College students’ drop-out rate high

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More Norwegians pursue higher education and start degree programs than their contemporaries do in other OECD countries, but far fewer finish. Government officials are concerned about the trend that shows how only 60 percent of students in Norway actually graduate with a college degree.

New numbers from the OECD show that only 60 percent of students who begin degree programs actually finish them. Pictured here, the University of Oslo.  PHOTO: Flyfoto/UiO/Wikipedia Commons

The trend emerged in a new survey from the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). It shows that around 72 percent of Norwegians pursue some form of higher education during their lifetimes. Only around six out of 10 students complete their degree programs, according to the survey called Education at a Glance.

An average of around 57 percent of residents of other OECD countries start degree programs, and nearly 80 percent complete them, according to the survey.

“It’s worrisome that so many attempt some higher education without getting a degree,” Iselin Nybø, Norway’s government minister in charge of research and higher education, told news bureau NTB. “We want more students to get through their course of studies and achieve a degree.”

Nybø noted that the knowledge gained during a degree program is valuable in itself, but that getting a degree is also important for an individual’s personal economy and for society as a whole.

Many Norwegians launch into bachelor’s degree programs but relatively few obtain master’s degrees. The study shows that only around 11 percent of the Norwegian population aged 25 to 64 has a master’s degree, compared to 14 percent in Sweden and 15 percent in Finland.

Several eastern European countries have even higher numbers of residents with master’s degrees, with Poland, for example, able to boast that 23 percent of its population has a master’s.

There is no charge for tuition at Norway’s public universities, meanwhile, unlike in many other countries where it’s expensive for their residents to study. With no financial investment in their higher education at stake, some Norwegian students may not feel the same sheer economic incentive to complete their degree programs as in other countries. Proposals to start charging tuition for foreign students have also been blocked.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund