2.2 Distribution of teaching hours in primary and lower secondary school

Norwegian and maths are the subjects with the highest number of teaching hours at the primary and lower secondary levels. Together they make up almost 40 per cent of the total number of teaching hours, which is 5,234 hours at the primary level and 2,622 hours at the lower secondary level. Following these, are physical education and social studies (see Figure 2.4).

Figure 2.4 Teaching hours by subject at primary and secondary level. School year 2015-16. Total teaching hours.


Source: Directorate for Education and Training

The number of teaching hours has increased in the last decade

Norway has increased the overall number of teaching hours on several occasions over the last decade, and in 2015 it surpassed the OECD average (OECD 2015). In 2005 Norway provided well below the average number of teaching hours in the OECD. Only Finland provided less hours of instruction than Norway (OECD 2007).

Norway spends more time on reading, writing, maths and science than other OECD countries

Most OECD countries allocate around half the total number of teaching hours at the primary level to reading, writing and literature, maths and science, but since the total number of teaching hours varies, there are considerable differences in overall teaching hours. Norwegian pupils receive a total of 2,588 teaching hours in reading, writing and literature, maths and science. Canada is the only OECD country offering more hours than Norway in these subject areas.

Norway allocates a total of 427 teaching hours to the subject area religion, ethics and moral education, almost twice as many as the OECD average. Only Israel and Ireland provide more teaching hours in this subject area than Norway.