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Norway
Overview of the education system (EAG 2013)
  • In Norway, educational attainment is high: in 2011, 82% of the adult population had at least an upper secondary education (OECD average: 75%), and 38% a tertiary degree (OECD average: 32%). In 2011, 14% of those graduating from an upper secondary programme were over 25 years old, one of the highest rates compared with an OECD average of 7%. As a consequence, many individuals enter university at a later age. In 2011, among all new entrants into tertiary-type A programmes, more than 30% were over 25 years old, compared with 19% on an OECD average.
  • The 2011 employment rate in Norway for people with all levels of education was 83%, placing it first among OECD countries together with Iceland, Sweden and Switzerland. Still, unemployment rates for people with all levels of education increased between 2008 and 2011. This increase, which was most marked among the less-educated, was, however, smaller than in many other OECD countries. Among tertiary-educated adults of working age, unemployment increased at a much slower pace than in other OECD countries, growing by 0.2 percentage points compared to 1.5 percentage points on an OECD average. For the less-educated cohort, Norwegian unemployment rates increased more significantly. Between 2008 and 2011 unemployment increased by 1.2 percentage points among those who had not attained an upper secondary education, but again lower than the average increase for OECD countries (3.8 percentage points).
  • In 2010, Norway devoted an annual expenditure of USD 14 081 per student from primary to tertiary education, the third largest within the OECD (OECD average: USD 9 300). Expenditure per student represented 9% of its GDP at all levels, one of the highest percentages across OECD countries (OECD average: 6%). At the tertiary level, 96% of the total spending came from public sources, which was much higher than elsewhere. On average across OECD countries, 68% of total expenditure on tertiary education came from public sources, while for the EU21 countries the proportion was 77%.
  • Based on 2011 data, teachers in Norway at all levels earn, on average, significantly less than workers with a comparable level of education. For instance, at the lower secondary level, teachers' statutory salaries average 70% of full-time, full-year earnings for 25-64 year-olds with a tertiary education (OECD average: 85%). Teachers' salary structures in Norway are comparatively flat. The salary at the top of the scale for lower secondary education, which is reached after an average of 16 years of teaching, is only 26% higher than starting salaries (OECD average: 61% after 24 years ).
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    The following list displays indicators for which your selected country shows the highest and lowest values among countries. The list can be sorted by level of education or by age group. All rankings are calculated including available data from OECD and partner countries. Find out more about the methodology here.

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    Educational outcomes

    The proportion of 25-64 year-olds who have attained only pre-primary or primary education is one of the smallest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (0 %, rank 35/37 ) Download Indicator

    The level of upper secondary attainment among 55-64 year-olds is one of the highest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (81 %, rank 8/35 ) Download Indicator

    The level of tertiary attainment among 30-34 year-olds is one of the highest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (50 %, rank 5/34 ) Download Indicator

    The level of tertiary attainment among 25-64 year-olds is one of the highest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (37 %, rank 10/35 ) Download Indicator

    The proportion of 25-64 year-olds who have attained general programmes in the upper secondary or post-secondary level is one of the highest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (12 %, rank 10/27 ) Download Indicator

    The proportion of 25-64 year-olds men who have attained general programmes in the upper secondary or post-secondary level is one of the highest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (11 %, rank 10/27 ) Download Indicator

    Participation in education

    The average age of graduates from general programmes at the upper secondary level in Norway is comparatively high. (19 Years, rank 10/28 ) Download Indicator

    The average age of graduates from vocational programmes at the upper secondary level in Norway is comparatively high. (27 Years, rank 4/25 ) Download Indicator

    In Norway, the percentage of today's young people expected to graduate from upper secondary education during their lifetimes is one of the high among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (90 %, rank 9/29 ) Download Indicator

    In Norway, the percentage of today's young men expected to graduate from upper secondary education is one of the highest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (85 %, rank 10/29 ) Download Indicator

    In Norway, the percentage of today's women expected to graduate from upper secondary education is one of the highest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (95 %, rank 7/29 ) Download Indicator

    In Norway, the percentage of today's young people expected to graduate from upper secondary education of general programme is one of the highest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (60 %, rank 10/36 ) Download Indicator

    The proportion of upper secondary vocational men graduates who studied Engineering, manufacturing and construction is one of the highest among OECD and G20 countries (74 %, rank 2/25 ) Download Indicator

    The proportion of upper secondary vocational men graduates who studied agriculture is one of the lowest among OECD and G20 countries (3 %, rank 16/25 ) Download Indicator

    The proportion of upper secondary vocational women graduates who studied humanities, arts and education is one of the lowest among OECD and G20 countries (5 %, rank 16/25 ) Download Indicator

    The proportion of upper secondary vocational women graduates who studied health and welfare is one of the highest among OECD and G20 countries (48 %, rank 2/25 ) Download Indicator

