Norway egalitarianism affects education negatively / News / The Foreigner

Norway egalitarianism affects education negatively. Norwegian education officials’ standardisation policy is backfiring when it comes to pupil differences in state schools, the head of OECD international testing body PISA says. Schools appear to be the same on the outside when it comes to results, but closer scrutiny reveals larger variance. “Many students in Norwegian schools fall through the cracks in the school system. Pupils' results vary widely, without teachers being well-enough equipped to notice and do something about it,” Andreas Schleicher told NRK, Tuesday.

norwayeducation, norwayschools, norwayuniversities



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Norway egalitarianism affects education negatively

Published on Tuesday, 20th August, 2013 at 17:18 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last Updated on 21st August 2013 at 09:46.

Norwegian education officials’ standardisation policy is backfiring when it comes to pupil differences in state schools, the head of OECD international testing body PISA says.

School lockers (illustration photo)
School lockers (illustration photo)
Photo: wired_gr/Flickr


Schools appear to be the same on the outside when it comes to results, but closer scrutiny reveals larger variance.

“Many students in Norwegian schools fall through the cracks in the school system. Pupils' results vary widely, without teachers being well-enough equipped to notice and do something about it,” Andreas Schleicher told NRK, Tuesday.

He also criticises what he views as a quantitative rather than qualitative approach when it comes to teachers, comparing Norway’s ways with various other countries’.

“Norwegian authorities have spent money inefficiently”, the broadcaster reports him as saying, “using it instead to make classes smaller, but not necessarily to try to attract the brightest teachers, [as well as] facilitating them to develop and become better teachers. There’s great room for improvement in Norway.”

Earlier this month, The Foreigner highlighted the case of gifted nine-year-old Vilde and her parents, who started developing physical symptoms shortly after starting primary school at six.

They were forced to move to Denmark because various schools in Bergen could not provide her with suitable tailor-made tuition, as legislation demands.

It has also been found pre-school education is also not up to scratch compared to other countries’.

Matters are somewhat different in Finland, a country that was 10 places ahead of Norway in the previous round of PISA tests.

Finnish schools pupils start one year later have fewer school hours, and longer holidays than their Norwegian peers.

Almost five per cent of Finland’s compulsory school pupils are in special classes – against 0.8 per cent in Norway – have a grading system, and serve warm lunches.

Moreover, teachers teach an average of four hours a day, less than Norwegian ones, and the profession has a higher status than in Norway.

According to reports, top Finnish students choose to become teachers far more often than those in the rest of Europe.

Heidi Krzywacki, lecturer at the University of Helsinki’s teaching academy explained to Bergens Tidende, “We have 1,800 applicants for 120 places. This means that we can select those we believe are best-suited to the profession.”

Schools also practice more of a hands-off approach to their educational personnel.

“We trust the teachers. They can decide which books to use. Neither the principal nor authorities interfere with what they do as long as they stay within budget and general policies,” said Ms Krzywacki.

In his book ‘Finnish Lessons’, author and educational expert Pasi Sahlberg states that only one in 10 teaching education applicants succeed in gaining admission to the country’s eight universities. This drops to one in 20 on the more prestigious courses.

“There is strong competition to become a teacher at Finnish primary and secondary school levels. Only the best and brightest manage to fulfil the dream,” he writes.

Commenting on one educational policy he particularly disagrees with, Mr Sahlberg states, “creativity’s worst enemy is standardisation.”

Norwegian Minister of Education, the Socialist Left’s (SV) Kristin Halvorsen, maintains they are doing “something that’s right and important” in relation to Norway’s ranking in the previous PISAs.

“I certainly have ambitions that we will come much further than we have done, but can certainly indicate very good progress made. The latest PISA study showed that the weakest-performing students had regained a whole year when it came to reading,” she declared to NRK.

In two separate interviews with The Foreigner regarding Norway’s less-than-satisfactory performance at in the Times Higher Education ‘World University Rankings 2012-13’ and the QS World University Rankings, Minister Halvorsen also said she envisions Norway can improve further.

She has called for a new Higher Education reform.




Published on Tuesday, 20th August, 2013 at 17:18 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last updated on 21st August 2013 at 09:46.

This post has the following tags: norwayeducation, norwayschools, norwayuniversities.





  
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