Press release | Date: 2017-10-12 | Ministry of Education and Research| No: 133/17
The Government is strengthening Norway's competitiveness through its commitment to knowledge and research. In the state budget for 2018, the Government proposes, among other things, to strengthen efforts on early intervention in kindergarten and primary and lower secondary school, and to increase allocations for research, vocational training (VET) and vocational colleges.
– We are presenting a budget that will give all children a good start in kindergarten, a school where students learn more, and an education and research sector that creates more smart jobs for the future, says Minister of Education and Research Henrik Asheim.
Strengthening efforts on early intervention
The Government proposes an increase of NOK 100 million for efforts on early intervention in kindergarten along with primary and lower secondary school, along with NOK 200 million towards efforts on early intervention provided to municipalities through their free income.
– After four years of conservative rule Norwegian school is heading in the right direction. The students are learning more, attendance has increased and more students are completing upper secondary school. However, a lot of students' skills in reading and writing are still at a critically low level, says Minister of Education and Research Henrik Asheim.
Teacher specialists and priority on kindergarten
In order to strengthen the work on early intervention, the Government will increase the teacher specialist initiative by NOK 40 million. For the first time, there will be teacher specialists at the beginners' level for 1st to 4th grade. The specialists will contribute to develop teaching at the schools in which they work, so that the students learn more.
The Government also proposes NOK 40 million for a kindergarten initiative. The allocation is for a grant scheme aimed at strengthening municipalities' efforts towards increasing minority language children's participation in kindergarten, and towards introducing a duty of cooperation between kindergarten and school owners within municipalities.
– Early intervention starts in kindergarten. There the children develop both their language and friendships. Therefore, we want more minority language children to attend kindergarten, and that schools are familiar with the experiences children already have. This way, they can get a good start at school, says Asheim.
Increasing allocations to the long-term plan for research and higher education
The Government proposes an increase of NOK 600 million to the long-term plan for research and higher education in 2018.
– A strong commitment to research and development will create a more competitive business sector and provide more green, smart and innovative jobs, says Minister of Education and Research Henrik Asheim.
With the draft state budget for 2018, allocations for the announced escalations and the long-range priorities in the long-term plan will have increased by a total of NOK 2,9 billion in the period 2015–18. Growth in allocations for research and development (R&D) in the state budget is estimated to be around NOK 300 million. Real growth in the period 2013–18 has on average been 3,0 per cent per year, and the allocations constitute 1,04 per cent of GDP in 2018.
NOK 70 million to vocational training and vocational colleges
The Government continues its efforts towards vocational education in the state budget for 2018, and proposes NOK 32 million for 638 new student places at vocational colleges. The Government also proposes just over NOK 40 million in order to continue the investment in vocational training at upper secondary level. Among other things, the allocation shall contribute to recruiting more enterprises who take on apprentices, to strengthening the internship scheme for vocational teachers, and to increase the number of flexible student places for those who wish to become vocational teachers in rural areas.
– Norwegian working life will need many skilled workers in the years to come. Skilled workers are vital to Norwegian competitiveness. Therefore, we continue to focus on vocational educations, says Minister of Education and Research Henrik Asheim.