The Norwegian government has assigned a €17 million fund for national education institutions in an attempt to help students carry on with their studies during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Announcing the news, the Research and Higher Education Minister, Ola Borten Moe, pointed out that the effects of the pandemic in the education system will be felt regardless of reopening.
“Therefore, the Storting [Parliament] has decided to allocate NOK 170 million [€17 million] to follow up the students academically and socially this year. The goal is that the educational institutions and organizations can quickly initiate or extend extra measures to help students,” the Minister said.
The amount will be evenly distributed among all associations, universities, colleges and vocational schools with a basic amount of €5 million while the rest will be allocated according to the number of students in each institution, jointly, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
More specifically, the public universities and colleges will receive €8.2 million, private colleges about €1.1 million and vocational programs about €1.7 million. In addition, the student organizations receive €6 million.
According to Erudera.com, the universities to receive the highest amounts of financial aid are the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (€1.4 million), BI Norwegian Business School (€38,000), Student Organization Sio (€1.5 million), Noroff Fagskole AS (€16,000) and Vocational School Kristiania (€15,000).
Additional funds to facilitate the studying process amidst the pandemic have helped students to maintain their progress, despite the lack of interactions. Previously, Erasmus+, which represents the EU’s program to support education, training, youth and sport in the 27-nation-bloc, revealed that more than 640,000 learning experiences had been funded by this program in 2020. In addition, it funded 20,400 projects and 126,00 organisations.
According to data from Statista, the number of students in higher education in Norway has increased gradually in the last decade, accounting for a 26 per cent increase, more specifically from 241,302 to 306,453 – about 65,151 more students. In addition, the number of students jumped by 3.4 per cent in 2020 compared to the previous year when 296,182 students attending universities and colleges were registered in the country.
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There were consistently more female than male students during this period, and the gendered difference has only grown larger in recent years.
Moreover, data shows that many students traveled abroad for some time during their studies, with the United Kingdom and Denmark being the most popular destinations for Norwegian students in 2020. However, despite the relatively high numbers of students in Norway, the education rates are dimmed in comparison with the whole population.
In 2019, tertiary education or high school degree was the highest education completed among most Norwegians, and around ten per cent of the population had obtained an extended higher education of five years or more.