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NOU 2015: 8

The School of the Future — Renewal of subjects and competences

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7 Financial and administrative consequences

Figure 7.1 Illustration Chapter 7

Figure 7.1 Illustration Chapter 7

In the mandate the Committee is requested to assess the degree to which today’s subject content covers the competences the Committee finds that pupils will need in a future society and working life and which changes should be made if these competences are to have greater impact on the content of the school. The Committee has also been requested to assess whether today’s subject structure should continue to be used, or whether the content should be structured differently, and whether the content of the objects clause is sufficiently reflected in the content of the subjects.

It should be possible to realise at least one of the Committee’s proposals within today’s resource framework. The Committee’s proposal will not increase the ordinary state or municipal operating expenses for compulsory school, and can therefore in the long term be realised within similar budget frameworks as today. However, additional expenses must be assumed during a development period.

7.1 Socio-economic consequences of education

The overall knowledge capital is the most important resource in a society and the education system is the most important measure the authorities have to influence the knowledge capital. High quality education is in the short term a socio-economic expense, but in the long term it is an investment in the form of increased welfare for each citizen and for the society. Investments in education in Norway today are high.1 The Committee believes it is possible to raise the quality within today’s economic framework.

The Committee finds that several of the measures proposed in the report will promote pupils’ learning of competences for the future in such a way that they will lead to economic savings as the aim of the Committee’s proposals is to give pupils better learning. Competence-raising for teachers and school leaders that is related to changes in the subject curricula will increase their overall competence and raise the quality of the teaching and of pupils’ learning.2

Improved quality of the teaching may lower the number of pupils in need of special teaching, for example because the competence-raising of the general teaching will also have an important effect on pupils with special needs.3

Measures aimed at pupil motivation and efforts and an increase in the quality of teachers are often seen as having an effect on pupil non-completion rates. Reducing the non-completion rate in school will give more pupils the opportunity to pursue more education and training and participate in working life and in this way may raise the welfare of individual citizens. This may also yield socio-economic savings through a reduced need for health, social and welfare benefits.4

7.2 Renewal of the school’s content

The Committee recommends a renewal of the subjects in school to ensure the competence requirements of the future. This will require renewed subject curricula, development of guidance and support resources and changes in the governing documents to establish a coherent approach to the recommended changes.

7.2.1 Planning and developing new subject curricula

In Chapter 6 the Committee recommends that a national strategy should be made for developing and implementing new content in school. This will lead to administrative costs that may be considered in conjunction with ordinary operating expenses.

In Chapter 4 the Committee recommends a renewal of the subject curricula. To accomplish this, curriculum groups must be established for the subjects, groups must be formed to assess the subject curricula in light of the Committee’s recommendations for competences for the future and a coordinating body must be established that will work throughout the process to direct and assess the subject curricula work on an interdisciplinary basis. The development of the subject curricula in this process should be anchored through a number of meeting points between the sector stakeholders. The administrative costs incurred from coordination may be included in the Directorate of Education’s ordinary operating budget.

Based on earlier experience, costs from curriculum groups, work with competence frameworks and from having continuous meeting points for dialogues on development are estimated at NOK 13 million. The final cost for the national work on the subject curricula will depend on the composition and size of the groups, the level of sector involvement and the need for development activities during the process.

7.2.2 Developing guidance and support resources

In Chapter 6 the Committee recommends that guidance and support resources should be created parallel to the changes in the subject curricula. The administrative costs of some of this work may be considered as part of the Directorate of Education’s operating budget. In addition to this, various subject groups should be established to contribute to the work. Developing guidance and support resources should have a number of meeting points between the sector stakeholders. Expenses will be incurred from the design, development and dissemination of this material. Based on experience, the costs are estimated at NOK 8 million.

In accordance with the Committee’s recommendations for teaching practices in Chapter 5, the national authorities should assist the school owners and the teaching profession more than is the case today so they can have easy access to updated research on subject teaching and learning. This is estimated to cost an estimated NOK 2 million a year.

7.2.3 Coherence in the governing documents

Chapter 4 describes the importance of having coherent governing documents. Work has already been initiated to examine the Core Curriculum, and thus no extra costs will be incurred by assessing it in the context of changes in the subject curricula.

