report, titled “On the Right Path: Quality and Diversity in Public Schools,” calls for students to have greater freedom to move subjects between grade levels, and between academic and workplace settings. Vocational education is under review for ways in which it can produce students who are better prepared for professional work, thereby yielding a greater impact on the labor market. In order to ensure that the curriculum meets the needs of the students, the government will appoint a committee to assess the extent to which today’s school subjects cover competencies and skills the students require.
In addition to vocational training, the government aims to focus on issues related to multicultural diversity of the population, such as bilingualism, by teaching democratic principles such as tolerance and inclusion, and introducing early intervention for children in kindergarten programs tailored to their needs. In particular, nursery staff will need to have expertise in multilingual education, and teachers will need to be prepared to introduce Norwegian as a second language and adapt instruction in all subjects. Newly arrived students of all ages will be assessed for language skills and receive customized training programs on the primary and secondary level. In addition, newly arrived adults who do not speak the language will be eligible for prolonged second language training.
The latest calls for improving the educational system in Norway follow a series of reforms over the past ten years that included the development of national tests and other means of monitoring the performance of the educational system. While that emphasis reflects rising demands for accountability around the world, in an article in the latest issue of the Journal of Educational Change and a previous blog post, IEN editor Thomas Hatch argues that the Norwegian reforms demonstrate a different approach. Rather than relying primarily on rewards and consequences, Hatch shows how the Norwegian reforms attempt to balance the need for individual accountability with efforts to foster individual and collective responsibility.
For more information:
*links in Norwegian