Universities set to stay tuition-free

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Foreign students from outside the European Union and Economic Area look likely, along with all others, to continue to be able to study at Norwegian universities without having to pay tuition. A proposal to start charging the tuition or school fees that apply in most all other countries around the world, especially for non-citizens, hasn’t won support from a majority in Parliament.

The Norwegian University of Life Sciences (UMB) in Ås has the largest number of foreign students of all the universities in Norway. Students there have firmly opposed a proposal to introduce tuition fees. PHOTO: UMB

The Norwegian University of Life Sciences (UMB) in Ås has the largest number of foreign students of all the universities in Norway. Students there have firmly opposed a proposal to introduce tuition fees. PHOTO: UMB

Norway’s new Conservatives-led government will still propose charging tuition to students coming from outside  Europe, since they can’t legally charge European students under terms of Norway’s economic agreement with the EU. The government argues that tuition could increase the overall quality of higher education in Norway, in several ways. On Wednesday night, however, one of the government’s two small support parties in parliament, the Christian Democrats, voted against the tuition proposal.

The Christian Democrats’ parliamentary group decided they don’t want to start charging any foreign students at Norwegian universities and colleges, and the government’s other support party, the Liberals, had already reached the same conclusion. That probably means the government’s tuition proposal won’t win parliamentary approval.

“It’s undoubtedly positive that we have a ‘free education’ principle in Norway,” Emil André Erstad of the party’s youth organization told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). “What applies for Norwegian citizens should also apply for those who come here to study.”

Others have argued that Norwegian taxpayers should have no obligation to educate foreign students who haven’t contributed to the tax base in addition to Norwegian students coming from families who have. They also argue that offering a tuition-free education by no means ensures Norway will attract the best or most qualified university applicants.

Norway's young new education minister, Torbjørn Røe Isaksen, told NRK on Thursday that he's not giving up his government's proposal to introduce tuition fees for foreign students from outside Europe. It looks unlikely, however, to get through parliament. PHOTO: Kunnskapsdepartementet

Norway’s young new education minister, Torbjørn Røe Isaksen, told NRK on Thursday that he’s not giving up his government’s proposal to introduce tuition fees for foreign students from outside Europe. It looks unlikely, however, to get through parliament. PHOTO: Kunnskapsdepartementet

“We are evaluating study fees (tuition) because we are unsure whether the system we have today contributes to internationalization in a positive manner,” Bjørn Haugstad, state secretary in the education ministry, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) earlier this month. Norwegian universities and colleges, the government has argued, should compete for good students in terms of quality, not price.

Both Sweden and Denmark have begun imposing tuition on students from outside Europe, and the government coalition now made up of the Conservatives and the Progress Party thinks it’s “natural” that Norway does the same. In Sweden, however, the number of foreign students fell by 80 percent when tuition fees were first charged, and many university deans in Norway fear the same will happen at their schools if foreign students start having to pay university fees in a country already known for having the highest prices in the world.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea (to start charging tuition),” said Anne Husebekk, dean of the University of Tromsø. She noted that her school attracts many students from Russia, “and for many of them, it wouldn’t be possible to study here if we imposed fees.”

‘Denting equal opportunity’
Norway’s International Students’ Union has also firmly opposed introduction of tuition fees, claiming it would “put a dent n the equal opportunities and rights to education policy embodied into the Norwegian society and system.” The students’ union also claimed it would be “discriminatory, given that Norway is hailed worldwide as custodians of human rights and free education.”

The group has practical objections as well, suggesting that Norwegian universities would have to compete for international students against more popular places such as the US, Canada, the UK and Australia. That in turn would incur new costs that must be borne by Norwegian taxpayers, while Norway would risk losing international students who “bring skills, innovation and diversification to the programs and institutions where they study.” The Norwegian students’ organization (NSO) has opposed tuition on their fellow foreign students as well.

Read one foreign student’s thoughts on the current lack of tuition in Norway, “Keeping higher education free.’

State Secretary Haugstad, however, thinks many foreign students only come to Norway to study because their education will be financed by Norwegian taxpayers. “We need to look at the motivations they have, what qualifications they have and where they come from,” Haugstad told NRK. He noted that the majority of foreign students in Norway come from Russia, China, Iran, the US and Nepal.