As is apparent from Chapter 5, the committee proposes changes in the Education Act and the Assessment Regulations. The Committee finds that these changes may be part of the ordinary revisions of the rules and regulations.

7.2.4 Consequences for teacher training

The Committee finds that curriculum revisions will also require changes in teacher training. A strategy concerned with raising teachers competence [Lærerløftet] proposes that a five-year Master’s degree programme should be introduced to ensure that future teachers will develop greater capacity to enable pupils’ learning as described in this report. Changes in the content of school as proposed by the Committee will increase demands on the content of the teacher training institutions.

The education institutions will need to develop competence due to the changes in the subject curricula, especially when it comes to the cross-curriculum competences and major changes in school subjects. It is assumed that the education institutions continuously develop the content of their education programmes so that they correspond to national guidelines for the content of school. The Committee therefore assesses that for the teacher training institutions, administrative costs will primarily be related to the Committee’s proposals, and that with an adequate time horizon it will be feasible to make the necessary adjustments within the annual budget frameworks.

7.2.5 Updates of teaching aids

Changes in the subject curricula will lead to additional costs in connection with updating teaching aids. With good planning, schools and school owners may time the updates of teaching aids for when the new subject curricula are to be introduced. It is still reasonable to allocate extra funds for this work because it may lead to additional costs on the local level. In connection with the Knowledge Promotion Reform, NOK 400 million was allocated as compensation for the local authorities due to additional expenses relating to the need to replace teaching aids for the compulsory school. The Committee recommends the allocation of grants amounting to NOK 400 million in connection with the need to update teaching aids.

7.3 Competence development

The Committee has recommended changes that will require development and strengthening of the teaching profession. There will also be requirements for raising competence and building capacity in the form of locally based development measures and continuing education. Substantial expenses will be incurred from the need to develop competence if the Committee’s proposals are to be realised in the form of increased pupils’ learning. The Committee recommends a plan to be developed for competence development in accordance with overriding goals that includes continuing education and school-based competence development measures. An overriding strategy should ensure that measures within a designated period of time are goal-oriented in accordance with the overriding goals of the changes. The national authorities have responsibility for considering various state initiatives in connection with each other and for ensuring that these are pulling in the same direction.

7.3.1 Continuing education

The strategy Competence for quality [Kompetanse for kvalitet], a system for continuing education for teachers and school leaders, has been established. Notification has been given about escalating this into a continuing education programme in the strategy concerned with raising teachers competence. Competence requirements due to curriculum changes may be integrated in existing schemes so there will be no need for further funding of continuing education. This assumes that today’s continuing education scheme will be aimed at renewal of the school’s content, and that continuing education programmes offered to teachers will include instruction in all school subjects and emphasise teaching practice and assessment of pupil competence in the subjects. Continuing today’s strategy has a budgetary frame of slightly more than NOK 1 billion per year, but will not involve expenses beyond what is allocated in today’s budgets.

National funds for continuing education are generally connected to changes in duties and the rules and regulations for school. The strategy with raising teachers competence states that funds will be allocated for competence programmes within subjects and topic areas where special challenges have been found. There will be some overlapping between competence requirements connected to the new subject curricula and competence requirements connected to special challenges, and the Committee finds that requirements for continuing education will be served by funds assigned to special challenges and through school-based competence development measures, see section 7.3.2.

7.3.2 Locally based competence development

In accordance with the Committee’s recommendations in Chapter 6, efforts should be made to provide school-based development projects and continuing education of the staff to realise the Committee’s proposals. This includes local work with subject curricula, determining competence requirements and raising competence, and developing teaching practice, including assessment.

Compulsory school is generally funded by framework grants from the state and tax revenues in the municipalities and counties which have the responsibility for budgeting funds for primary and secondary education and training pursuant to section 13-10 of the Education Act. The school owner’s responsibility includes quality development of the compulsory school. Schools and school owners also have responsibility for working with the subject curricula. Costs connected to raising competence and local work with the subject curricula are part of the school owner’s operating budget.