    The proportion of upper secondary vocational women graduates who studied social science, business and law is one of the lowest among OECD and G20 countries (13 %, rank 23/25 ) Download Indicator

    The proportion of female graduates who studied services in upper secondary vocational programmes is one of the highest among OECD and G20 countries (23 %, rank 9/25 ) Download Indicator

    The proportion of female graduates who student agriculture in upper secondary vocational programmes is one of the lowest among OECD and G20 countries (3 %, rank 18/25 ) Download Indicator

    The proportion of male graduates who studied humanities, arts and education in upper secondary vocational programmes is one of the lowest among OECD and G20 countries (1 %, rank 24/25 ) Download Indicator

    The proportion of male graduates who studied health and welfare in upper secondary vocational programmes is one of the highest among OECD and G20 countries (4 %, rank 8/25 ) Download Indicator

    The proportion of male graduates who studied social sciences, business and law in upper secondary vocational programmes is one of the lowest among OECD and G20 countries (2 %, rank 24/25 ) Download Indicator

    The proportion of male graduates who studied social services in upper secondary vocational programmes is one of the highest among OECD and G20 countries (14 %, rank 5/25 ) Download Indicator

    The percentage of today's young people expected to graduate from tertiary-type B (vocational) programmes before turning 30 in Norway ranks as one of the lowest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (0 %, rank 19/21 ) Download Indicator

    In Norway, the annual growth of first-time graduation rates in tertiary-type A education is comparatively low. (1 %, rank 18/25 ) Download Indicator

    The percentage of all tertiary students in Norway who are international students is one of the lowest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (2 %, rank 30/36 ) Download Indicator

    The change in the number of foreign students in tertiary education in Norway between 2005 and 2011 is one of the smallest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (124 %, rank 28/34 ) Download Indicator

    Resources for education

    Annual expenditure per tertiary student is one of the highest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (18512 USD Equivalent, rank 6/33 ) Download Indicator

    Annual expenditure per student from primary to tertiary level is one of the highest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (14081 USD Equivalent, rank 3/32 ) Download Indicator

    Annual expenditure per primary student is one of the highest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (12255 USD Equivalent, rank 2/34 ) Download Indicator

    Annual expenditure per secondary student is one of the highest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (13852 USD Equivalent, rank 3/34 ) Download Indicator

    Annual expenditure per student, for core and ancillary services, from primary to below-tertiary institutions is one of the highest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (13067 USD Equivalent, rank 3/35 ) Download Indicator

    The change in expenditure between 2005 and 2010 per student at the tertiary level is comparatively small. (100 Index, rank 23/31 ) Download Indicator

    The change in total expenditure between 2005 and 2010 at the tertiary level is comparatively small. (106 Index, rank 29/32 ) Download Indicator

    In Norway public expenditure on educational institutions as a percentage of GDP is comparatively high. (8 %, rank 2/33 ) Download Indicator

    In Norway the change in GDP between 2008 and 2010 is comparatively large. (100 Index, rank 10/34 ) Download Indicator

    In Norway public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP is comparatively high. (9 %, rank 1/33 ) Download Indicator

    In Norway the change in public expenditure between 2008 and 2010 on education including subsidies to households is comparatively small. (100 Index, rank 26/30 ) Download Indicator

    The change in public expenditure on education as a percentage of total public expenditure between 2008 and 2010 is one of the smallest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (95 Index, rank 26/30 ) Download Indicator

    Public funding to households and other private entities in tertiary education is one of the highest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (38 %, rank 4/32 ) Download Indicator

    In Norway the salary cost of primary teachers per student is comparatively high. (3618 USD Equivalent, rank 3/27 ) Download Indicator

    Teachers

    The number of students per teacher in tertiary institutions is one of the smallest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (9 Students, rank 27/27 ) Download Indicator

    The number of students per teacher in primary schools is one of the smallest among OECD countries and G20 countries with available data. (10 Students, rank 33/35 ) Download Indicator

    The ratio of students to teaching staff at the lower secondary level is especially low. (10 Students, rank 26/32 ) Download Indicator

    The ratio of students to teaching staff at the upper secondary level is especially low. (10 Students, rank 31/32 ) Download Indicator

    The number of students per teacher in secondary schools is one of the smallest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (10 Students, rank 31/36 ) Download Indicator

    After 15 years of experience, a pre-primary teacher can expect to have one of the highest salaries among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (38043 USD Equivalent, rank 10/27 ) Download Indicator

    The ratio of pre-primary teachers' salaries to earnings for full-time, full-year workers with tertiary education is one of the lowest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (1 Ratio, rank 17/22 ) Download Indicator

    The ratio of primary teachers' salaries to earnings for full-time, full-year workers with tertiary education is one of the lowest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (1 Ratio, rank 19/27 ) Download Indicator