The Norwegian University of Life Sciences (UMB) in Ås, south of Oslo, has the largest concentration of foreign students in Norway. Aftenposten.no reported recently that UMB, formerly known as Norway’s Agricultural University, has students from around 100 countries, with the most coming from Nepal, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia and Pakistan.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund

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  • Ibrahim

    I pay taxes being a foreigner so if the argument is that foreign students shouldn’t get free education on Norwegian taxpayers money then a Norwegian should get educated on a foreign taxpayer money
    Right of education is basic human right let’s not make it a business. Alot of foreign students contribute to the research and technology in Norway. Let’s not close that gate

    • hydro_2

      Quality higher education is expensive. Unless a potential student truly excels academically and earns a bursary, why should a nation (its tax payers) provide free education to a foreigner? Years ago, I had to work extremely hard to pay for my MSc in my own country, Britain. You have the choice to educate yourself and your children, it’s not a basic human right. Basic human rights are far more important than free education.

      • frenk

        Its incredible that the Norwegians are happy to pay to educate ‘random people’ from around the world….what nice people they are!

        • Tom Just Olsen

          It’s not all that random. They have to apply and meet standards of exams to qualify. Thus: Most of the foreign students are very talented. Often they decide to stay in Norway. Which is good for our country.

          • frenk

            Considering the poor reputation of Norwegian education…and university education in particular….I think if they did charge…these universities would probably be empty?

            • frenk

              Like I said before Tom….Norwegians don’t mind paying high taxes…for Polish children to live a better life in Poland…and to educate foreign nationals free of charge!
              I can’t imagine being a student in Norway…a top night out in Glasgow would be around $50…an average night out in Oslo…$200 to $300…! Rock on….crazy students!

            • Tom Just Olsen

              Norway spends 7,3% of GDP on education. Britain 5,6%. The end result, which is important, is unemployment among youth of only 8,9% in Norway and 20%+ in UK.

              • Interrogative

                Not sure where you get your figures from (made up ?), but if that is the case, Norway needs to spend more (over inflated prices ?) to improve the quality of education. It’s obvious from the lack of native innovative talent that the current system is not working. Youth unemployment is not an indication of a countries education system btw.

              • FZ

                I don’t think the problem is in the amount spend on education, I think it’s in the way things in general are organized. I am those of that lucky foreign students that not only doesn’t pay tuition, but also my living costs are covered. I was really impressed to know that in high school students here can choose between having math or not, between having physics or not. I had 4 hours math obligatory myself in high school and I could choose between having 2 more or not. I think high school programs here are way to easy and than students do have problems at bachelor or master level (not entirely their fault I would say). However, I am totally planning in staying in Norway after my master because of its social democracy. I would really hate Norway becoming a British/USA kind of country, lets educate the rich or the super-talented and leave all the rest out. They have high unemployment, higher criminality and many other problems

                • hydro_2

                  Clearly you know little about Britain, one of the oldest democracies in the world. Yes, democracy is great. Every general election we get the ‘privilege’ of exercising our democratic right to vote. It last less than a second.

                  • FZ

                    I never said Britain is not a very democratic country(or that is not full of talented people that have indeed contributed a lot to the world). However, Norwegians do get the privilege to exercise their votes as well. My opinion is that for the average person, Norway is way better than GB or US. There is a reasons why Nordic countries always are the top best places to live in, and access to education and the % of educated people is a determinant factor in getting them so on top :)

                • Tom Just Olsen

                  I would really hate that Norway become a British/USA country too. To what I know, to leave out math and physics and still get a valued exam is impossible in the Norwegian educational system. Where do you get that from? Say, to go on to university you have to learn at least one foreign language. Neither of the two nations above have such high standards. Despite what you say, Norway educates far more students to both bachelor and master level than any of the two countries mentioned above, relatively speaking. Education is the best investment of our oil capital. This is a strategy with wide support in our parliament.
                  Sure, the Norwegian educational system has it’s challenges. And we are very open about it. Like finding people that will be teachers for students that don’t speak Norwegian, for one.

