Education provides opportunities for all

The government prioritises continuing education for teachers, raising quality in day-care institutions and more funding for research and higher education in the national budget for 2015.

The government prioritises continuing education for teachers, raising quality in day-care institutions and more funding for research and higher education in the national budget for 2015.

 

 – The budget shows that knowledge is one of the government's major priorities. We shall realize the knowledge society by investing in research and higher education, quality in day-care and more continuing education for teachers, says Minister of Education and Research Torbjørn Røe Isaksen. 

One billion for continuing education
The government continues its historic commitment to continuing education for teachers, and suggests using over a billion NOK in order to make good teachers even better. That means that, during its first year, the government has tripled investment in teacher training. 

 – This investment is requested by teachers and it will also provide a better school for pupils. We are now giving even more teachers the opportunity to further educate themselves, says the Minister. 

Continuing education for teachers is proposed to increase with a total of 1.500 student places. 5.050 teachers could be offered continuing education starting in the autumn of 2015. This is an increase of 3.250 since the previous government. 

Quality in day-care institutions
The government will spend NOK 60 million more to strengthen the expertise of those working in day-care institutions. They are proposing to allocate a total of NOK 275 million to promoting quality in the preschool sector.

 – We wish that more preschool teachers shall have educational training. It will increase the quality of what we offer the children, and high-quality day-care lays the foundation for the knowledge society, says Røe Isaksen.

At the same time, day-care will become cheaper for low-income families. All families with a total income below NOK 405 000 million will be eligible for reduced payments for the first child in day-care. The system of price reductions will be continued for the rest of the siblings. The reform will be financed by increasing the maximum price by NOK one hundred per month. The real maximum price will still be lower in than in 2011. 

Investing in research and higher education
The government is strengthening its focus on quality in higher education and research, and proposes to allocate NOK 30.9 billion to universities and university colleges in 2015, which is a real growth rate of over two percent from 2014.


– One of the priorities is the commitment to the development of world leading academic environments, funding for the development of a new structure within the sector, an increase of recruitment positions, and funding for equipment and university buildings, says the Minister. 

The Government is also presenting the first long-term plan for research and higher education, and proposes to use NOK 2.1 billion on research and development. The plan includes a historic investment. The government will spend one percent of GDP on research and development (R&D), and proposes that the target can be reached in the period 2019-2020.

– In the long-term plan we are mapping out the course in order to secure jobs and prosperity in the future. In order to succeed, we are completely dependent on research and education of excellent quality, says Minister Thorbjørn Røe Isaksen. 

In the 2015 budget, the government is following up on the long-term plan with over 660 million NOK. Among the main measures is NOK 100 million as a priority for world leading academic environments, NOK 100 million for research infrastructure, NOK 60 million for independent project funding and NOK 115 million in order to stimulate increased Norwegian participation in Horizon 2020. 

Building more student accommodations
To give more students reasonable accommodation, the Government proposes to build 1.500 new housing units next year. That is 200 more than in 2014. The Government also intends to reduce the financial risk and increase freedom of choice for Norwegian students abroad by value adjusting both grants and loans for school fees. In addition, the Government proposes to make it possible to combine the sickness benefits from the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme with sickness grants from the Norwegian State Educational Loan Fund. 

The Government also proposes to allocate NOK 30 million beyond the expected inflation to increase the basic grant for students, i.e. the total sum most students get paid. As of 2015, the basic grant for each student will be NOK 100.920 per academic year.

Investing in basic skills
The Government proposes to allocate NOK 169 million to two schemes with the aim of strengthening basic skills among adults. The Government wishes to strengthen the BKA-scheme (Basic competence in working life) and extend the scheme by NOK 15 million. Last year, the government introduced an opportunity for training in oral skills for employees with poor oral skills in Norwegian. The Government’s proposal means that a total of NOK 40 million is being allocated for this purpose in 2015 within the budget frame of the BKA-scheme. In addition, the BKA-scheme is being supplemented by a new scheme called Basic competence in the voluntary sector (BKF). This will extend the number of adults who have access to training in basic skills.