13.5% of primary school teachers lack relevant education
10,021 of all staff teachers in the elementary school last year lacked either pedagogical education or completed upper secondary school only, according to figures from Statistics Norway (SSB).
7.6 per cent, or 5,461 of the teachers who worked in Norwegian primary schools last year, had a high school education or less, the statistics show. 5.9 per cent of teachers have a university or college education at any level but lack pedagogical education.
The total figure represents 13.5 per cent of all staff teachers at Norwegian primary schools. The Norwegian School Federation believes that this is far too many.
– The figures from Statistics Norway are from 2017, but we have no reason to believe that they have changed significantly in the last year. The School Federation have repeatedly warned the Government and parliamentary majority that this would be the result of their policies. Regrettably, we got it right, says the federal secretary, Geir Allan Stava, in a press release.
Ease up on the requirements
In recent years, the Government has introduced a number of competence requirements in Norwegian schools, requiring all teachers to have a vocational degree in the subjects they teach by 2025, the grade four (out of 6) to enter the teacher education and an extension of the four-year teacher education to a five-year masters degree. On top of that comes the introduction of a teacher’s norm as of this autumn, which the Christian Democrats (KrF) gained accpeptance for during the state budget negotiations.
The School Federation believe that the Government should abolish the requirements of a grade 4 in mathematics, mandatory master’s education and that the competence requirements must not have retroactive effect.
In addition, they believe that the average requirement for access to teacher education is too stringent, and they also believe that higher wages may entice more people to choose to be teachers.
– The School Federation expect the Government to take this development seriously, Stava continues.
Expect shortage of teachers
Statistics Norway has estimated that there will be a deficit of educated teachers in the elementary schools in the years to come. The opposition in the Norwegian Parliament (Stortinget) has also expressed concern that the increased competence requirements will lead to more unskilled teachers.
The Centre Party (Sp) has demanded a separate parliamentary notice on how to secure qualified teachers in the years ahead, while Labour (Ap) raised the question with Prime Minister Erna Solberg (Conservatives) during a Question Hour in February.
She then stated that there must be clear competence requirements and pointed to two explanations for that the number of unskilled teachers is increasing: education has been extended and many teachers are undergoing further studies.
– We are committed to making teaching an attractive profession. Unlike Labour, it does not mean lowering the requirements, Solberg maintained, adding: – We can not meet the current situation by lowering the demands we have set for the future.
© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today