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Saturday, June 15, 2024

Gifted students get attention

Parents of gifted students in Norway have long complained that their children are overlooked in the schools, and get bored because they’re held back by school policies that give extra help to those who need it and ignore those who don’t. That may be changing.

The brightest students in Oslo’s junior high schools will now be able to take classes in local high schools, while the brightest high school students can opt for university-level classes. Students with special musical talent, also at the elementary level, are being offered a special class as will those with special talent for mathematics.

Many politicians in Norway have resisted the idea of “elite schools” but now seem to have struck a compromise. “In Norway, it’s accepted to nurture talent for sports among the young,” says Torger Ødegaard of the Conservative Party, in charge of schools for the City of Oslo. “I think we should do the same within art and culture.”

He also wants to offer special programs for gifted students within math, science and foreign languages. State education officials are less enthusiastic. “Challenging the best students is a good intention, Terje Vilno of national education association Utdanningsforbundet told Aftenposten. “But offering them separate classes actually violates the law.” Government officials are monitoring events in Oslo, and more debate is likely.

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