53 percent of those asked by pollsters Sentio Research said they were opposed to allowing more private schools to open. Some 36 percent were in favour, with 11 percent saying they didn’t know. The poll was carried out for radical left-wing newspaper Klassekampen.
Norway’s governing parties, Høyre and Fremskrittspartiet, have said they want to change the law regulating private schools by the end of 2015. The law currently requires that private schools have a special religious or educational philosophy to qualify for co-financing from the state. The government wants to remove this requirement and allow all private schools that pass quality tests to qualify.
Birgitte Jordahl, state secretary at the Education Department, said she was encouraged by the poll:
“I see it as positive that so many people want an alternative to the current arrangements. There’s no clear majority against, only slightly more than half of the respondents in a poll of 1,000 people,” she said.
Jordahl said it would take a while before there was space on the government’s agenda for a bill on the issue:
“We think that a bill will be ready by 2015 and that it will be possible to start new schools by autumn 2016.”