Reports 2014/30

Competency profile in primary education

Main results 2013/14

This publication is in Norwegian only.

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This report presents the results of a survey on primary and lower secondary school teachers’ formal qualifications in the subjects they teach. The survey only includes those who teach the relevant subjects in spring 2014. The report presents the qualification profile for the various subjects taught; English, other foreign languages, physical education (PE), arts and crafts, mathematics, food and health, music, science, Norwegian, religious education and social studies. The breakdown of qualifications is given in relation to key demographic identifiers for the teacher, as well as identifiers related to the teaching location.

Anyone with a teaching qualification is allowed to teach in primary and lower secondary schools. In addition, teachers must have specialised in and achieved 60 credits for the subjects Norwegian, mathematics and English at lower secondary level, and 30 credits in English and mathematics at primary school level for teachers who qualified after 1 January 2014. The sample only includes those with a completed teaching qualification who are registered in at least a 50 per cent teaching post. This population delimitation differs somewhat from previous studies (Lagerstrøm 2007, 2000a and 2000b).

Many teachers currently teaching in primary and lower secondary schools have specialised in the subjects they teach. The largest share is in the teaching of Norwegian. More than eight out of ten Norwegian and mathematics teachers have specialised in these subjects, with 85 and 81 per cent respectively. The smallest shares are within food and health, where about half of the teachers (54 per cent) have specialised, closely followed by arts and crafts (44 per cent), English (43 per cent) and PE (41 per cent).

More teachers at lower secondary level have a formal qualification in the subjects they teach than teachers at other levels. The lowest level of qualifications is found at primary school level.

Primary and lower secondary school teachers are well qualified in the "traditional" subjects: Norwegian, mathematics, religious education, science and social studies. Meanwhile, teachers qualified in pre-school teaching have significantly fewer qualifications in the subjects they teach than teachers with other types of teaching qualifications.

The breakdown of qualifications between female and male teachers is more evenly spread in some subjects (English, other foreign languages, food and health, Norwegian and religious education) than others. The largest gender gaps are found among PE teachers and social studies teachers, with 17 and 16 percentage points respectively in favour of male teachers in both subjects.

Younger teachers are generally well qualified, but perhaps surprisingly, almost half (47 per cent) of science teachers under the age of 30 have no credits in the subject. The efforts related to the strategy aimed at science subjects; Realfag, naturligvis , can be one of several reasons why so many teachers in the age group 30-39 years have science qualifications.

Teachers who have been teaching for less than five years are much more likely to lack formal qualifications in science. The highest share is found among teachers who have been teaching for 10-19 years.

With the exception of Norwegian and English, where a large share of teachers are well qualified, there are a number of subjects where the share with 60 credits varies from 25 per cent (science) to 28 per cent (both mathematics and social studies).

Since the beginning of the 2000s, the education debate has been characterised by the desire for greater expertise - both among teachers and pupils. It is therefore not surprising that the share specialising in a several subjects is higher today than at the turn of the millennium. This particularly applies to mathematics and science, but also the other core subjects such as Norwegian and, to a degree, English.

The Ministry of Education and Research has funded the survey.

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