                  • FZ

                    I just has been doing some math tutoring at my school and Norwegian students were really struggling with fairly easy calculus. When I asked them how is that possible that they had so many difficulties I was told that they could choose between having math or not. Probably the subject is obligatory in the first year of high school and then it’s elective, I don’t know much more. It’s true that Norway educates more students, but the degrees here are fairly “easier” to get in terms of the amount of workload you have to put in it, but I don’t think the problem relies on the money spent on education or the tuition. For example in Netherlands you have to do far more homeworks and projects during the entire semester, while in Norway you are left “free” and then only in the end you have an exam that counts 70%-100% of the final grade, so there is a lack of feedback that a more continious valuation process could provide.

                    • Tom Just Olsen

                      That could well be. Do you have any statistics to document what you are claiming?
                      I saw in the news a report on comparative tests of school children in Scandinavia. Here the Finns scored highest on math. But could hardly speak or Write a foreign language. Not even Swedish which is a 2. language in Finland.
                      A good school system is not something we just have. It has to be maintained and developed. Sweden had a very good school system, that is now privatized – with a catastrophic result. Many schools have gone bankrupt after receiving hundreds of million SEK from the government, leaving the pupils with no education. I am also wary of our new government that want to make education a ‘business’.
                      Obviously, the Netherlands must have a good school system since unemployment among the young are so low.

                    • FZ

                      Hi, you can try to see the new ranking of top countries in Math, Science and Reading. I read it from business insider :)

        • Tom Just Olsen

          Not random. They have to apply for a limited number of vacant places. The best are chosen with an equal split betwen men and women etc. Thanks for the compliment!
          We think that th British people are even more generous. Granting tax free status to thousands of foriegn billionaires. You are a flock of Mother Theresas, that’s what you are. :)

      • Robert Neve

        For foreign students I don’t think it should be free although if as Tom says it’s only certain degrees and you have to pass tests then maybe that’s not bad. Norway does need to deal with the brain drain. But for domestic students it should be free and I’d like to see the UK go back to being free in the way Norway is. As I understand it Norway is only free is you do well in your degree otherwise you have loans to pay back. Make science/engineering degrees with a 1:1 free, 2:1 as 75% free, and so on. That will stop people partying on “easy” degrees but provide the education the country needs while allowing social mobility.

        • dragonlife

          Not really Rob, it’s still free whatever your degree or grade, every student is supposed to pay a tuition free around 450 NOK per semester, that’s all !
          Student take loans just for everyday expenses: rent…
          Indeed what you’re asking is against against the line of ideology: “Equal chance for every one” !

          • Robert Neve

            Apparently it’s the financial support that is part grant / part loan depending upon degree and result. But it’s not against the ideology. Everyone has the same chance to get a useful degree that will lean to a high paying job.

            • hydro_2

              You’ve just mentioned another issue I have with the system here in Norway. Does a useful degree lead to a significantly better paid job here? Why can a bus driver earn more than a qualified teacher, for instance? Where’s the incentive in that?

              • Robert Neve

                Yeh that does annoy me. It’s the biggest issue I have with socialism and why I prefer true liberalism. Giving everyone the same start in life in of course a good thing to do. Ensuring everyone has the same regardless of effort is not.

                • Tom Just Olsen

                  The difference in pay between busdrivers and teachers is increasing fast. What we must prevent is that it creates a ‘underclass’ like in USA and UK. Egalitarian wage systems have been a strong side of the Scandinavian countries. But that might change. Not for the better, I fear.

                  • Robert Neve

                    I get the theory behind it. But I don’t agree with it. It has made Norway into a place of minimum effort and mediocrity. Why try hard and put in effort when the person coasting along in minimum effort gets the same rewards? There has to be some incentive to push yourself. To put in that effort and get a greater rewards from it.

                    • Tom Just Olsen

                      There is a lot of discussion going on in Norway around this. Many academics think just like you. But it is up to each and every student to target a profession that is worth the educational effort. Typically, most of the 100 billionaires in Norway – have no education at all beyond primary school. Finansavisen wrote yesterday that some 3,500 employees in the ‘world’s financial sector’ earned more than 10 million Euros in 2012. 80% of them live in London.
                      We share one cake: The BNP of each and every country. It’s that kind of injustice we try to avoid in Norway. The best paid bank manager in Norway, Rune Bjerke of DNB, makes about 10 million NOK per year. Modest compared to his colleague at SEB, Sweden earns 100 million SEK per year. – And so on.

                    • Robert Neve

                      You misunderstand me. I’m not saying if you get a degree you should automatically be given more money. I am not a believer that everyone has to have a degree to succeed. Which is partly where I think Norway fails because it still relies far to much on people having bits of paper. I believe though that upward mobility through a company and wages should reflect your actual effort. And in Norway it doesn’t. The person who has been there the longest gets the promotion. All the wages get the same pay rise. It’s not conjunctive to a hard working employee. This is partly unionization’s fault and partly the culture that has grown up around it. It trains people to just do the basic amount required because they get the same rewards as those who give 100%.

                    • Tom Just Olsen

                      I agree that we live in times where exam papers count too much. It has ‘grown’ into this due to that so many take higher degree education.
                      There is a great difference here between public jobs and the private sector. The latter certainly looks at individual talents – and ‘results’, not the least. And give individual pay rises beyond the ‘consumer price index’ or LO & NHO negotiated raise. While in the public sector there is a rigid salary ladder tied to exam papers and what is ‘in’ the job.
                      But it is a strategy in Norway to have a ‘egalitarian society’ with not too great differences in pay. Which has been successful, – so far.

                    • Robert Neve

                      I’m happy for the pay gap to be smaller than in most countries. I wouldn’t even complain over laws that restrict manager’s pay to not exceed a certain percentage of their staff. But my girlfriend for example works as an architect and in that industry it doesn’t matter about your effort. Everyone in the company (and this is the industry standard) gets a wage calculated on the number of years they have been an architect and a staged bonus for how many years they have been at that company. That pay rise is worked out by a team of 3 employees and data gained from the union and other companies about how much they are all getting pay rises. Is it any wonder then that half her office are off sick or miles behind in their projects and she keeps getting dumped on failing projects to fix them instead of being given a proper project of her own. By working hard she actually gets punished by this system. The firm I was at before this one actually denied me and a colleague pay rises that we deserved because another colleague who did no work didn’t deserve a pay rise and they couldn’t give us more money than him because he’d worked there longer. Luckily IT is not unionized in that way and we could easily go to a company that does value hard work.

                    • Tom Just Olsen

                      Women are notoriously bad at promoting their own ‘skills’ in a salary context. Whenever women get into a ‘trade’ salaries go down. The wage system you refer to here seems to be created by somebody with a long experience with the public sector.

                      When looking back at my own life it has been ‘very profitable’ to switch jobs. Today I regret that I did not do that more often. Your girlfriend should look around at other jobs and don’t be shy about her skills.
                      Please note that the unions place no roof on salaries. Typical is NITO (trade unions for engineers: http://www.nito.no/) Many engineers are paid far more than the NITO ‘tariffs’.
                      I am absolutely convinced that our trade unions is a vital part of lifting Norwegian salaries to ‘among the highest in the world’.
                      One more thing on Public employees. My cousin Works – originally, in the Department of oil and Energy – With a lousy pay (but a good pension). But he has now got an ‘assignment’ as ‘advisor for the European Commission’ in Brussels. The pay (and pension) and fringe benefits is beyond the heftiest dreams of any public employee here in Norway. Tax free! Free housing in Brussels among the lavish embassy villas. x number of free travels back home and a range of fringe benefits. Like a ‘free’ maid to do the housework etc. Even for Norwegian CEOs this is hefty. It’s a 4 or 5 years assignment. That sort of thing is it that the public sector do to keep the employees they want.

                    • Robert Neve

                      Yes they are but given that she leads that team of 3 employees I would say she was in a pretty good position for that. Apparently it’s a standard practise in her industry so moving jobs makes no difference except to lose the bonus for company length. And yes I agree it does sound public sector-ish but the unions make it come into private by telling their members that x is the right wage for you.

