4.3 The cost of upper secondary education and training

County councils spent a total of NOK 27.3 billion on upper secondary education in 2015. The figure includes the cost of teaching, premises, specially adapted tuition, the Follow-up Service (Oppfølgingstjenesten), and the educational psychology service (PPT).

County councils spent an additional NOK 2.9 billion on vocational training at workplaces – an increase of more than 7 per cent from 2014. The increase is due to a rise in the number of apprentices and training candidates and to higher grants per apprentice.

Norway spends more on upper secondary education than most other countries

County councils spend an average of NOK 155,100 per pupil in upper secondary school (Figure 4.7). This is just over NOK 49,000 more than the cost per primary and lower secondary school pupil. Norway spends over 60 per cent more on upper secondary education than the OECD average (Figure 4.6). It is particularly the number of teaching hours per teacher that increases the cost per pupil in Norway compared with other OECD countries.

Figure 4.6 Spending per upper secondary pupil in selected countries*. 2012. USD.


Source: OECD (2015)

*Figures inn USD adjusted for purchading power.

Vocational study programmes are more expensive than general study programmes

A pupil enrolled in a vocational study programme costs an average of NOK 20,000 more than a pupil enrolled in a general study programme, largely due to smaller classes and more expensive study materials. Expenditure also varies significantly between the different study programmes ( Figure 4.7). The average study programme costs almost NOK 100,000 per pupil. The cheapest study programme, the Programme for Specialisation in General Studies, costs NOK 63,500 per pupil, while the most expensive, the Programme for Agriculture, Fishing and Forestry, costs almost NOK 172,000 per pupil.

Figure 4.7 Direct operating cost per upper secondary pupil by study programme. 2015. NOK.


Source: Statistics Norway (KOSTRA), preliminary figures

NOK 2.5 billion spent on special needs education and specially adapted tuition

In 2015 county councils spent almost NOK 2.5 billion on special needs education and specially adapted tuition. This is just over 8 per cent of their total spending on upper secondary education and training. The cost of specially adapted tuition includes introduction programmes for newly arrived language minority pupils and special Norwegian language tuition. County councils spend an average of NOK 14,000 per pupil on special needs education and specially adapted tuition in upper secondary.

Grants for upper secondary free schools increased by 7 per cent

In 2015 approximately 20 per cent of upper secondary schools are private schools receiving government grants. Private upper secondary schools in Norway received NOK 1.5 billion in ordinary government grants in 2015 – an increase of 7 per cent on 2014. The increase was primarily due to increased costs per pupil.