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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Support measures for learners in early childhood and school education


12.Educational support and guidance

12.3Support measures for learners in early childhood and school education

Last update: 27 November 2023

Definition of the target group(s)

The target groups are language minority children and children from low income families in pre-primary age and language minority pupils in primary and lower secondary school.

Specific support measures

Primary and secondary education

The same regulations on adapted education and language support measures apply for upper secondary education as for primary and lower secondary education. 

According to the Education Act, adapted language education for pupils from language minorities, attending the primary and lower secondary school who have a mother tongue other than Norwegian or Sami, have the right to adapted education in Norwegian until they are sufficiently proficient in Norwegian to follow the normal instruction of the school. If necessary, such pupils are also entitled to mother tongue instruction, bilingual subject teaching, or both.

The mother tongue instruction may be provided at a school other than that normally attended by the pupil. When mother tongue instruction and bilingual subject teaching cannot be provided by suitable teaching staff, the municipality shall as far as possible provide for other instruction adapted to the pupils’ abilities.

The municipality shall map the pupils' Norwegian skills before deciding to provide adapted language education. Such mapping shall also be conducted during the education for pupils who receive adapted language education according to the regulations, in order to assess whether the pupils are sufficiently skilled in Norwegian to follow the normal school education.

For pupils who have recently arrived, the municipality may organise special educational facilities in separate groups, classes or schools. If some, or all, of the education is to take place in such a group, class or school, this must be stipulated in the decision to provide adapted language education. A decision for such education in specially organised facilities may only be made if it is considered in the pupil’s best interest. Education in a specially organised facility may last for up to two years. A decision may only be made for one year at a time. The decision may, for this period, include deviations from the curriculum for the pupil in question to the extent which is necessary in order to provide for the pupil's needs. Decisions pursuant to this section require the consent of the pupil or his/her parents or guardians.

As of 1 October 2018:

  • 0.5% of all pupils from language minorities received education in their first language (mother tongue).
  • 1.4% of all pupils from language minorities received dual language education; Dual language education uses the pupil’s first language in addition to Norwegian in teaching by bilingual teachers.
  • 6.7% of all pupils from language minorities received additional teaching in Norwegian - or Norwegian as a second language.
  • A total of 10.888 pupils from language minorities, or 1.7% of these pupils received education in their first language and/or dual language education.

Education was given in almost 100 languages, most of them non-European languages. The most common languages (with more than a thousand pupils) were Arabic, Somali and Polish.

The curriculum for Norwegian Sign Language aims at supporting pupils without hearing. It applies to primary, lower secondary school and all three years of upper secondary school.

There is a specific curriculum in upper secondary education for pupils with language support and with less than 6 years of residence in Norway.

See links:

Curriculum for Basic Norwegian for Language Minorities (in Norwegian)

Norwegian Sign Language

Curriculum for Norwegian for hearing disabled

Norwegian for pupils in Upper Secondary School with short period of residence in Norway (in Norwegian)

Information on special education needs provision, see chapter 12.1 and 12.2.