                      I am a member of NITO and yes that sort of union is better although they do the wage compare tool too it is not as aggressive as the architect one. A believe in a modern world unions should work better as a support network and provide information rather than enforce set wages and bully boy tactics. It’s why I am a member of NITO but would never sign up to to one like LO.

                      That sort of thing sounds more like the public sector has found a way to pay themselves generously while pretended they are hard done by.

                    • dragonlife

                      Tom, Is not related to men or women, it’s simply related to the years of experience, a 28-years old guy like me, wouldn’t ask for 1M NOK a year of a position like your cousin !

                • Tom Just Olsen

                  But somebody have to clean the toilets. Typical for Norway is that we pay these well too. That has been the situation. Which is encreasingly difficult to keep up with the hordes of unemployed entering our shores.

                  • Robert Neve

                    Yes and that’s not right or fair. There is no reason a person who has devoted their life to education and then work should be paid the same as someone who coasts by on minimum effort.

                    • Tom Just Olsen

                      It is not a question of having the same pay. But that also those who perform simple tasks shall have a decent living. That’s why we have the ‘negotiated tariff salary system’ Not a politically set ‘minimum wage’.
                      But – I feel – this is an area where Brits and Norwegians are different – on cultural backgrounds. This ‘upstairs/downstairs’ society is part of the British fabric, even. Not the Norwegian.

              • Tom Just Olsen

                It hasn’t gone that far. But a good welder can make twice as much as a teacher if he get the right job offshore. We do have an egalitarian system with small wage differences. That is regarded as a high quality part of our society. In many cases it is questionable if it ‘profits’ to take an education. But this is not only a Norwegian issue.
                The best paid bank manager in Norway (Rune Bjerke)makes about 11 – 12 million NOK per year. That is about what the manager of the Swedish SEB (Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken), Annika Falkengren makes per month.
                How much do a British bank manager make?

        • frenk

          You have to ‘pass tests’….that nice….then you get a free education at the expense of the Norwegian taxpayer?!?

      • Tom Just Olsen

        Here is an issue that we Scandinavians differ from you Brits. We do regard ‘education’ as a ‘human right’.

  • Baoqing MIAO
  • FZ

    I don’t think that Norway should introduce fees for many reasons. First because the quality of Norwegian Universities isn’t that high as to justify that fee (just see at the World Ranking of universities). So, being free has many more chances of attracting foreign talented students that it would have otherwise. Second, these students that study in Norway, to be granted a visa need at least 94 000 NOK in their bank accounts (money earned in their country and spent in Norway, it’s almost impossible to get a job here without knowing the language). Moreover, the majority of the international students comes from not so developed countries(russia, ukraine etc) that really cannot afford to pay a tuition fee, so if Norway is the country it claims itself to be, giving these students free education is a far better way that giving away millions in foreign aid. And even if all the arguments above are not so convincing, lets say Norway was lucky to sit on a lot of oil reserves, let’s use some of the money coming from it to improve education and to help build a better world.

    • hydro_2

      Yes, Norway was extremely lucky to discover oil. I’m glad they did. Disney could make a magical and enchanting epic about it. Before oil, Norway, economically speaking, was one of the poorest countries in Europe. Luck really did shine where it was needed. And how often does she do that? Unfortunately, the global oil industry is in decline now. In short, Norway needs to pull in the purse strings.

      • frenk

        The oil business is ‘booming’ worldwide bringing prosperity to many…..
        I think it could be argued that Norway has at least 80% of its reserve still to be tapped…whilst Scotland has about 50%…

        • hydro_2

          How can the oil industry be ‘booming’ worldwide? There’s been a global recession for several years. And it ain’t over. Also, demand has been declining due to continuous improvements in efficiency, which will be adopted by, sold to and inherited by emerging economies in developing countries. All major car manufacturers have cars that run on alternative fuels not derived from oil. Many have already gone to market and more viable prototypes have been designed and tested in anticipation of petrol/diesel becoming obsolete as engine fuel. The world’s wealthiest are selling off assets associated with oil. Why would they do that, if oil was booming? I’d predict the decline continuing, getting worse and going exponential within about 10 to 15 years.

