Without any form of central decision making process to close small schools, Norwegian municipalities have closed down 1,390 primary schools since 1986. Senterpartiet takes its share of responsibility.
VG has compiled figures from the Directorate of Education, Statistics Norway and the municipalities themselves, which are built on developments in education since the municipal income system was changed in 1986.
Since then, 1,391 schools and primary education institutions have been closed, and 772 new primary schools have been opened. Many municipalities chose to develop larger, central schools.
Senterpartiet Veteran, Per Olaf Lundteigen, looks at the school closures as a silent school reform, without any central planning or decision making, in which his own party participated by not doing enough to prevent the development.
He places political responsibility, mostly on the coalition’s shoulders he added.
‘Labour has, to a greater extent than the Conservatives, had government responsibility for the most part during this period we are talking about. But neither can the Senterpartiet be exempted from liability.
We didn’t manage, in government, to raise any strong public criticism against this’, he said.
He was supported in the statement from the current party leader, Trygve Slagsvold Vedum.
Lundteigen estimated, without wishing to be categorical about it, that the primary sector can manage to go down to approximately 15 pupils, and still maintain a school when the alternative is a journey time of half an hour.
Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today