The education sector will receive NOK 1.9 billion in extra funding in 2013. This will result in: lower prices at kindergartens; additional places at universities and university colleges being maintained; more teachers at secondary schools; and investment to raise the quality of kindergartens, schools, higher education and research. The NOK 1.9 billion comes on top of a NOK 318 million increase in Norway’s contribution to the EU framework programmes for research. Overall, the budget proposal represents a 2.2 per cent real-terms increase in funding for research.
- I am delighted that the government is giving such high priority to the education sector in 2013, says Kristin Halvorsen, the Minister of Education and Research. -Investing in the early years, which means having good kindergartens and providing additional resources for primary and lower secondary schools, makes it more likely that students will complete their education. Education is absolutely vital to the development of a welfare society, and is one of the keys to Norway remaining competitive, emphasises Halvorsen.
The government will continue to prioritise research in 2013, with overall funding rising 2.2 per cent in real terms. In total, NOK 27.4 billion will be spent on research and development in 2013. In real terms, funding in 2013 will be 32 per cent, or NOK 6.7 billion, higher than in 2005, which represents a very substantial increase.
The government plans to raise the amount it spends on international research cooperation by around NOK 440 million in 2013.
There will also be a NOK 47 million increase in funding for climate research, which means a total of NOK 425 million for that field in 2013.
The government proposes allocating NOK 75 million in initial funding for a new ice-class research vessel based in Tromsø.
The higher education sector
Higher education is a priority area for the government, and in 2013 it wants to invest in improving quality. The amount of funding provided through the Ministry of Education and Research’s budget for higher education will go up by NOK 1.45 billion from 2012 to 2013, which in real terms is an increase of two per cent.
An additional NOK 290 million in funding will enable new cohorts of students to benefit from the additional places created in 2011 and 2012, and make it possible to further expand the number of places in 2013. This will raise the total number of places at higher education institutions by around 3,250 in 2013. Over the period 2006-2017, the red-green coalition will have added around 23,400 new places. This represents close to NOK 2.5 billion in extra funding for the sector, making it the biggest investment in higher education in recent decades.
– The government proposes allocating NOK 18.5 million to allow work to start on the refurbishment of “Urbygningen”, the main building at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. The project, which has a total budget of NOK 370 million, is due for completion in 2015. In addition, the government proposes allocating NOK 940 million to six ongoing construction projects in the higher education sector, as well as NOK 147.5 million on equipment, fixtures and fittings for three of those buildings.
– The government proposes allocating NOK 30 million over the next three years to safeguard the unique Viking ship collections at the University of Oslo’s Museum of Cultural History.
– Funding for student accommodation will remain high, allowing around 1,000 new units to be added in 2013.
Funding for kindergartens will increase by more than NOK 760 million. Between 2003 and 2013, the real-terms increase in funding for kindergartens will have been NOK 19 billion. In real terms, the parental contribution will be reduced, by keeping the maximum contribution at the same level as last year (NOK 2,330 per month). Furthermore, the government proposes spending a total of NOK 154 million on recruitment, research and staff training for kindergartens, which is NOK 20 million more than in 2012.
Primary and lower secondary education
The proposal is to increase overall funding for primary and lower secondary education by just over NOK 480 million.
– The government wants to make lower secondary school education more practical and varied, in part by improving working methods. As part of this drive, it will allocate NOK 157 million to raising teacher numbers for a four-year period. This trial programme will be used to garner experience and to collect evidence on the impact of additional teachers, and will involve investing NOK 1.5 billion over the next four years.
– At lower secondary schools, optional subjects will be introduced in year 9 from autumn 2013 (in year 8, optional subjects were introduced in autumn 2012).
– The strategy for lower secondary education will be improved. This involves investing in training in classroom management, as well as in reading, writing and arithmetic. Total funding for this area will be around NOK 80 million in 2013.
– NOK 185 million will be allocated to the continuation of the Ny GIV project. Over a three-year period, NOK 500 million is being invested in getting more students to complete their upper secondary education. By the end of 2013, at least two teachers at all secondary schools in Norway – or around 3,600 teachers in total – will have received training in how to teach basic reading, writing and arithmetic skills.
– Starting in autumn 2013, there will be one lesson a week of cultural education at primary schools/after-school clubs (years 1-4). The proposed budget for this is NOK 73.8 million. The lessons will be voluntary for pupils.