2.4 Special language tuition

Entitlement to special Norwegian language tuition

Pupils with a mother tongue other than Norwegian or Sami are entitled to special Norwegian tuition until they are fluent enough in Norwegian to be able to follow ordinary tuition.

7 per cent of pupils receive special Norwegian language tuition

In the 2015-16 school year more than 43,000 pupils received special Norwegian language tuition, equivalent to 7 per cent of all pupils (see Figure 2.6). This figure has remained stable in recent years, possibly because the number of children aged 0–15 immigrating to Norway has remained stable (Statistics Norway).

As of 1 January 2015 a total of 14.3 per cent of children in primary and lower secondary education came from immigrant backgrounds, and around half of them received special tuition in the Norwegian language. By immigrant background we mean children who have immigrated to Norway and Norwegian-born children of two immigrant parents.

Figure 2.6 Pupils with special Norwegian language tuition and other special language tuition. 2005-2015. Numbers.


Source: Directorate for Education and Training

Entitlement to other special language tuition

Pupils who are entitled to special Norwegian language tuition are also entitled to tuition in their mother tongue and/or to bilingual subject tuition if needed. Mother tongue tuition is provided in addition to ordinary teaching hours. Bilingual subject tuition involves tuition within ordinary teaching hours where the pupil’s mother tongue is used, either alone or in combination with Norwegian. If staff are unable to provide mother tongue tuition or bilingual tuition, the local authority must arrange for other adapted tuition to be provided insofar as it is possible.

Oslo has the largest number of pupils receiving special Norwegian language tuition

Oslo stands out as the municipality with the largest number of pupils receiving special tuition in the Norwegian language. 22 per cent of pupils in Oslo receive special Norwegian language tuition.

Fewer pupils receive other special language tuition

33 per cent of pupils who received special Norwegian language tuition in the 2015-16 school year also received other special language tuition. This is a reduction of 7 per cent when compared to the previous year and of 35 per cent since 2010-11. Mother tongue tuition has halved during this period.

Of the pupils receiving other special language tuition, 5 per cent receive both mother tongue tuition and bilingual subject tuition, 20 per cent only receive bilingual subject tuition, and 4 per cent only receive mother tongue tuition. 4 per cent receive adapted tuition. Most of the pupils receiving mother tongue tuition and/or bilingual subject tuition do so in Somali, Polish or Arabic.