          • Naaba

            According to the several studies which show that oil production is “in decline”, you have to aprreciate that, this is du to the fact that the explorations activities were falling since few years.
            Here is an extract of a french newspaper “Liberation”, published in September 3rd 2012.

            [...] The head of Statoil , Helge Lund welcomed , acknowledging : “I must admit that there is not so long, I did not think we would find oil in such quantities in a region of the North Sea which is explored since the 60s ” the experts were unanimous . production had peaked in 2000. Now it would only decrease. Proof : no company had made significant discovery for years.

            “Half of the wells were concluded by a discovery, but exploration activities were in freefall since 2000 ,” says Sissel Eriksen, Head of Exploration Petroleum Directorate in Oslo. The government then decided to change the conditions for granting concessions. The goal : boost exploration by encouraging large companies to drill in areas where they were previously remained inactive and encouraging smaller companies to engage in the exploration of areas considered unprofitable by large companies.

            The efforts have paid off in two years, Statoil has discovered eight major deposits, including the Johan Sverdrup, just a few kilometers from Geitungen, one of the ten most significant discoveries in the history of the Norwegian oil industry . And that’s not counting the increase in production in the fields already in operation: “With the development of new technologies, we managed to increase oil recovery, with a rate of 50%, which we hope to push 60%, against 35% in the rest of the world, “says Ola Anders Skauby, spokesman for Statoil.[...]

            Moreover, in the early 2000s, production reached 3.4 million barrels / day. For household reserves, it was reduced to about 2.4 million barrels / day, 90% are exported. This puts Norway in the third largest exporter of oil after Saudi Arabia and Russia. Same classification for gas.

            I think that the norwegian oil sector is not in danger. And to come back to the main subject which is the fee, apply this “international student fee will just decrease the opportunity to the norwegian education to be higher and open minded

            • hydro_2

              Thank you for your effort. And I’m sure your view will be appreciated by Statoil. But if you had read my comment, it should have been clear my view is that it does not matter how much more oil is available, because of recent explorations or utilisation of more efficient extraction technologies. The fact is, demand is in decline. And there is no reasonable expectation of any reversal of this situation. Competition in a declining market leads inevitably to extinction.

              • frenk

                The price of oil is high…and will remain high as demand is ‘ferocious’ and will only increase as Chinese demand increases….

                • hydro_2

                  Demand has been declining for several years. Which planet do you live on? Yes, the price of oil is very high. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, there are supply issues resulting from increasing difficulty to profitably produce oil using traditional methods. Secondly, using newer, more efficient technologies to produce oil is very expensive. Are you implying that high oil prices are good? They’re not. Consumers are refusing to pay these high prices by driving less, down sizing or not owning a car at all. So that’s another factor, consumer behaviour, you could add to the list. And we haven’t even mentioned the environmental cost! If I were from Scotland and wanted independence, I’d find this truth difficult, too. What the global economy wants (and needs) is a cheaper and cleaner alternative to oil

                  • frenk

                    I don’t know why you think/believe demand for oil and oil
                    derived products is falling…and where you are getting this information from?
                    If demand was falling the price would also be reducing – the China/India effect
                    is increasing demand.

                    There is no ‘difficulty in producing oil using traditional methods’ other than
                    in mature areas where most of the oil has already been extracted i.e. British
                    North sea where half a trillion barrels is still available to be extracted.
                    I’ve been working on the development of ‘massive’ African oilfields for the
                    last 5 years and when they come online supply availability with increase
                    greatly. We are now finding commercially viable reserves of oil and gas all
                    over the planet so supply will be available well into the 22nd century.

                    If a cheaper alternative appears on the horizon that is more economic than
                    petrol/diesel then people will naturally transfer to it to save money – but the
                    real environmetal damage with regards to climate change is being caused by
                    burning millions of tons of cheap…and getting cheaper…coal!

                • Tom Just Olsen

                  A hundred dollar per barrel isn’t so high anymore (in the US the price is bellow 50$). Much of the oil found the last few years has a high cost tag.

