In a white paper on social inclusion (Ministry of Education and Research, 2016), the employability and qualifications of adult immigrants is in focus. A new Integration Act was adopted in January 2020. The main goal of this new act is improved employability among the immigrants by better quality of the Norwegian and social studies training for adult immigrants.
In a white paper that launches a new skills reform (Ministry of Education and Research, 2020), the quality focus is mostly oriented towards further education and training, higher vocational education (“fagskoler”) and career guidance.
Primary and secondary adult education has the same curriculums as primary and secondary education for children and youth. Therefore, the responsibilities of the Ministry of Education and Research, the Norwegian Directorate for Training, the County Governor, the municipalities, and the counties that are listed in chapter 11.1, are the same for adult education as for initial education. The Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training are responsible for external national inspections and the County Governors have the responsibility of local external inspections.
NOKUT is responsible for the quality of the provision for adult participants in higher education, including vocational tertiary education (“fagskoler”), as mentioned in chapter11.2.
Skills Norway is responsible for the inspections of study associations, adult learning organizations, centers of peace and human rights, SkillsPlus Work, SkillsPlus Voluntary sector, career guidance, and provision of Norwegian and social studies for adult immigrants in the private sector.
The County Governor of Vestland has since 1993 had the overall responsibility of the prison education in Norway and cooperates with the education sector, the welfare authorities, libraries, and the third sector. The prisons report, among others on the number of inmates entitled to adult education and the number of participants, to the County Governor of Vestland. The county governors are responsible for the provision, which is run by upper secondary schools, and for the external inspections of the training.
Approaches and methods for quality assurance
The curriculums of primary and secondary education also include adult education. Therefore, the same methods of quality assurance of primary and secondary education that are mentioned in chapter 11.1, are used for adult education. Likewise, the methods and systems of quality assurance that are mentioned in chapter 11.2, also apply to the provision of adult participants in higher education, including higher vocational education (“fagskoler”).
Quality standards and frameworks are just as important for the quality of adult education and training as external inspections. To ensure the quality of the basic skills provision, educational tools and tests have been developed for adult basic skills. As mentioned in chapter 8.4, the provision of basic skills in the SkillsPlus program must be in accordance with the learning goals for adult basic skills. For the Norwegian language and social studies for immigrants in the introductory program, standardized modules are being developed and a website of resources has been published. Besides, quality standards have been developed for the provision of Norwegian and social studies for adult immigrants that is not regulated by the Introduction act. Furthermore, a national quality framework has been developed for career guidance services. In the third sector, the Norwegian Association for Adult Learning (NAAL) has developed an instruction book on how to make course plans for the study associations. NAAL also provides links on their website to the European tool EQM (European Quality Mark), which is a quality assurance system for providers of non-formal learning in Europe. This framework was developed by several European partners in a Leonardo da Vinci project.
In addition to external inspections and quality standards, research on the quality of the provision of adult education and training is done ad hoc. Among others, reports have been published on the quality of the Norwegian training for adult immigrants (Lerfaldet, et al., 2020), the SkillsPlus program (Econ Pöyry, 2008), and the study associations (Talberg, 2019).
Econ Pöyry, 2008. Program for basiskompetanse i arbeidslivet. evaluering, del 2, Oslo: Econ Pöyry.
Lerfaldet, H. et al., 2020. Kvalitet i norskopplæringen for voksne innvandrere, Oslo: ideas2evidence.
Ministry of Education and Research, 2016. Meld.St. 16 (2015–2016) Fra utenforskap til ny sjanse. Samordnet innsats for voksnes læring, Oslo: Ministry of Education and Research.
Ministry of Education and Research, 2020. Meld.St. 14 (2019–2020) Kompetansereformen – Lære hele livet, Oslo: Ministry of Education and Research.
Talberg, N., 2019. Studieforbundene som læringskatalysator. Fafo-rapport 2019:28, Oslo: Fafo.