Article | Last updated: 28/01/2015
"Promotion of the status and quality of teachers – joint effort for a modern school of knowledge” is a government programme to create schools where students learn more.
Schools should give everyone a good start in life, promote social levelling, prepare students for the labour market and help to ensure Norway’s future prosperity.
Schools should give everyone a good start in life, promote social equality, prepare students for the labour market and help to ensure Norway’s future prosperity. They should give both society and each individual child the best possible preparation for the future. Although Norwegian schools have many strengths, there are still too many students who never achieve good literacy and numeracy skills. The government’s new programme will play an important part in tackling this problem.
Key elements of the programme
Research and education are top priorities for the government, and the programme includes a number of measures to further improve schools:
- All students should experience teachers who have specialised in maths, English and Norwegian
- Teachers will do a 5-year Master’s degree
- Students will need a higher mark in maths to go into teaching
- Record investment in continuing education for teachers
- New career paths for teachers will be piloted
- Building up the skills of counties, municipalities and head teachers in order to create a knowledge-rich education system
- Building teams and strong subject-based communities within schools
Increasing specialist subject training
The government wants to help good teachers to become even better. Research strongly supports the idea that students learn more if their teachers know their subjects really well. Nevertheless, figures from Statistics Norway show that one in five maths teachers, one in seven Norwegian teachers and four in ten English teachers at primary and lower secondary schools are not specialists in their subjects. The government wants the current subject specialisation requirements for newly qualified teachers to apply to all teachers. Primary school teachers will therefore need at least 30 credits in the relevant subject in order to teach maths, English and Norwegian. Secondary school teachers, meanwhile, will need at least 60 credits.
Investing in continuing education
The government will carry on investing in continuing education in order to help all teachers to obtain the qualifications they need. From autumn 2015, 5,050 teachers will be offered places on courses. In total, the government will invest over NOK 1.2 billion in further and continuing education for teachers in 2015. That will enable municipalities and other school owners to plan and organise continuing education programmes for their teachers, to ensure that they satisfy the new qualification requirements. Teachers who already fulfil the requirements will also be able to top up their skills.
Master’s degree for teachers
The government will also introduce a five-year Master’s degree for teachers starting in 2017. This will raise the quality of teacher training, and mean that newly qualified teachers are better prepared for their jobs.
Higher marks needed in maths
From autumn 2016, students wanting to go into teaching will need a mark of at least 4 in the common core subject of maths, as opposed to 3 currently. Students who do not meet the new requirement will have to take a maths preparation course before starting any teacher training programme. Students who have passed a higher level maths exam at upper secondary school will continue to be exempted from this requirement.
Specialist classroom teachers
The government wants to keep good teachers in the classroom. New career paths will therefore be piloted in a limited number of municipalities starting in autumn 2015. The pilot projects will last for two years, and will cover both primary and secondary schools.
Teambuilding at schools
Teamwork is required to create schools where students learn more. The most important steps towards developing good schools must be taken at the level of individual schools, municipalities and counties. That’s why “Promotion of the status and quality of teachers – joint effort for a modern school of knowledge” is not just about investing in teachers, but also includes measures to help school managers and owners.
The government will contribute by: offering further and continuing education; maintaining support for the Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities’ programme for school owners; continuing with “Motivation and Mastery for Better Learning – Strategy for Lower Secondary Education”; and extending head teacher training for the period 2015-2020.
The goal is that the combination of having teachers with strong subject backgrounds, enterprising school owners and schools with a culture of sharing will enable students to learn more.