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Significant variation in the follow-up of young people who have interrupted their upper secondary education and training

​Around 30 per cent of Norwegian students who start upper secondary education do not complete their education within five years. The challenges are particularly evident within vocational subjects. The follow-up they receive is quite variable. "The county authorities and the NAV offices should provide better follow-up of these young people," says Norway's Auditor General, Per-Kristian Foss.

Published 3/15/2016 1:00 PM

Document 3:9 (2015–2016) The Office of the Auditor General's investigation of follow-up of young people lacking education and job opportunities was submitted to the Storting on 15 March.

Pursuant to the Education Act, county authorities are responsible for offering follow-up alternatives for young people who either do not start, or who interrupt, upper secondary education, and who are not employed. The Office of the Auditor General's investigation shows that many young people do receive good follow-up from the county authorities' follow-up service. There are, however, significant differences. Sixty per cent of the young people in the follow-up service's target group do not participate in any measures. Moreover, it often takes quite a long time for the follow-up service to contact them.

Foss points out that early contact with the young people is a prerequisite for avoiding passivity and to ensure early access to guidance and appropriate measures.

The NAV offices are supposed to connect job-seekers with employment, and one-third of the young people in the follow-up service's target group take part in NAV programmes. The investigation reveals variable quality in the NAV offices' follow-up. Furthermore, the NAV measures do not focus on curriculum goals to any great extent. Including curriculum targets could be a step on the path to achieving university and college admissions certification, or vocational qualifications. Therefore, overall, the policy measures are not sufficiently adapted to deal with the challenges associated with getting young people to complete upper secondary education and training.

Many of the young people who interrupt upper secondary education and training need follow-up from a broader spectrum of agencies, such as the public health service, child welfare authorities, or the educational and psychological service. The Office of the Auditor General's investigation shows that the cooperation between the various agencies does not function well enough. Among other things, it is often unclear who should assume responsibility for coordinating services when multiple agencies are involved.

"The county authorities and the NAV offices must redouble their efforts to achieve good cooperation with various municipal and county agencies and the public health service. Weak coordination of the efforts exerted by various players can result in situations where young people with a complex range of needs do not receive the best possible follow-up," says the Auditor General.

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