In the Knowledge Promotion Reform during the period 2005 to 2007, more than NOK 1 billion was allocated to reform-related competence development. The Committee’s proposals may generally build on the local work done with the implementation of the Knowledge Promotion Reform. Changes in competence requirements due to the Committee’s proposals and local work with the subject curricula will, however, require development work from the school owners and schools. There is variation in the capacity and competence of the school owners. To strengthen the local work, state support will be needed in the form of grants and administration. This will include support for school-based competence development, support for the local work on the subject curricula and support for competence building.

The Committee emphasize that competence-raising and local development measures are premises for accomplishing changes in practices. The Committee therefore recommends allocating NOK 200 million to school-based competence-raising measures annually for a period of five years. The measures should be initiated and followed up by the national authorities.

7.4 Knowledge as the basis for development

7.4.1 Research-based evaluation

Changes in the content of school should be followed up by evaluation and research modelled on the evaluation of the Knowledge Promotion Reform, as described in Chapter 6. In connection with the Knowledge Promotion Reform, evaluations were carried out with a framework of NOK 70 million. The evaluations covered many fields, but an equally broad evaluation process will not be required for the realisation of the Committee’s proposals.

However, the evaluation of and research related to pupils’ learning and the effect of various programmes and measures are complex and costly. The Committee therefore recommends a programme for evaluation and consequence research connected to the implementation at the amount of NOK 70 million.

7.4.2 Development of the Quality Assessment System

In Chapter 6 the Committee recommends a review of the Quality Assessment System. The review should particularly assess the need for system changes due to the importance of a broad competence concept and how the Quality Assessment System can give information about pupils’ learning and development. The review should determine which areas are especially in need of changes to achieve the overriding goals, and should also assess how to design a system for research-based studies.

The national budget for 2004 allocated NOK 430 million in connection with the establishment of a system for quality assessment and quality development for compulsory school.5 This is to include developing a website [skoleporten.no] and mapping of pupils. The Committee finds that it will be necessary to develop today’s Quality Assessment System due to the changes in the school content, but generally this can build on the technology that has already been developed. The review of the Quality Assessment System can be implemented within the current framework. The Committee’s assessment is that the operating costs in the long term will correspond to the current level, but that in the aftermath of a review expenses will be incurred for developing the knowledge base, instrumentation and development of indicators. The cost of the development of the Quality Assessment System depends on the review, and the Committee has therefore chosen to not include this sum in the total costs stated at the end of the chapter. Experience dictates that development costs can be estimated at approximately NOK 10 to 20 million.

7.4.3 Review of the examination system

In Chapter 5 the Committee recommends appointing a committee to assess development of the examination system. Based on experience the cost is estimated at NOK 2 million.

Figure 7.2 Illustration Chapter 7

Figure 7.2 Illustration Chapter 7

7.5 Summary and assessment of costs

The administrative costs for facilitation, organisation and coordination may be held within the administrative framework of today. Costs related to renewing the school content, including planning and developing new subject curricula, guidance and support resources and coordination are estimated at NOK 23 million.

The Committee additionally recommends an assessment of the need for compensation for updating teaching aids, here estimated at NOK 400 million.

The Committee assumes that a further effort in continuing education will be needed, which today has a framework of NOK 1 billion annually. The Committee also recommends efforts in locally based competence development measures over a five-year period estimated at approximately NOK 200 million annually.

Costs related to developing the knowledge base are here estimated at NOK 72 million. There may in the long term be a need for development costs for the Quality Assessment System.

The Committee’s proposals will not increase state or municipal operating expenses for compulsory school, and may thus be realised within today’s budget frameworks. The proposals also mean there will be an obligation over time, particularly when it comes to development of guidance and support resources and competence-raising.

The Committee recommends that measures connected to the renewal of the school content should be given priority within the framework for quality development in compulsory school,6 and that costs for compensation for updating teaching aids should be allocated as a special grant.

Footnotes

1.

NOU 2015: 1 Produktivitet – grunnlag for vekst og velferd. Produktivitetskommisjonens første rapport [Productivity - the basis for growth and welfare. The first report from the Productivity Commission]

2.

Timperly 2012, Nordenbo et al. 2008, Falch and Naper 2008

3.

Nordahl and Hausstätter 2009

4.

Falch et al. 2009

5.

Proposal to the Storting no. 1(2003–2004) The Royal Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research

6.

Chapter 226 Quality development in compulsory school is discussed annually in Stortinget’s budget proposal from the Ministry of Education and Research.

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