Ombudsman for all students as of the next study year
The Norwegian Government will formally issue a proposal for a bill to the Norwegian Parliament during next week stating that all students shall have access to a dedicated Ombudsman. The proposal is praised across the board and has sailed through the Education Committee treatment.
“The aim is that the bill can be adopted this spring so that students at universities, colleges and vocational schools will have access to a student representative as soon as possible,” Minister for Research and Higher Education, Iselin Nybø (Liberals) states at the National Convention of the Federation of Norwegian Students on Saturday.
The Ombudsman for Students is an independent aid body that will guide students in connection with complaints and help resolve issues at the lowest possible level. The Ombudsman gives the students independent and impartial advice and assistance in matters that concern them, for example in questions about their rights and duties.
“Additionally, the metoo campaign has clearly shown the need to have access to a Student Ombudsman who can assist students who have been subjected to sexual harassment or other forms of offensive actions,” Nybø continues.
Ten educational institutions currently have their own student representatives. The proposed bill allows smaller institutions to collaborate to give students access to an Ombudsman.
“I hope this helps lower the threshold for reporting offensive conditions such as sexual harassment or unfair treatment,” Member of Parliament, Marianne Synnes (Conservatives), concurs. Synnes is a member of the Education and Research Committee of the Norwegian Parliament.
The Government also proposes to clarify the duty of universities, university colleges and vocational schools to forestall and prevent harassment. They will do this through preventive measures, for example by having clear guidelines for reporting.
“The students’ struggle to get a student ombudsman is crowned with victory. It is a unanimous vote that is behind the demand from the Federation of Norwegian Students – something that the student organization has been fighting for too long – about getting an Ombudsman for Students,” Nybø rejoices.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today