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Upper Secondary School (Videregående skole, grades VG1-VG3, age 16-19)

 

 

Upper secondary school (akin to high school) is 3 years of optional schooling, although recent changes to society (few jobs available for the age group) and law (government required by law of 1994 to offer secondary schooling in one form or another to everyone between 16 and 18 who submit the application form) has made it largely unavoidable in practice.

Secondary education in Norway is primarily based on public schools: In 2007, 93% of upper secondary school students attended public schools. Until 2005, Norwegian law held private secondary schools to be illegal unless they offered a 'religious or pedagogic alternative', so the only private schools in existence were religious (Christian), Steiner/Waldorf, Montessori schools and Danielsen. The first "standard" private upper secondary schools opened in the fall of 2005.

Prior to 1994 there were three branches of upper secondary schooling: "General" (language, history etc.), "mercantile" (accounting etc.) and "vocational" (electronics, carpentry etc.) studies. The high school reform of 1994 (Reform 94) merged these branches into a single system. Among the goals of the reform was that everybody should have a certain amount of 'general studies' large enough to make them eligible for higher education later, meaning more theory in vocational studies, and it should be possible to cross over from one education path to another without losing too much credit. In the old system, two years of carpentry would be wasted if you wanted to switch to general studies, in the new system you could keep credit for at least half of it.

Since the introduction of the reform Kunnskapsløftet fall 2006 (the knowledge promotion), a student will apply for a general studies (studiespesialisering) or a vocational studies (yrkesfag) path. Inside these main paths there are many sub-paths to follow. The new reform makes the incorporation of IT into the schooling mandatory, many counties (responsible for the public high schools) offer laptops to general studies students for free or for a small fee. Kunnskapsløftet also makes it harder to switch betweens electives that you take in the second and third year in the general studies path.

Students graduating upper secondary school are called Russ in Norwegian. Most of them choose to celebrate with lots of parties and festivities, which, impractically, take place a few weeks before the final examinations of the final year.

 

 

 

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