Students are happy with flexible educational provisions

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85% of pupils with flexible and decentralised educational provisions are happy with the academic content, a new report shows. These educational provisions are successful in meeting the needs of working life and help ensure that education and skills are available where people live and with different life situations.

“Education should not only be for full-time students who can study permanently in one place of study. The government has strengthened the provision of education in places where there are no vocational schools, university colleges or universities. Therefore I’m happy to see that these provisions really meet students’ needs and expectations,” says Ola Borten Moe, the Minister of Research and Higher Education.

Flexibility is important

The opportunity to combine education with work, the desire to stay in one’s hometown, and caring responsibilities are some of the reasons that students want to take up an offer of flexible education. 69% said that they would not have been able to complete their studies without the flexibility offered by the programme.  

“Flexibility in education is important to reach people who, for various reasons, cannot study full-time at an educational institution. There are many indications that the scheme attracts students who otherwise would not have studied, especially among those who are already in work. This is important for us to secure enough people with the right skills for working life across the country, says Borten Moe.

Educational institutions also say that flexible educational provisions mean that they can reach a larger part of the possible student body, especially those who are older, established and in work.

Relevant for working life

The scheme also scores highly for its relevance to working life. 47% of students say that their studies were very useful or entirely necessary for their job.

In spring 2023, the government will present a report to the Storting which will map the need for expertise in working life. “I believe that flexible education and adapting teaching are necessary for covering the expertise needs of working and social life in the future. This is something we will come back to in the inspection reports, says Borten Moe.

About flexible and decentralised education

Since 2018, universities, university colleges and vocational schools have had the opportunity to apply for grants to develop and create flexible educational provisions. Flexible study provisions are programmes of study that are categorised as decentralised or online teaching, as opposed to teaching at an institution. In programmes with decentralised teaching, students meet up for teaching somewhere other than on campus, while online teaching includes programmes that offer purely online teaching, or in combination with physical meetings. The schemes are managed by the Norwegian Directorate of Higher Education and Skills.

In the state budget for 2023, the government will increase the allocation for flexible and decentralised education and study centres by NOK 12.6 million, to a total of NOK 199.6 million.