With the story in the media glare on Thursday, the school’s principal was ordered to “re-do the arrangement” by Oslo city’s education committee.
School staff said the practice of grouping kids by their racial background was forced on them by the flight of “ethnic Norwegian” students to other schools.
“We chose in the end to take the slightly difficult decision to place 14 ethnic Norwegian pupils in each of the two classes and none in the third,” Bjerke Videregående school department head Hanna Norum Eliassen told broadcaster NRK.
“It has resulted in fewer Norwegian students leaving,” said Eliassen, who said the experiment, if successful, was to have delivered the type of multicultural school the staff wanted. She said the alternative was a “sad” division between “brown” and “white” schools.
A few of Oslo’s cramped neighbourhoods have been transformed by the influx of newcomers to Norway with refugees and foreign workers settling in tiny city enclaves.
Pressed by the city’s overseer, the school principal admitted she had erred.
“We see that this division was wrong, and we will undertake a new grouping,” Bjerke school principal Gro Flaten told NRK.
“(The new groups) will have mixed pupils of both ethnic Norwegian and non-ethnic-Norwegian background,” Flaten told news agency NTB.