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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Teaching and learning in single-structure education


5.Single-structure primary and lower secondary education

5.2Teaching and learning in single-structure education

Last update: 27 November 2023

Curriculum, subjects, number of hours

The National Curriculum for Knowledge Promotion in Primary and Secondary Education and Training (Kunnskapsløftet), encompasses the 10-year compulsory primary and secondary education and upper secondary education and training as a whole: about 500 subject curricula for the subjects in 10-year compulsory education and for the subjects in upper secondary education and training, including common core subjects in primary and secondary education and training. A separate Sami curriculum is to cover the overall education of pupils living in certain Sami administrative regions where there are long traditions of Sami language and culture. The curriculum consists of:

  • The Core Curriculum
  • Subject Curricula
  • A framework regulating the distribution of periods and subjects

The core curriculum deepens appreciation for basic values and the view of humanity underlying the instruction. 

The Ministry of Education and Research issues regulations on the total number of teaching hours in different subjects during each stage in compulsory education (the Framework for Regulating the Distribution of Periods and Subjects). The municipalities are free to offer children more teaching periods than the minimum.

The municipalities are responsible for the distribution of teaching hours at each stage.

To improve each pupil’s access to differentiated education, municipalities may reassign 25% of the classes for a given subject. This can be done when it is likely that it will help pupils attain the goals for their subjects as a whole. The subject syllabus goals cannot be deviated from, even if classes are reassigned. Any reassignment must take place in cooperation with the home and requires the consent of each pupil or apprentice, as well as their parents or guardians.

Technology and design are introduced as an interdisciplinary topic at primary and lower secondary level. Schools are also encouraged to make room for increased physical activity for all pupils, and to raise awareness of nutrition and diet.

The organisation of school time is primarily the responsibility of the local school administration.

Teaching methods and materials

One of the main principles set for the National Curriculum is the introduction of more freedom at local level with respect to local curriculum work, teaching methods, teaching materials and organisation of classroom instruction. Decisions on content within the frames of the national curriculum are delegated to the teaching institutions.

The subject curricula contain clear competence aims at specified grades. In assigning such skills targets, the subject curricula are expressing high academic ambitions for all pupils, who in varying degrees should be able to reach the targets that have been set. Each pupil shall be stimulated to the best realisation of his or her goals through differentiated education. If a pupil is not benefiting properly from ordinary lessons, he or she is entitled to special tuition. Under the National Curriculum, schools are to prioritise the cultivation of basic skills. The curriculum has emphasised five basic skills in being able to express oneself orally and in writing, in reading, in numeracy and in the use of digital tools. The basic skills being an important foundation for all other learning have been incorporated into the subject curricula for all subjects. All teachers are therefore responsible for enabling pupils to develop basic skills through their work in various subjects. An emphasis on reading and writing from the first grade in the 10-year compulsory school is an integral part of the National Curriculum.

The subject curricula focus on active, enterprising and independent pupils. Pupils should learn by doing, exploring and experimenting, and in so doing should acquire new knowledge and understanding. The working methods chosen should contribute to the process whereby pupils develop new perspectives and encounter new impulses. The working methods should also present them with challenges, which, together with their active participation and individual efforts, will build up their competence and self-respect. Suitably adapted education presupposes a variety of methods to allow for the different abilities and aptitudes of the pupils.

Pupil participation is a basic principle of the national curriculum. The pupils will gradually be given more responsibility for planning their own learning, and at the lower secondary stage, they shall share the responsibility for planning and evaluating the tasks they carry out themselves, or together with others.

Education for democracy is a major, basic school responsibility. Acquaintance with democratic working methods and decision-making procedures must be complemented by practical activities which give the pupils experience, a real say in, and shared responsibility for, shaping the environments in which they grow up and learn.

Teaching materials comprise textbooks, ICT-related aids, sound and images produced with specific learning objectives in view. There are no prescribed textbooks. Items originally produced for other purposes, such as newspaper articles, feature films or literary works, can also be used as learning material. In subjects other than Norwegian, teaching materials may only be used when they are simultaneously available in both Bokmål and Nynorsk at the same time and at the same price. In special cases the Ministry may make exceptions from this rule. Local education authorities are responsible for supplying schools with teaching aids which are free for pupils. Teaching materials should motivate and activate pupils and help them to develop good working habits. They should encourage both independent work and collaboration between pupils. Teaching materials must be chosen so as to serve the purposes of varied and individually adapted work. Pupils with special needs require teaching aids, which take their abilities and aptitudes into account. Teaching materials are not subject to government overview with the exception of those produced through the public grant scheme. Government policy in this case is that teaching materials should recognise universal design and diverse cultural backgrounds.

School libraries have a central place in education and serve as centres of cultural activity and sources of information and materials.

In their education, pupils should acquire knowledge about, insight into, and positive attitudes to the information society and information technology.

There are no regulations as to how much, if any, homework pupils should have.