NTB, Dagen (March 15, 2013)
Minister Kristin Halvorsen get much praise even from opposition parties, the message of reform in secondary school. The image is from the University of Bergen, where she presented the research report last week Photo: Marit Hommedal / NTB Scanpix
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
New impetus for future artisans
Commentary: The dance over Norwegian youth
Marianne Aasen, photo: Arne Ove Bergo
Opening for student evaluation of teacher effectiveness (original article in Norwegian)
Espen Løkeland-Stai, Dagsagisven (September 15, 2012)
On Wednesday, September 19th, Norwegian Labour Party leader and head of the Education Committee in Parliament, Marianne Aasen, will propose a new teacher evaluation process that is systemic and standardized at the national level. Aasen will propose that evaluations of students decrease, while evaluations of teachers increase. In the end, she hopes the overall number of tests will be cut down.
Aasen believes these evaluations will need to be targeted and necessary, indicating that the current system suffers from varying quality of both the collection of data and the information that is actually used. They will also include student surveys of teacher performance.
Mimi Bjerkestrand photo: Linda Cartridge
Aasen, noting the current conflict at the heart of the teacher strikes in Chicago, does not want to introduce incentives such as teacher pay that is linked to student performance. She believes evaluations must be developed in consultation with teachers. Mimi Bjerkestrand, leader of Utdanningsforbundet (the Teachers Union), agrees. She sees the teaching situation as more complex and complicated than teacher performance, but believes that a thorough review is necessary. Bjerkestrand hopes the emphasis is on new information that will improve institutions, and not the rank and competition between schools.
For more information:
In 2004, Norway introduced the National Quality System (NKVS) for all schools.
A new strategy for lower secondary school
Ministry of Education (15 May 2012)
For the first time in 40 years, the Ministry of Education has released a white paper on strategies for developing lower secondary education in Norway. The aim is to enhance motivation and learning outcomes for all students. The strategy plan runs from school year 2012/13 through 2016/17.
The curricula for the following eight new electives will be ready in June:
– stage and performance
– media and information
– production of goods and services
– physical activity and health
– design and redesign
– practical research
– practical technology
– international cooperation
GNIST – “Do You Have It in You?” Campaign
The Norwegian government has invested in attracting high-quality teacher candidates since it passed GNIST in 2008. This link leads to an interactive promotional video. Here are the instructions in English:
1) Decide to do this for a friend (“en venn”) or yourself (“meg”).
2) Upload a picture from Facebook or your PC.
3) Type in your/your friend’s name and indicate gender – woman (“kvinne”) or man (“mann”).
4) Click the “Se filmen” (See video) button.
5) When loaded to year 2069 mouse-over timeline on bottom screen right hand side. There you may select English subtitles from a pop-up menu.
Successful teacher recruitment campaign in Norway
Mellingsæter, H. Aftenposten (16 March 2012)
A recent statistical study shows that the status of the teacher profession is increasing in Oslo, the capital of Norway. The study is part of the daring and ambitious teacher recruitment campaign GNIST (SPARK).
The GNIST campaign for the teaching profession was initiated in 2008. It is based on a concern that policies were not sufficiently directed towards ensuring enough well-qualified teachers in Norwegian schools. GNIST is a partnership agreement between a number of stakeholders, including: teacher education institutions, school owners (municipal and county governments), unions and the national authorities. Partnership objectives were to increase the quality and status of the teaching profession, teacher education, and school leadership.
One aim of the partnership has been to develop reliable indicators of status and quality and to measure progress. The latest indicator report shows that there has been a strong positive shift in media coverage of the teacher profession and teacher education between 2008 and 2011. There has also been an increased attractiveness in the teacher profession in target groups during the same period, and a 45 percent increase in recruitment to teacher education between 2008 and 2011.