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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Fundamental principles and national policies


2.Organisation and governance

2.1Fundamental principles and national policies

Last update: 27 November 2023
The overall objective of Norwegian educational policy (2019) can be summed up by these strategic goals for the education sector:
  • All students participate in a good and inclusive learning environment
  • Children and youth who need it, recieve special assistance early, to being able to develop their full potential
  • Teachers, instructors and other staff in the education system have high qualifications and skills
  • All succeed in education and training 
Everyone should be able to take part in, and benefit from, the knowledge society, both now and in the future.

Kindergarten Act

The kindergarten shall, in cooperation and understanding with the home, ensure the children's need for care and play, and promote learning and formation as a basis for versatile development.

Kindergartens are regulated by the Kindergarten Act and the framework plan that sets out supplementary provisions on the content and tasks of kindergartens.

The purpose of the framework plan is to ensure that all kindergarten children receive a good offer, regardless of which kindergarten they attend. The kindergartens shall use the framework plan as a starting point for their work.

Education Act

The Education Act applies to primary, lower secondary and upper secondary education and training. All children in Norway have both the right and obligation to attend ten years of primary and lower secondary education, starting from the year they turn six years old. After completion of the compulsory education, or the equivalent, the pupils have a right to three years’ upper secondary education and training. Those attending vocational programmes have the right to training within the total time frame regulated by the subject curricula i.e. four, four and a half, or five years.

The National Curriculum

The objectives and quality framework for primary and secondary education and training are laid down in The National Curriculum (Kunnskapsløftet)  which applies to all levels of primary and secondary education and training. The curriculum consists of the Core Curriculumthe distribution of subjects and hours, and curricula in subjects. These are regulations to the Education Act and govern the content of the education and training.

The Core Curriculum  elaborates on the values and overall principles for primary and secondary education. It will also form the basis for cooperation between home and school. This part also describes the basic view that will characterise pedagogical practice throughout primary and secondary education. The overall part clarifies the responsibility of the school and the educational establishment for the formation and for the development of the competence of all participants in primary and secondary education. Everyone working in primary and secondary education must let this basic view influence the planning, implementation, and development of the training.

New curricula for primary school and lower secondary school, upper secondary education as well as vocational education has been gradually introduced and will be fully implemented at all levels from the school year 2022-2023. They include both the Norwegian curricula and the parallel Sami curricula.

The Vocational Education Act

The Act relating to Tertiary Vocational Education regulates public and private tertiary vocational colleges at level 5 in the European Qualifications Framework (EQF).

Tertiary vocational education is an alternative to higher education and is based on upper secondary education and training, or equivalent informal and nonformal competence. Higher Education Entrance Qualification is not required.

Providers design their own courses and curricula, with learning outcomes as an integral part of all program designs. Programs must be approved by the Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education (NOKUT), the agency responsible for accreditation and quality control.

University and University Colleges Act

The Act applies to universities, specialized university institutions, and university colleges that provide higher education approved by NOKUT.

The purpose of this Act is to make provisions for universities and university colleges to

  • provide higher education at a high international level
  • conduct research and academic and artistic development work at a high international level
  • disseminate knowledge of the institution's activities and promote an understanding of the principle of academic freedom and application of scientific and artistic methods and results in the teaching of students, in the institution's own general activity as well as in public administration, in cultural life and in business and industry.

Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education (NOKUT)

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 programs.