International schools expanding

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Norway now has 13 international schools and they no longer cater only to children of diplomats or foreign business executives and military officers. They’re attracting record large numbers of Norwegian applicants, and waiting lists are growing.

Never before have so many students attended international schools than now, reported newspaper Aftenposten over the weekend. Attendance is double what it was 10 years ago, partly because there are more international schools but also because more schools have more students. 

Especially more Norwegian students. While international schools were largely set up to serve the children of expatriates in Norway, increasing numbers of Norwegian parents are opting to send their children to them instead of to the local public school.

“These are children whose parents have come home after residence abroad, have plans to move overseas again or simply want their children to be educated in an international environment,” Tom Baker, principal of the Oslo International School, told Aftenposten

The schools also tend to boast the best test results of schools nationwide, and have a traditional curriculum that many parents prefer. Some parents simply don’t think the Norwegian public schools measure up to what the international schools offer, and are willing to pay the high tuition the private international schools demand.

Most are based on an educational system tied to the International Baccalaureate, while others are based on an American, British, French or German system. 

There are three international schools in the Oslo area, where teaching is carried out in English, French and German. Stavanger, which has had a large expatriate population for years because of its oil and gas industry, has two international schools, as does Trondheim, while Kongsberg, Porsgrunn, Sandefjord, Arendal, Kristiansand and Bergen each have one. New international schools are planned in Tromsø and Ålesund.

By Views and News staff