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How many children in Norway attend a private or international school?

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
How many children in Norway attend a private or international school?
Pictured is a boy sat in a classroom. Photo by Taylor Flowe on Unsplash

Norway’s government has announced plans to cut subsidies to some private and international schools. So, how many students could this policy affect?

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Private schools in Norway are covered by the Private Schools Act and are allowed to operate in Norway on one of five grounds.

Private schools must either operate on a specific outlook of life, under a recognised pedagogical direction (such as a Monterossi or Steiner school,) be an international school (according to international curricula), offer specially arranged education for people with disabilities, or establish Norwegian schools abroad.

The government points to the Human Rights Act, which allows students and parents to choose other types of schools than state ones.

In 2022, around 30,000 students attended private schools in Norway, according to national data agency Statistics Norway. Meanwhile, 606,899 students attended a public school in Norway last year.

The figures for 2023 will be released in December 2023.

There were also 278 private schools in Norway last year. This is compared to the 2,462 state schools across Norway.

While the number of state schools has shrunk between 2008 and 2022, the number of private schools in Norway has increased significantly. Between 2012 and 2022, the number of private schools in Norway increased by 50.3 percent.

While private schools account for roughly 10 percent of all schools in Norway, students at these schools account for 4.7 percent of the pupil population.

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Most private schools in Norway charge fees, a significant portion of their funding comes from government subsidies. Due to the smaller size of private schools, the government pays out grants as the schools have a higher cost per pupil than state schools.

Many private schools combine levels, offering primary and secondary education. This amounts to 192,908 kroner in subsidies per pupil, compared to a municipal spend of 99,394 kroner for state school pupils.

This is according to government figures for a town in eastern Norway. Based on its estimates for other parts of Norway, it pays out between 167,849 and 195,156 kroner in subsidies to combined schools.

However, the Norwegian government wants to cut the subsidies it pays to combined schools. Previously, it paid subsidies for the first 40-50 students at a level. If a school combines primary and secondary education, the subsidy is applied twice.

READ ALSO: How Norway's government plans to cut funding for private schools

Under new proposals, it wants to ensure that the subsidy is only paid once.

Other governemnt figures point to the state paying out grants that correspond to 85 percent of the average expenditure per pupil in the public school system under the new rules. 

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