In recent years, enrolments in ITE programmes in Norway has increased, in part due to initiatives to attract teachers to the profession and increase the status of teaching. Launched in 2009 for 3 years and extended until 2014, GNIST (or “Spark” in Norwegian) is a partnership agreement between teacher education institutions, school owners (municipal and county governments), unions and the national government to increase recruitment to teacher education, improve quality and status of the teaching profession, and develop reliable indicators of status and quality. Indicators show a 45% increase in recruitment to teacher education between 2008 and 2011 and more positive media coverage.
In an effort to improve the image of the teaching profession and attract highly qualified candidates, since 2016 teacher candidates in Norway must obtain a minimum grade of 4 on a scale of 1 to 6 (2 is the passing grade) in mathematics, and a minimum grade of 3 in Norwegian and in English, to enter an ITE programme. Eventually they may need a grade 4 in Norwegian and English as well.
In order to better prepare teacher candidates, especially with regard to content knowledge and research skills, from 2017 all new ITE students must complete a Masters’ degree to teach Years 1-7 and Years 5-10. All ITE students must specialise in two or three subject areas, and develop their observation and research skills.
Norway’s first centre for excellence in education, ProTed, was established in 2012 as a collaboration between the University of Oslo and the University of Tromsø. Its mission was to disseminate quality measures and results nationwide. The Knowledge Parliament was created by ProTed and the National Knowledge Centre as an arena for teacher educators to meet once a year to discuss issues such as research-based ITE.
In Norway, students’ suitability for teaching – i.e. practical teaching skills and pedagogical knowledge – is assessed over the duration of the ITE programme. The qualification issued by the teacher education institution serves as certification to teach at the level stated.
Induction is not mandatory in Norway, but it is offered by some municipalities as an optional 50-hour induction course for new teachers. However, availability and quality of support for new teachers varies across schools and municipalities. In an attempt to strengthen induction, the Ministry and the Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities are currently renegotiating an agreement.