The 2010 budget includes additional resources for improving the quality of education aligning the efforts to make education better in Norway indicated in the Policy Agenda of the new government.
In total, funding for kindergartens has increased from NOK 13,5 to 26,8 billion over the past four years. Additionally, the budget proposes the introduction of eight lessons per week of free homework assistance at schools.
It also proposes raising by one the number of weekly school lessons in years 1-7. In combination with the homework assistance programme, this aims to focus more resources on the youngest pupils, and to ensure that more learning takes place at school. The budget envisages municipalities receiving NOK 236 million in extra funding to implement these initiatives
NOK 40 million is budgeted for improving the number of cultural activities and culture schools available to years 1-4, which will be distributed amongst municipalities and organisations.
In 2009, funding for apprenticeship grants was increased by NOK 200 million, and the proposal is to maintain this higher level of funding in 2010.
Higher education and research
In order to support the long-term aim of building skills for the knowledge society and increasing higher education capacity on high priority professional courses, the revised national budget for 2009 allocated NOK 96,6 million to create 3000 extra higher education places, most of which are on multi-year courses.
The government proposes continuing with this increase in the student intake in 2010. Approximately another 2 600 new places will be created from the autumn of 2010, making 5 600 new higher education places in total. Overall, this proposal will result in higher education institutions receiving an extra NOK 291,2 million in 2010. This is in addition to the financial support provided through the Norwegian State Educational Loan Fund. The government also proposes continuing its investment in decentralised education, continuing education and tertiary vocational education.
Other areas of investment:
- Additional student accommodation will be built, with 1 000 new units proposed for 2010.
- An extra NOK 100 million will be allocated to teacher training in 2010. Some of that money will be spent on the new training programme for primary and lower secondary school teachers.
- NOK 13,5 million has been allocated to the proposed civil aviation degree course at the University of Tromsø.
- In 2010, just over NOK 1 billion will go to continuing construction projects that have previously been allocated funding.
Special Interest in Climate Research
Climate research will receive an additional NOK 350 million, of which NOK 300 million will go to research within renewable energy sources, carbon capture and carbon storage, whilst NOK 50 million will go to other climate research. Some of this money will be used to establish an international climate research centre in Bergen.
New knowledge centre for the education sector to open in 2011
The government proposes establishing a knowledge centre for the education sector from 1 January 2011. The Research Council of Norway will be charged with setting up the centre, and NOK 2 million will be allocated from the autumn of 2010 for its preparation work.
The centre will compare and present the results of Norwegian and international educational research. The centre will also be tasked with identifying gaps in our knowledge, and with proposing new areas of research to the Research Council of Norway, academia and the central education authorities.