Press release | No: 89 - 16 | Date: 06/10/2016
The Government is creating jobs for the future by investing in education, research and innovation. In the national budget for 2017, the Government proposes to raise efforts on early intervention in primary schools and increase funding for research, teacher training, vocational colleges and vocational upper secondary training.
– If we are going to succeed with a reorientation of the Norwegian economy, we need day-care institutions that provide children with a good start in life, a school where pupils learn even more and a world-class education and research sector, says Minister Torbjørn Røe Isaksen.
Prioritizing early intervention and natural sciences
The government proposes to spend NOK 360 million on early intervention in primary schools during the school year 2017-18.
– Many pupils in Norwegian schools are not learning enough. They are lagging behind already in their first years at school. They are unable to catch up with their classmates, and additional resources are often brought in too late. They will have difficulty completing upper secondary education. Therefore, we must take action early to support those who are struggling, says Røe Isaksen.
The Government also proposes to strengthen natural sciences in primary schools with NOK 30 million in 2017, so that more pupils will acquire fundamental skills in mathematics and science. The money will, among other things, be used to increase the number of established science municipalities. So far 45 science municipalities have been established across the country working systematically with math, science and technology from the children start in day-care until they finish upper secondary school.
Proposing NOK 252 million for new teacher training program
In the national budget for 2017, the Government proposes to spend NOK 252 million on the introduction of the new five-year teacher training program.
– Schools must educate good employees for the future labour market. We want to create a school where pupils learn more. We therefore need teachers with solid professional skills. With a master's degree, teachers will be better equipped to help pupils reach their full potential. It will also raise the status of the teaching profession, and of education, says Minister Torbjørn Røe Isaksen.
The first students will be starting the new five-year teacher training program in autumn 2017.
Strengthening research and development
Education and skills are important for Norwegian competitiveness and economic growth in trade and industry. Therefore, the Government will increase allocations to follow up on the Long-term plan for research and higher education with NOK 555 million in 2017.
– A strong commitment to research and development will help us reach our goals of a more competitive trade and industry sector, greener jobs and an increased number of world-leading academic environments, says Røe Isaksen.
In the draft budget for 2017, the Government proposes a real increase of 3.1 percent on allocations for research and development. Allocations will amount to 1.05 percent of the gross domestic product. In addition, the Government proposes to strengthen the popular Skattefunn R&D tax incentive scheme (under the Ministry of Finance).
Prioritizing vocational colleges and vocational upper secondary training
The Government continues its commitment to vocational education, and proposes NOK 58 million to vocational colleges and NOK 30 million to improve vocational teachers' qualifications.
– Norway will be needing many competitive skilled workers in the years to come in order to succeed with our labour market reorientation. It has therefore been important for this government to prioritize and strengthen vocational education. This joint commitment will continue in 2017, says Røe Isaksen.
In autumn 2016 he will be presenting a White Paper to the Norwegian Parliament, Stortinget, on vocational colleges and how they can be improved and become more attractive.
Improving staffing in day-care institutions
The Government continues to focus on quality in day-care institutions. Today there are large differences in the number of staff in day-care institutions. The Government will therefore introduce a norm for how many children there should be per adult in day-care facilities, and will publish a proposal for public consultation in the spring.
The government will also spend close to NOK 400 million to promote quality in day-care institutions in 2017. This is NOK 230 million more than what was spent in 2013, an increase of more than 50 percent in four years. The allocations for quality enhancement will, among other things, contribute to further education and skills upgrading for those who are already working in day-care facilities.
Increasing student financing
The Government continues to focus on student housing and improvement of student economy. Today, students get financial support for ten months per year. The Government proposes that full-time students shall receive NOK 2 600 more in financial support in spring 2017, when the Government starts escalating its 11-month financial support for students. The Government will also subsidize residential buildings for housing 2 200 students in 2017.
– In order to succeed with the reorientation which the Norwegian society is faced with, we must educate employees of world class. Social or economic background should not be an obstacle that denies young people the opportunity to educate themselves, says the Minister.