Article | Last updated: 2014-12-14 | Ministry of Education and Research
In some areas with major and complex social challenges, the state and municipalities have joined together to make an extra effort.
Groruddalen and Søndre Nordstrand in Oslo, the inner-city east side of Oslo, Fjell in Drammen, Saupstad in Trondheim and Årstad in Bergen are the areas where the state and municipalities are making such joint efforts. The goal is to reduce differences in living conditions and encourage participation in the local community and society at large.
In the focus on the Groruddalen area and Søndre Nordstrand district in Oslo South, the state's largest measures aimed at improving social conditions is a pilot project to provide free short-term stays (the core period) in kindergartens. The Norwegian State Housing Bank is also providing funds to improve the Groruddalen area.
A free core period in kindergartens
The pilot project providing a free core period in kindergartens has since 2006 been an important means of encouraging the increased use of kindergartens in areas with complex social challenges and many children who speak minority languages. The main goal is to prepare children for starting school with a focus on them learning Norwegian. All children in the relevant birth cohorts have been offered a free four-hour stay in a kindergarten every day, a total of 20 hours per week. The pilot project involving a free core period in kindergartens started in 2006 in the Stovner district of Oslo and has been gradually expanded.
As from August 2014, some of the pilot project was changed and it now targets families with low incomes in the Gamle Oslo district of Oslo and in Bergen and Drammen. At the same time, a requirement that the parents of the children in the pilot project must take part in the activity was introduced. A free core period in kindergartens will be offered to all four- and five-year-olds in low-income families in Norway by the end of 2015.
Pilot project involving a free part-time after-school care scheme
A pilot project involving a free part-time place in the activity school (after-school care scheme) started in the 2013/2014 academic year as part of the focus on Oslo South. Such a place in the after-school care scheme at Mortensrud School is offered to pupils in primary classes 1-4. The objective of this pilot project is to see whether free after-school care helps make pupils more likely to succeed at school and the school district more attractive. The pilot project will last for four academic years. It is being carried out by the Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training in cooperation with the Dorectorate for Integration and Diversity (IMDi) and will be evaluated.