Three in ten daycare facilities do not meet educational standards

New figures show that three in ten daycare facilities in Norway do not meet the required educational standards. The government is now initiating work to develop a new strategy to provide children with better daycare provision, which will, among other things, contribute to daycare facilities obtaining more preschool teachers and more skilled workers.

Nearly 270,000 children attend daycare facilities. Today, the Norwegian Directorate of Education and Training is publishing new figures on the situation at Norwegian daycare facilities.

“Daycare facilities constitute the element of the educational process that has the greatest impact on the development of children and young people. It is therefore paradoxical to find that the level of expertise is at its lowest in daycare facilities. The government wants children to encounter more employees with the right expertise and also wishes to raise the quality of daycare provision,” explains Minister of Education, Tonje Brenna (L).

The new figures from the Directorate of Education and Training show that there are more daycare facilities that meet the required educational standards this year than last year. Nevertheless, 30 per cent of daycare facilities still do not have enough preschool teachers to fulfil the requirements and have too many children per preschool teacher.

The figures show that 44 per cent of employees have preschool teacher qualifications, 22 per cent are childcare and youth workers and 5 per cent have other qualifications. Around 25 per cent have neither higher nor relevant education and this percentage is highest in private daycare facilities.

Brenna has warned that the government will set aside the previous government’s daycare strategy and develop a new, more ambitious strategy. Tomorrow, the Minister of Education will meet the newly established National Daycare Forum, which has members representing key participants from the daycare sector. Together, they will discuss how to improve the quality of daycare towards 2030. The new strategy will be ready this autumn.

Fewer small daycare facilities

Today, there are 5,500 daycare facilities nationwide. The new figures show that the number of daycare facilities is decreasing. In particular, there has been a reduction in the number of smaller daycare facilities, with 25 children or fewer. The proportion of small daycare facilities has decreased from 31 per cent in 2012 to 24 per cent today (see figure).

“We can see that the number of small daycare facilities continues to decline. The small privately owned and non-profit daycare facilities are important for providing daycare facilities close to where people live. We are therefore committed to providing better framework conditions to these daycare facilities, including local authorities being given the opportunity to prioritise such facilities,” Brenna explains.

The government is set to tighten regulations for private daycare facilities. This will ensure that public subsidies and parental payments are spent on the operation of the daycare facilities. This is also something that the new strategy will look at.

Satisfied parents, but some dissatisfaction with staffing

The Directorate of Education and Training will also publish the results of the 2021 Parent Survey today. The report shows that parents are largely satisfied (93 per cent) and that the pandemic does not appear to have had an impact on satisfaction. Parents are particularly satisfied with the safety and wellbeing of their child while in daycare. One in ten parents is dissatisfied with the food available, while 16 per cent are dissatisfied with the staffing ratio (in line with 2019 levels).

“As we make our way out of a pandemic that has shown just how important daycare facilities are for ensuring that society keeps running, we need to take action and ensure that it is in children’s interests to attend daycare facilities and that our daycare facilities are great places to work.”

“We will set out clear requirements concerning the use of substitutes, requirements for local managers and improve staffing standards. We also need to consider the tasks that take employees away from children. This, together with an improved local economy, will be important steps in ensuring better daycare provision,” says Brenna.