More than 7,500 applications from immigrants seeking certification of their higher education at home passed through the Norwegian state agency last year that’s charged with “ensuring quality in education,” NOKUT. That’s up 15 percent from the year before and reflects higher levels of immigration.
The largest single group of applicants came from Poland, followed by graduates from schools in Lithuania, Serbia and the Philippines. All foreign education, also that taken by Norwegian students studying at universities outside Norway, must be evaluated and certified in NOKUT if required by an employer.
The agency has caught criticism for either long application processing periods or failing to accept university credits or education that’s highly regarded in the country where delivered, from the United States to Australia. Several nurses, for example, have complained that their degrees or experience aren’t considered good enough in Norway, and they’re required to take classes over again at Norwegian schools.
The director of NOKUT, Terje Mørland, insisted to news bureau NTB, however, that the agency “wants to contribute towards candidates with education from abroad being able to use their competence in the Norwegian labour market.”
The country generating the fifth-largest number of applications for education certification was war-torn Syria. NOKUT announced it was making ongoing evaluations of its confidence in Syrian education documents, and that most had been processed in “an ordinary manner.” NOKUT has also seen an increase in applications from graduates of schools in Eritrea, Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran, which are among the countries generating the largest numbers of refugees seeking asylum in Europe.
Mørland said he expects applications to rise again in 2016 and that processing time was likely to rise again. He said it currently takes an average of six weeks before NOKUT can rule on an application.