The Norwegian Education Mirror, 2019

Cost of kindergarten provision and primary and secondary education

Every year local authorities and county councils spend large sums on education. In 2018 Norway spent almost NOK 156 billion on kindergartens and primary and lower secondary education.

Cost of kindergarten provision

Local authorities fund most (more than 80 per cent) of the cost of operating both municipal and private kindergartens. Around 15 per cent of the cost of running kindergartens is covered by parents, while public grants and other funding from local authorities and kindergarten owners make up a small part of the funding. Local authorities spent a total of NOK 46.4 billion on kindergartens in 2018, an increase of more than 2.2 per cent since 2017. This figure includes the cost of running municipal kindergartens as well as grants given to private kindergartens, but it excludes parent contributions (KOSTRA 2019). 14.4 per cent of all local authority spending went on kindergartens in 2018. The level of spending varies between 3 and 25 per cent from municipality to municipality.

In 2018 local authorities spent an average of NOK 124,200 on each child with a full-time kindergarten place (KOSTRA, 2019). The figure includes local authority grants given to private kindergartens but excludes government grants and parent contributions. The sum ranges from NOK 101,637 to more NOK 245,000 per child. Most children – 98 per cent – attend kindergartens where the local authority spends between NOK 100,000 and 140,000 per child.

Local authorities spent a total of NOK 21.2 billion on private kindergarten grants in 2018. The grants account for 46 per cent of local authorities’ overall spending on kindergartens.

A total of 33,459 households benefited from reduced parent contributions due to low income in 2018, and local authorities spent NOK 644 million on the discount scheme. This is NOK 146 million more than in 2017.

Cost of compulsory education

In 2018 local authorities spent NOK 73.9 billion on municipal primary and lower secondary schools (KOSTRA, 2019). On top of that came the cost of out-of-school-hours care (SFO) at NOK 1.4 billion. The government also provides NOK 2.5 billion in grants to primary and lower secondary schools approved under the Independent Schools Act.

A pupil in a municipal primary or lower secondary school cost an average of NOK 121,200 per annum in 2018 (KOSTRA, 2019). NOK 98,000 of that figure went on teachers, school materials and similar, while NOK 23,000 was spent on premises and school transport (Figure 4.5). The total cost per pupil increased by almost 2 per cent, equivalent to NOK 2,270 per pupil, between 2017 and 2018.

Expenditure varies greatly from local authority to local authority. 37 per cent of local authorities spend between NOK 100,000 and 130,000 per pupil. 79 per cent of pupils live in these municipalities. 62 per cent of municipalities spend more than NOK 130,000 per pupil. 19 per cent of pupils live in these municipalities.

Cost of upper secondary education and training

In 2018 county councils spent NOK 29 billion on upper secondary classroom education and NOK 3.6 billion on vocational training in the workplace. The cost of vocational training in the workplace rose by 6 per cent. This was due to both more apprentices being trained and increased funding. The government also spent NOK 1.6 billion on grants for independent upper secondary schools. County councils spent almost NOK 591 million on upper secondary provision specially adapted for adults.

A student in upper secondary costs more than a pupil in primary or lower secondary

County councils spend an average of NOK 165,100 per student in upper secondary education. The figure includes the cost of national courses, special needs education and the educational psychology service (PPT). That is just over NOK 44,000 more than the cost per primary and lower secondary school pupil. Not including national courses, special needs education and the educational psychology service, a student enrolled on a vocational study programme costs NOK 27,000 more on average than a student on a general study programme, largely due to smaller classes and more expensive study materials.

Expenditure varies greatly between the different study programmes. The average study programme costs NOK 100,000 per student. The most expensive programme – Agriculture, Fishing and Forestry – costs almost NOK 157,000 per student, while the Specialisation in General Studies programme costs NOK 67,400 per student.