    The ratio of lower secondary teachers' salaries to earnings for full-time, full-year workers with tertiary education is one of the lowest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (1 Ratio, rank 20/27 ) Download Indicator

    The ratio of upper secondary teachers' salaries to earnings for full-time, full-year workers with tertiary education is one of the lowest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (1 Ratio, rank 20/27 ) Download Indicator

    The number of days of instruction in a school year in pre-primary school is especially large. (225 Days, rank 3/30 ) Download Indicator

    The number of days of instruction in a school year in upper secondary school is especially large. (190 Days, rank 9/31 ) Download Indicator

    The number of hours pre-primary teachers spend teaching in public institutions is comparatively large in Norway. (1508 Hours, rank 3/29 ) Download Indicator

    Classroom environment

    Intended instruction time for lower secondary students, in hours per year, in Norway is one of the shortest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (855 Hours, rank 23/31 ) Download Indicator

    Total compulsory instruction time for lower secondary students in Norway is one of the shortest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (2566 Hours, rank 23/31 ) Download Indicator

    Total intended instruction time for lower secondary students in Norway is among the shortest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (2566 Hours, rank 24/31 ) Download Indicator

    Economic and social outcomes

    The employment rate among 25-64 year-old individuals with a tertiary education is comparatively high. (90 %, rank 1/36 ) Download Indicator

    The employment rate among individuals without an upper secondary education is comparatively high. (68 %, rank 4/35 ) Download Indicator

    The employment rate among individuals with an upper secondary or a post-secondary non-tertiary education is comparatively high. (82 %, rank 5/36 ) Download Indicator

    The employment rate among men with an upper secondary or a post-secondary non-tertiary education is comparatively high. (85 %, rank 9/36 ) Download Indicator

    The employment rate among men with a tertiary education is comparatively high. (92 %, rank 3/36 ) Download Indicator

    The employment rate among women without an upper secondary education is comparatively high. (63 %, rank 2/35 ) Download Indicator

    The employment rate among women with an upper secondary or a post-secondary non-tertiary education is comparatively high. (77 %, rank 4/36 ) Download Indicator

    The employment rate among women with a tertiary education is comparatively high. (89 %, rank 1/36 ) Download Indicator

    The proportion of 25-29 year-olds who are neither employed nor in education or training is comparatively small in Norway. (12 %, rank 29/34 ) Download Indicator


