Administration governance at the central and/or regional level
The state bears the overall responsibility for the Kindergarten Act and the Education Act with regulations, contents and financing.
The kindergarten and primary school are run by the municipalities, upper secondary education by the county municipalities, while the universities and colleges are state-run. In the counties, the county governor performs state tasks at the regional level and ensures that laws and regulations for the school are followed.
Ministry of Education and Research
The responsibilities of the Ministry of Education and Research are:
- 13-year education and training system provided by primary and secondary schools
- Folk high schools and adults’ rights to basic education
- Higher education and tertiary vocational training
- Student welfare and student grants
- Coordinating research policy
- Adult education, skills and lifelong learning
The mandate and social purpose can be summed up by three strategic goals for the education sector:
- Education and training to enable personal development and active citizenship
- Skills that are needed today and in the future
- Research in order to achieve scientific progress, development and greater competitiveness
The Ministry is headed by the Minister of Education and the Minister of Research and Higher Education. The political leadership also includes state secretaries and political advisers. The Secretary-General is the senior civil servant at the Ministry.
The Ministry is divided into 6 departments:
- Department for Schools and Kindergartens
- Department for Education, Training and Skills Policy
- Department for Administration and Strategic Priorities
- Department for Legal Affairs
- Department for Governance of Higher Education and Research Institutions
- Department for Higher Education, Research and International Affairs
The Directorate for Education and Training
The Directorate for Education and Training is an executive agency for the Ministry of Education and Research and is responsible for the development of kindergarten and primary and secondary education.
The objective of the Directorate is to ensure that all children, pupils and apprentices receive the high quality education they are entitled to. The Directorate has a broad sphere of work, ranging from curriculum planning, examinations and analyses to legislation and supervision.
The Directorate for Higher Education and Skills
The Directorate for Higher Education and Skills was established on July 1st 2021 and is a result of the merger of the Norwegian Agency for International Cooperation and Quality Enhancement in Higher Education (Diku), Skills Norway, and Universell, as well as parts of Unit and the Norwegian Centre for Research Data (NSD). The directorate will also be taking over selected tasks for the Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education (NOKUT).
The directorate is the executive agency for the Ministry of Education and Research within the higher education and higher vocational education sectors and is responsible for the national skills policy. The directorate advises the Ministry, implement national policies, and coordinates incentive schemes and management instruments.
The directorate shall contribute to enhancing the quality of education and skills, strengthen international collaboration, and be a driving force for the digital restructuring of Norwegian universities and university colleges.
Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education (NOKUT)
is an independent agency with the task of carrying out external quality assurance of higher education and tertiary vocational education in Norway. NOKUT assists the educational institutions in their development work and stimulates quality development that ensures a high international level of educational programmes.
The Research Council of Norway (NFR)
The Research Council of Norway is the key advisory body to the authorities on research policy issues and carry out tasks commissioned by 15 ministries. Their activities play an important role in the Government’s long-term plan for research and higher education.
- Trade and industry: Research is an important tool for Norwegian trade and industry. The Research Council has a variety of funding schemes for research-based innovation and knowledge-building.
- Public sector: Promoting renewal and innovation in the public sector through a number of schemes.
- Research organisations: Research organisations may apply for funding within all relevant thematic areas and subject fields.
- International cooperation: encouraging increased international cooperation with and participation in EU research and innovation programs. Ninety percent of Norwegian grant applications for EU research funding have received support and guidance from the Research Council.
- Science communication: Reaching out to the public through National Science Week, a science festival during which researchers interact with people across all of Norway, from Hammerfest in the north to Mandal in the south. The “Grand Prix” stage contest, enables more than 500 researchers to communicate their activities successfully. The Research Council also promotes scientific thinking among the general public. Each year, thousands of Norwegian pupils participate in the contests known as the Norwegian Contest for Young Scientists and the Nysgjerrigper Science Knowledge Project.
The Research Council of Norway is the national authorities' key advisor on research policy matters.
The Norwegian State Educational Loan Fund
The Norwegian State Educational Loan Fund (Lånekassen) is a public administrative body, under the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research, and was established in 1947 as a means of making university and university college education accessible to all classes of society.
Lånekassen is both a bank and a part of the welfare state. Since its inception, Lånekassen has provided support to pupils and students for the purpose of ensuring that all Norwegian citizens get access to education, regardless of background.
Sikt - the Norwegian Agency for Shared Services in Education and Research
Sikt develops, facilitates, and makes available new technology and provides services that modernise, simplify and improve the lives of employees and students in the knowledge sector. Sikt aims to turn ideas into solutions and create secure, stable, and comprehensive services that create added value for education and research.
State administration at regional level
The County Governor is the state’s representative at the county level and is responsible for monitoring the decisions, objectives, and guidelines set out by the Storting and government. In addition, the County Governor provides an important link between municipalities and central government authorities.
The County Governor performs different administrative tasks on behalf of the ministries. The County Governor supervises municipal activity and serves as the administrative appeals body for many municipal decisions. In its administration, the County Governor falls within the remit of the Norwegian Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation.