Gaining on Norway in higher education

Students higher educationStudents. Photo: Pixabay

Others are gaining on Norway in higher education

Norway is being caught up by other countries when it comes to the proportion of young persons with higher education.

If the current development continues, the proportion of Norwegian 25 to 34-year-olds, who have completed higher education, will be below the average for the OECD countries in the next four years.

“This is serious both for Norway’s competitiveness and for its adaptability,” Minister for Research and Higher Education, Iselin Nybø (Liberals).

The OECD has looked at how Norwegian higher education and Norwegian universities and colleges fare compared to other OECD countries. By and large, Norway is faring well, but one area is highlighted as a challenge in particular:

Traditionally, Norway has been in the top when it comes to having a highly educated population. This may be changing – if developments in the number of enrollments and completion of higher education, continue as it does now.

Is being caught up by other countries

Norway was in fifth place in the OECD in terms of the share of 25 to 34-year-olds with completed higher education in 2010. In 2017, it dropped to tenth place.

“Norway is a high-cost country. It is, therefore, important to be able to compete on knowledge and quality. In addition, many future jobs will require higher education. A highly educated population is also important for the ability to restructure and further develop society,” Nybø asserts.

The report shows that the proportion with completed higher education in the age group 25-34 years grew by 13 per cent in Norway in the period 2007–2017, while it grew by 37 per cent on average for the OECD countries.

Two possible solutions

The OECD has examined two possible solutions to the problem; More students completing according to the norm and more taking higher education. overall.

The report shows that you will obtain both the fastest and largest effect by increasing the proportion who follow the norm from about 50 to 70 per cent, rather than increasing the admission.

“The completion of higher education according to the norm, is heading in the right direction. There are also more study places, but we are by no means at the finishing line. If we are to handle the gap that is about to happen between Norway and others, more must take higher education and complete the studies according to the norm,” Nybø explains.

The Government is now launching a parliamentary report on job relevance, where one of the goals is closer links between working life and education, among other measures, through more and better practice for students.

“It will improve the quality of the education, something which we hope we will increase the motivation of young persons both to start studying and complete it,” Nybø continues.



Norway is well placed on many of the measurement points

The OECD report shows that, overall, Norway is well versed compared with other countries. Among other things, Norway is praised for prioritising and spending a lot of money on higher education. Norway spent, for example, 1.7% of its GDP on higher education in 2015.

“In addition, we are at the very bottom when it comes to how much households spend on higher education. That’s because higher education is free. It must remain so! Fortunately, you do not need to be wealthy to be able to take higher education in Norway,” Nybø exclaims.

Of other indicators the OECD is looking at, Norway is often cited with regards to research publications from other countries. Norway is above the median in terms of the proportion of publications (among the 10 per cent most cited). Norway also scores high on international research collaboration.

“This shows that there is high quality in Norwegian research,” Nybø concludes.


Read the complete report here (Chapter 12 regards Norway).

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