Norway: Centralisation and Decentralisation as Twin Reform Strategies

  • Jorunn Møller
  • Guri Skedsmo
Part of the Studies in Educational Leadership book series (SIEL, volume 19)


This chapter aims to identify how teaching and leadership within the Norwegian education sector have been conceptualised over time. It starts by sketching some key elements in the history of the education system, including how teachers have played a crucial role in the processes of shaping of national identities. While central regulation was important in building up the comprehensive education system after the Second World War, decentralisation became more dominant as a reform strategy in the public sector from the 1980s and onwards. At the same time, national curriculum reforms were used as a central strategy.

In the new millennium Norway was listed among lower-performing countries according to PISA and other international tests. While before the public and the parents had trust in the professionals above all, attention is now increasingly directed to trust in measured results. Students’ academic performance has become a focal point in the public debate, and it is argued that strong leadership is needed in order to change schools into learning organisations. Moreover, the curriculum reform, labelled The Knowledge Promotion, which was introduced in concert with a national quality assessment system, represents a shift in educational policy from input-oriented policies to more output-oriented policies. A main argument in this chapter is that recent developments have to be viewed in the larger picture, which is influenced by policies and recommendations made by international bodies such as the OECD and the EU.


Education System National Curriculum Educational Quality School Leadership Language Minority 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Teacher Education and School ResearchUniversity of OsloOsloNorway

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