The report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) warned of an increasing gap between well-educated youth in Norway, and an “out” group with no education and few skills that would make them attractive in the labour market.
”We see that Norway is marked by an increasing gap between this group and those who are qualified to work,”
Andreas Schleicher, OECD’s Director for the Directorate of Education and Skills, told Norway's VG newspaper.
“The reason is that they to a much greater extent lack basic skills such as reading, writing and especially in numeracy, than young people in other countries.”
Norway has lower youth unemployment than in many other OECD countries. However, the share of young people with no higher education and no job has increased from 12% in 2008 when the financial crisis hit to 17% in 2013.
The OECD is concerned that the Norwegian system allows unemployed youth to become passive and advises the country to engage the group in more activities.
Røe Isaksen, Norway's education minister conceded that Norway's failure to improve the skills of unemployed youth was a real problem.
“The most important thing that the OECD is showing is that the basics – reading and writing – need to be in place. If that is not the case, you will struggle for the rest of your life,” he told VG. “More of those outside the labour market in Norway lack basic reading and writing skills than in many other countries. That shows that although we are doing many things right, we have not been able to find a solution to this.”
Schleicher is also noted that Norwegian boys were falling behind, saying he feared they felt school was “irrelevant” to their lives and careers.