      • Tom Just Olsen

        What uttery BS! Ha, ha! Norway has been a rich country for generations. Please document Your claim that ‘Norway was one of the poorest countries in Europe before we found oil’.

    • Tom Just Olsen

      Just to clear up a few myths: One large group of foreign students studying in Norway are ‘other Scandinavians’, that don’t have to register to live study here.
      The largest group comes from EU countries that have to ‘register’ to study and live here: Germans (2.291), Spain (989), France (958) and Italy (462). These figures are from 2011. Since then number of student applicants from particularly EU has ‘exploded’ and may be doubled in 2014. Add to this that children of labour immigrants from, say, Poland etc. will pop up as ‘Norwegians’ in the university rolls.
      Largest foreign group (outside EU) at Norwegian universities are Chinese (2.366) and Russian (1.124). The Russians arrive particularly well prepared. Often with a ‘major’ in Norwegian etc.
      The point with an education must be ‘to get a job’. Not just a fancy exam paper to brag about in the unemployment line. For this an education from one of the Norwegian universities UIO, NTNU, UIT, UIB, NMBU will be more than enough.
      Totally, about 260.000 students study at Norwegian universities. About 20 – 25.000 are foreigners (including estimate of Scandinavian students).
      But also….
      About 15.500 Norwegians studied abroad per autumn 2012. Most popular are UK (4500), Denmark (2.700) and USA (1550),

  • Interrogative

    You appear to spend most of your time with your head in the ‘CIA fact book’. Try making an opinion for yourself based on general observation.
    Lovely to see you confirm the universal observation that the general populous of Norge is so charmingly naive. :-)

    • Tom Just Olsen

      That is a typical American opnion that Scandinavians, Norwegians in particular, are so naive. But be careful. Don’t be fooled.
      I could have said a lot based on ‘universal observation’. The typical Norwegian sailors that travelled the world came back with their heads full of ‘universal observations’. Which were worthless. Because they did not understand what they saw.

  • Interrogative

    Taken you a good 2 months to formulate that response ?
    Good work sunshine.

    • Michael

      First time I read the article. Classy response on your part though /sarcasm.

  • Tom Just Olsen

    ‘The right to education’ is article 26 in the ‘Universal Declaration of Human Rights’.

    http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/

    ‘Invading’ a country, regardless of the noblest of motives, possibly, isn’t in accordance With Human Rights. Even if it is Irish catholics, – øh, terrorists, you are fighting. : )

  • Tom Just Olsen

    Norway has always been a small country. But relative to our size we have always been rich. Due to natural resources (Fish, timber, silver, copper, iron etc.) The poorest country in Europe must have been Ireland – under British rule when ‘hundreds of thousands’ were starving….

    Starvation has also been a part of Norwegian history. As during the Napoleonic wars when the British blockaded the Union Denmark/Norway. From which Henrik Ibsen’s poem Terje Viken origins:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terje_Vigen

    Lack of food and food rasioning was common during WWII too, and the Germans had robbed our National Bank before going home. We had to borrow money ‘from America’ (who didn’t?) to build hydroelectric powerstations, roads and industries.

    But Norway had the world’s largest commercial fleet in 1940′. – A huge strategic asset for the Allies. And the world’s largest war insurance claim after the war. Making it possible to soon regain our position as ‘the world’s largest commercial fleet owner’ again.

    Norwegian sailors earned far more than British sailors during WWII. The difference had to be kept secret and the money stowed away in the secret Nortraship Fondet. Supposed to be paid out after the war. Read about it here:
    http://no.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nortraships_hemmelige_fond

    We have never had nobility as large landowners (not since the Viking Age, anyway), no huge coalmine areas with thousands of workers living under appalling conditions. Our farmers have been relatively small, but free. Often have farming been combined with fishery and forestry, creating a stand of fishermen & farmers that were economically independent, – and relatively well off.

    That Norway (once) was one of Europe’s poorest countries is a myth. A scholar that has tried to kill this myth is professor of economic history Francis Sejersted (retired) once chairman of the Nobel Peace Price Committee.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Sejersted
    He has written several articles in Aftenposten up through the years on the issue, and been interviewed both on radio and TV and is interesting to listen to.