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Weaknesses in organising, facilitating, and monitoring educational provisions in primary and lower secondary schools - Document no. 3:10 (2005-2006)

Educational provisions in a number of primary and lower secondary schools are not satisfactory. Those particularly affected are pupils who are not receiving special education, but are in need of extra help. Many schools do not assess whether the tuition is sufficiently well organised and adapted to allow the goals of the education to be achieved, and there are significant deficiencies in municipal systems for assessing and monitoring schools. In addition, the national government exercises little supervision over fundamental provisions stipulated in the Norwegian Education Act.
Published 6/28/2006 3:14 PM

These are the main conclusions given in Document no. 3:10 (2005-2006) The Office of the Auditor General’s investigation of education in primary and lower secondary schools that was submitted to the Storting on 28 June 2006.

The objectives of the investigation of the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) were to shed light on the extent to which conditions have been created to enable tuition to be carried out in line with the provisions stated in the Education Act and to clarify how the education is monitored at municipal and governmental level.

The OAG’s investigation shows that teachers’ expertise regarding organising and facilitate tuition for individual needs represents a key factor in ensuring that pupils receive such tuition and can thus attain a satisfactory learning yield. Almost half the head master included in the investigation referred to the lack of such competence among teachers in this area, which results in many pupils not receiving the appropriate education. Those particularly affected are pupils who are not receiving special education, but are in need of extra help. The OAG is of the view that it is crucial for the government and the municipalities to draw attention to this fact.

The investigation reveals that there are disparities in the municipalities’ expenditure on equipment and materials. Even though some variation in the resources situation of the schools can be expected, the OAG maintains that the investigation indicates that the differences in pupils’ learning conditions may now have become too large.

Many schools do not assess whether the tuition is well enough organised, facilitated and performed to enable the goals of the education to be achieved as prescribed. At the same time there are deficiencies in municipal systems for assessing and monitoring schools. The municipalities do not adequately evaluate whether the teaching groups have been appropriately formed pursuant to the Education Act. The OAG is of the opinion that both detecting weaknesses and further developing primary and lower secondary schools require good municipal systems as well as governmental follow-up in the form of suitable measures.

National government exercises little supervision over the fundamental provisions of the Education Act, and few inspections are made of individual schools. The OAG’s view is that such inspections of individual schools must be performed as long as there are significant deficiencies in municipal management systems, as the investigation shows.

The Ministry of Education and Research’s comments
The Ministry of Education and Research has stated that the OAG’s report addresses important issues regarding primary and lower secondary education. The ministry refers to the Quality Reform for primary and secondary education that is to be put into operation in autumn 2006, and regards this reform as the best way of meeting the challenges in Norwegian schools. The foremost objective of the reform is to improve the schools’ prerequisites for providing individual pupils with specially-adapted tuition. The ministry emphasises that the efficiency and effectiveness of supervisory activities have so far not been satisfactory but that efforts have now been initiated to strengthen governmental supervision of primary and lower secondary schools.

Auditor General Annelise Høegh has noted the response from the Ministry of Education and Research and finds no reason to send the OAG’s investigation of education in primary and secondary schools to the Storting as a separate matter.

The document can be downloaded from this website or ordered from Akademika booksellers, tel. +47 22 18 81 00.

The provision concerning delayed public access to documents that are compiled by or sent to the Office of the Auditor General in connection with Document no. 3:10 has been repealed, cf. Section 18, paragraph 2 of the Auditor General Act.

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