    General findings
    • Across almost all OECD countries, upper secondary attainment is the norm. On average, 75% of 25-64 year-olds and 82% of 25-34 year-olds had reached this level of attainment in 2011. However, despite notable strides, some countries remain far below the OECD average in upper secondary attainment. For example, in Mexico, Portugal and Turkey, less than 20% of the population had attained upper secondary education as the highest level of education in 2011.
    • Vocational education and training is a major factor in the educational attainment of people in many countries. In 2011, a vocational upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education was the highest level of attainment for more than 50% of 25-64 year-olds in Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia. However, in these countries, people tend to leave education after attaining upper secondary qualifications. In an additional 10 OECD countries, a vocational upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary attainment was the highest educational level for more than 30% of 25-64 year-olds.
    • Tertiary attainment levels have increased considerably over the last decades. On average across OECD countries, the proportion of 25-64 year-olds that hold a tertiary qualification has increased by 4.2% per year since 2000. However, even though tertiary attainment rates have increased in recent years, less than 35% of both men and women had attained a tertiary education in 2011.
    • If current tertiary attainment rates among 25-34 year-olds are maintained, the proportion of adults in France, Ireland, Japan and Korea who have a tertiary education will surpass that of other OECD countries, while the proportion in Austria, Brazil and Germany will fall further behind other OECD countries.
    • Significant progress has been achieved in reducing the gender gap in educational attainment and women have surpassed men in many aspects of education in OECD countries. Among 30-34 year-olds, more than 40% of women had a tertiary education in 2011, surpassing the rate of men with that level of education by about 8 percentage points. Tertiary attainment rates among young women have grown strongly in Australia, Canada, Ireland, Israel, New Zealand, Norway and Sweden, where 50% or more of younger women in that age group had attained tertiary education in 2011.
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    • Across OECD countries, employment rates are highest among people who have a tertiary education; and these individuals are also most likely to be employed full time.
    • Unemployment rates are nearly three times higher among individuals who do not have an upper secondary education (13% on average across OECD countries in 2011) than among those who have a tertiary education (5% in 2011).
    • Individuals who have at least an upper secondary education have a greater chance of being employed than those without that level of education.
    • Gender differences in employment rates are smallest among tertiary-educated individuals and largest among men and women who do not have an upper secondary education.
    • In all OECD countries, adults with tertiary education earn more than adults with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education, who, in turn, earn more than adults with a below upper secondary education.
    • On average across OECD countries, the difference in earnings between younger and older workers increases with educational attainment, benefitting more educated older workers. The earnings premium for tertiary-educated 55-64 year-olds is generally larger than that for all tertiary educated workers: in 2011, on average, the earnings differential between these two groups increased by 16 percentage points.
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    • In 2011, on average across OECD countries, 16% of 15-29 year-olds were neither employed nor in education or training (NEET) (7% unemployed and 9% inactive), as were 8% of 15-19 year-olds (2.7% unemployed and 5.8% inactive), and 20% of 25-29 year-olds (8% unemployed and 12% inactive).
    • In Chile, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Spain and Turkey, more than 20% of 15-29 year-olds were NEET in 2011 compared to less than 10% in Austria, Iceland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. Unemployment levels are particularly worrying in Greece (14.6% in 2011) and Spain (17.0% in 2011), as is inactivity among young people in those countries (7.1% and 7.5%, respectively, in 2011).
    • On average across OECD countries in 2011, 18% of 15-29 year-old women were NEET (12% inactive and 6% unemployed) as were 13% of 15-29 year-old men (7% unemployed and 6% inactive).
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    • In 2010, OECD countries spent an average of 6.3% of their GDP on educational institutions. Out of the 33 countries for which data were available, this proportion exceeded 7% in Denmark, Iceland, Israel, Korea, New Zealand, Norway and the United States. Only the Czech Republic, Hungary Italy, the Russian Federation and the Slovak Republic spent less than 5% of their GDP on educational institutions.
    • On average, OECD countries spent USD 9 313 annually per student from primary through tertiary education in 2010: USD 7 974 per primary student, USD 9 014 per secondary student and USD 13 528 per tertiary student. Spending per pre-primary student amounted to USD 6 762 per year.
    • While there was no clear global trend in how the proportion of public expenditure on education evolved during the economic crisis, in 14 out of the 30 countries with available data, public expenditure on education grew at a faster rate than public expenditure on all other services between 2008 and 2010.
    • Public funding accounted for 84% of all funds for educational institutions on average in OECD countries in 2010, and between 2000 and 2010, public funding increased for all levels of education combined. However, more pressure has been put on households to share the cost of education, and private funding increased at an even greater rate in more than three-quarters of countries. The share of public and private investment in education differs among education levels. Tertiary institutions and, to a lesser extent, pre-primary institutions obtain the largest proportions of funds from private sources (32% and 18%, respectively, in 2010).
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    • The ratio of students to teaching staff varies across OECD countries and levels of education. At the primary level, there were more than 15 students for every teacher on average in OECD countries in 2011. In most countries, the student-teacher ratio decreases between primary and lower secondary school, despite an increase in class size. In 2011, there were, on average, about 14 students per teacher at the secondary level. At the tertiary level, there were, on average, about 16 students per teacher in OECD countries.
    • The number of teaching hours per teacher in public schools in 2011 averaged 790 hours per year in primary education, 709 hours in lower secondary education, and 664 hours in upper secondary education.
    • Teachers' statutory salaries vary widely across countries, but often increase with the level of education. In 2011, the statutory salaries of teachers with at least 15 years of experience averaged USD 36 135 at the pre-primary level, USD 38 136 at the primary level, USD 39 934 at the lower secondary level, and USD 41 665 at the upper secondary level. Between 2000 and 2011, teachers' salaries increased in real terms in most countries.
    • On average in OECD countries, pre-primary school teachers' salaries in 2011 amounted to 80% of full-time, full-year earnings of tertiary-educated adults working in different occupations. Primary school teachers' salaries amounted to 82% of that income, lower secondary school teachers' salaries amounted to 85% of that benchmark, and upper secondary school teachers' salaries amounted to 89% of those earnings.
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    Note: These values should be interpreted with care since they are influenced by countries' specific contexts and trade-offs. In education, there is often no simple most- or least-efficient model. For instance, the share of private expenditure in education must be read against other measures designed to mitigate inequities, such as loans and grants; longer learning time is an opportunity to convey more and better content to students, but may hinder investments in other important areas. If you want further information on the nature of different variables, please take the time to read the analysis and contextual information, available at the website for each publication.
    All rankings for individual variables are compiled on the basis of OECD and G20 countries for which data are available. The OECD average includes only OECD countries which are listed here: http://www.oecd.org/about/membersandpartners/

    *TALIS averages are based on all countries participating in the TALIS survey, including partner countries and economies. This explains the difference between the OECD average and the TALIS average. Data from the TALIS survey and Education at a Glance (EAG) may differ. See Annex E of the TALIS technical report and Annex 3 of EAG for more details about the data collections.

    For additional notes, please refer to annexes in the list of links below the introductory country profile text.