OECD Economics Department Working Papers

Working papers from the Economics Department of the OECD that cover the full range of the Department’s work including the economic situation, policy analysis and projections; fiscal policy, public expenditure and taxation; and structural issues including ageing, growth and productivity, migration, environment, human capital, housing, trade and investment, labour markets, regulatory reform, competition, health, and other issues.

The views expressed in these papers are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the OECD or of the governments of its member countries.

English, French

Addressing the challenges in higher education in Norway

Norway’s predominately public and tuition-fee free tertiary education system encourages participation and has high attainment rates. However, challenges in spending efficiency, study times, skills demand, inclusiveness and quality remain. Also, learning outcomes could improve further. Moreover, few Norwegian universities rank high in international comparisons on the basis of research-related and other indicators, and spending per student or GDP is relatively high. Many small institutions, aiming to meet regional needs, do not reach critical mass in staff and student numbers. Many students take considerable time to finish their studies despite financial incentives, and students from lower income groups have low tertiary participation and completion rates despite a strong focus on inclusiveness. Enrolments remain low in fields such as science and engineering, although they have increased in recent years, and supply shortages in some professional areas indicate room for improvement. Better incentives for both students and institutions to ensure timely completions, with a special emphasis on disadvantaged students and labour market needs, a structure that paves the way for adequately sized institutions, and effective governance are essential for higher quality education and research. Effective monitoring of the outcomes is also vital. The government’s comprehensive quality-enhancing agenda, with a focus on these fronts, is welcome. This working paper relates to the 2016 OECD Economic Survey of Norway (www.oecd.org/eco/surveys/economic-survey-norway.htm).


Keywords: reform, institutions, education, students, accreditation
JEL: I28: Health, Education, and Welfare / Education and Research Institutions / Education: Government Policy; I22: Health, Education, and Welfare / Education and Research Institutions / Educational Finance; Financial Aid; I23: Health, Education, and Welfare / Education and Research Institutions / Higher Education; Research Institutions
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