More Norwegian inmates take university degrees

Some 184 inmates in Norwegian prisons are set to sit for their university exams while behind bars this year, setting a new record for studious ambitions among prisoners.

More Norwegian inmates take university degrees
A prison in Oslo. File photo: David Holt/Flikr

Since record keeping of inmates' education patterns began in 2008, there have never been more prisoners embarking on higher education. This despite no increased focus on the part of correctional services to encourage inmates to get a degree. 

"The main task given to us by the Education Ministry is making sure people finish compulsory school and do practical training," said Paul Breivik, senior advisor to the Hordaland County Governor. "Which means that prisoners who want a degree have to take a lot of personal responsibility." 

He theorized that the push to study on the inside mirrored Norwegian society at large, where citizens increasingly keep studying after high school, and said more resources should be allocated to support the academic trend behind bars. He shares that wish with half-way organization WayBack, which workes with the reintegration of former inmates. 

"Higher education should be a high priority in the prisons," spokeswoman Gitte Svennevig told the NTB news agency. "We see a very clear difference in people who have studied or are still studying when they are released. They have a distinct lust for life and a belief that life can treat them well." 

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Norwegian women with Indian heritage smash national average to become doctors

One in every five women in Norway with Indian heritage becomes a doctor, according to a report in the Scandinavian country.

Norwegian women with Indian heritage smash national average to become doctors

The high proportion of the demographic taking the medical career path is in part due to the influence of their parents, according to a report by national broadcaster NRK.

“The medical profession is highly respected in India. You hear that from your parents, and you are influenced by that,” Doctor Archana Sharma, whose parents moved to Norway from India, told NRK.

The high status of the medical profession in India influences career choices in Norway, the broadcaster writes.

The Institute for Social Research in Oslo has found that, for Norwegian women between the ages of 26 and 35 and with Indian heritage, almost one in five have completed medical studies.

By comparison, only one in 100 women with Norwegian-born parents in the same age group become doctors, according to the study, which was reported by newspaper Utrop.

“Many people experience very strong expectations that they will go into higher education, preferably within the type of high-status professions which provide security and good pay,” sociologist and project manager for the study Arnfinn Midtbøen told NRK.

“This shows that the migration [of the women’s parents, ed.] was successful,” Midtbøen also said.

An Oslo medicine student told NRK that her parents valued higher education without pressuring her.

“They have encouraged me here and throughout my childhood, but I felt no pressure to choose medicine. I think it is very common in Indian families that parents encourage children from an early stage to go into higher education,” Anisha Sharma told the broadcaster.

READ ALSO: How Norway's schools compare to other countries in global ranking