Key figure page

Key figures on education

Do you have questions about kindergarten, primary, secondary, post-vocational and higher education? A selection of key figures, statistics and analyses on children, pupils and students in education are given here.

Key figures on education
Value Change from year before Change from 5 years ago Year
Education level of population
Share of the population, 16 years and over, with primary/lower secondary education 26.5 -0.4 -2.1 2016
Share of the population, 16 years and over, with upper secondary education 37.8 -3.1 -4.5 2016
Share of the population, 16 years and over, with a higher education 32.9 0.7 3.8 2016
No. of children in kindergarten 282 649 -959 -88 2016
Share of children aged 1-5 with a kindergarten place 91.0 0.6 1.4 2016
No. of kindergartens 5 980 -107 -489 2016
Primary/lower secondary
No. of pupils at primary/lower secondary school 629 275 5 520 14 862 2016
No. of primary and lower secondary schools 2 858 -9 -142 2016
No. of private primary and lower secondary schools 238 14 66 2016
Upper secondary
Pupils and apprentices/trainees 243 414 1 345 10 898 2016
Share of pupils in vocational training programmes, Vg1 50.0 -0.9 -3.3 2016
Share who completed within 5 years 72.5 1.7 3.2 2010-2015
Universities and university colleges
No. of students in Norway and Norwegian students abroad 288 989 5 874 38 533 2016
Share of students with 60 credits and over 55.6 0.3 3.5 2015-2016
The share of students who have not completed a degree within 8 years 35.3 -1.5 -7.2 2007

Education level of the population

Utdanningsnivå en

  • The share with primary or lower secondary as the highest education is 27 per cent; 19 percentage points lower than 30 years ago. Around 41 per cent have an upper secondary education; the same as in 1985. The share with a higher education has increased sharply over the last 20 years, from 13 to 31 per cent.
  • Among those with a long university and university college education, 29 per cent are educated in natural science, vocational and technical subjects. Among women with a short higher education, 34 per cent studied health, welfare and sport.
  • The education level of the population has been increasing steadily for a number of years. Almost one in three now have a higher education. More than half of women aged 25 to 39 years have a higher education, making this the most educated age group.


  • Kindergartens are educational institutions for children in preschool age. Children who have their first birthday prior to September in the year they apply for kindergarten have the right to a kindergarten place from August. Children who have their first birthday in September or October in the year they apply for kindergarten have the right to a kindergarten place from the birth month the same year.
  • At the end of 2016, there were a total of 282 600 children in kindergarten. The coverage for 1-5 year-olds was 91 per cent in 2016. Compared with 2000, the coverage for this age group has increased by almost 30 percentage points.
  • In 2016, 46 000 children who were minority language speakers had a kindergarten place. The share of minority language children with a kindergarten place aged 1-5 years was 76 per cent; 2 percentage points higher than in 2015.
  • Parental payments accounted for 16 per cent of gross operating expenditures in private kindergartens in 2015, same level as previous year. Government subsidies accounted for 86 per cent and decreased by 1 percentage points in the last year. 

Barnehagedekning en

Primary and lower secondary school

Grunnskole en

  • In Norway, children and young people have the right and obligation to attend compulsory schooling. Compulsory schooling is for children aged 6 to 15 years, from years 1 to 10 in primary and lower secondary schools.
  • There were 629 300 pupils in primary and lower secondary schools in autumn 2016. The vast majority of these, 96 per cent, attended public schools. In 2016, there were just under 2 900 primary and lower secondary schools; almost 400 fewer than ten years ago. There are fewer primary and lower secondary schools in total, but the number of private schools is increasing.
  • Pupils graduating from lower secondary school in 2016 had an average of 41.2 points out of a possible 60. Girls achived an average of 4.4 school points more than boys. The results from the national tests in 2016 show that there are small gender disparity. But parents’ education level, immigration background and where the pupil lives give disparities in the results.

Upper secondary school

  • Upper secondary school follows on from lower secondary school and leads to a university admissions certification (general studies) or vocational qualifications. As a general rule, the 3-year schooling in general studies corresponds to the 4-year vocational education, with 2 years in school and 2 years in work experience.
  • The number of pupils taking general studies has increased in recent years, while the number of pupils in vocational education has decreased.
  • Of the 64 900 pupils who started Vg1 for the first time in 2011, 73 per cent completed theiruniversity and college admissions certificate or vocational qualifications within five years. 59 per cent of the cohort obtained a vocational qualification after five years, while 86 per cent gained a university admissions certificate.
  • Post-secondary vocational education is a short education that is at the level between secondary and tertiary education. In autumn 2016, there were 14 750 pupils in post-secondary vocational education in Norway.

Gjennomstrømming en

Higher education

Høyere utdanning en

  • Higher education follows on from upper secondary education or the equivalent work experience. A higher education can lead to a one-year programme, Bachelor's degree, Master's degree, professional studies, vocational training, university college degree and a doctorate (PhD).
  • In autumn 2015, there were a total of 289 000 students in higher education. This is almost 6 000 more than in autumn 2015. Of these, 273 200 studied at universities and university colleges in Norway, and 15 800 students from Norway were in higher education abroad.
  • 60 per cent of students in higher education were women in 2016, and this proportion has remained almost the same for the last 15 years.
  • More than 70 per cent of the 15 760 students abroad in 2016 studied in the UK, Denmark, USA, Poland and Hungary.
  • A total of 46 700 graduations took place in Norwegian universities and colleges during the academic year 2015/16. Women accounted for 61 per cent of the graduations, while men and women were equally awarded among 1 370 doctoral degrees.