Pupils in primary and lower secondary school

Updated: 16 December 2022

Next update: Not yet determined

Change in the number of private schools
Change in the number of private schools
2012 - 2022

About the statistics

The purpose of the statistics is to provide useful information about the state of primary and lower secondary school. The statistics are meant to cover the need of information of both educational authorities and other interested parties.

Education Act. The Education Act regulates both primary, lower secondary and upper secondary education, including education of adults on corresponding educational levels. The Education Act is in force from the school year of 1999/00.

Primary and lower secondary education. Primary and lower secondary education is obligatory to attend for all. It is also a given right to attend public primary and lower secondary school. The municipality is responsible for the fulfilment of this right for children and youths under the age of 16, according to the Education Act section 13-1. Children are usually enrolled in primary schools the calendar year they complete 6 years of age. Lower secondary school is usually finished after the 10th grade. Primary and lower secondary education includes education of persons above primary and lower secondary school age, that receives education on corresponding levels.

School year. The time allocated to teaching shall not be less than 38 weeks within a framework of 45 consecutive weeks during the school year. The school year normally starts on August 1st each year.

Pupil in primary and lower secondary school. Children and young people that, in accordance with the Education Act section 2-1 have the right and obligation to undertake primary and lower secondary education. This usually applies to children and young people from 6 to 15 years of age. It also includes persons older than 15 who get education on primary or lower secondary school level.

Grade. The grades in primary and lower secondary schools span from 1st to 10th grade. All pupils are transferred to the next grade each year.

Primary/ lower secondary. Primary school consists of 1st to 7th grade. Lower secondary school consists of 8th to 10th grade.

Primary and lower secondary schools. Primary and lower secondary schools are municipal, county municipal or state schools for primary and lower secondary education, according to the Education Act section 13-1, or private (chartered) primary and lower secondary schools approved under the Education Act.

Official form of Norwegian. The official form of Norwegian (bokmål, nynorsk or samisk) used by the school.

Minority language pupils. Refers to persons with other mother tongue than Norwegian or Sami. Mother tongue refers to the language that is used in a person's home.

Mother language training. Mother language training is training in the mother tongue of minority language pupils.

Additional training in Norwegian (for minority language pupils). Additional training in Norwegian for minority language pupils is either an additional training in Norwegian for minority language pupils, or training in Norwegian for minority language pupils as a separate subject, or a combination of the above.

Special Eduacation. Refers to the Education Act § 5-1, which states that pupils who are not able to gain from ordinary education are entitled to special education.

The Norwegian Standard Classification of Education, which was created by Statistics Norway in 1970, groups the educational activity. The standard has been revised; the latest version is from 2000. The type of educational institution is classified by the International Standard Industrial Classification of all Economic Activities (NOS C 182).

Name: Pupils in primary and lower secondary school
Topic: Education

Not yet determined

Division for Education and Culture Statistics

The Statistics are published at municipal, county and national level.

Annually, final numbers in December.

The data is delivered to OECD, UNESCO and Eurostat.

All education statistics at Statistics Norway is stored in a proper, standardized manner in consultation with the Data Inspectorate.

The Purpose of GSI is to collect all necessary information for planning and official statistics related to primary and lower secondary education in Norway. All information about education of children and adults on a primary and lower secondary level, in accordance with the Education Act, is to be included in GSI.
From 1992 onwards, GSI is the source for the official statistics.

Prior to 2011 there were two releases of statistics; preliminary and final figures. From 2011 and onwards there is only one release; final figures.

In addition to statistical purposes, the data collected through GSI serves as an important information source for the Ministry of Education and Research, the Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training (UDIR), the County Governors and the local governments.

No external users have access to the statistics and analyses before they are published and accessible simultaneously for all users onssb.no at 08 am. Prior to this, a minimum of three months' advance notice is given in the Statistics Release Calendar. This is one of Statistics Norway’s key principles for ensuring that all users are treated equally.

Data from GSI is also used in KOSTRA and skoleporten

Statistics Act of 21 June 2019 No. 32 relating to official statistics and Statistics Norway § 10, and Act relating to Primary and Secondary Education (Education Act), last amended 30 June 2000, section 14-1.

Regulation (EC) No 0452/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2008 concerning the production and development of statistics on education and learning. Commission Regulation (EU) No 88/2011 of 2 February 2011 implementing Regulation (EC) No 0452/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the production and development of statistics on education and lifelong learning, as regards statistics on education and training systems.

The population includes all primary and lower secondary schools, both private and public. Norwegian schools abroad are not included. Schools without pupils are not included.

The annual collection of data takes place at Grunnskolens informasjonssystem, GSI


The statistics are based on annual reports by the schools and municipal authorities to central authorities. Every autumn the schools report the situation on October 1 and their plans for the current school year. The reports are collected through the Internet using a web portal run by Waade information systems. The municipal authorities are responsible for the schools under their domain, the County Governors are responsible for privately run schools and the municipalities in their jurisdiction.

Municipal authorities and the education department in each corresponding County Governors office revise the data. There are also controls undertaken by Statistics Norway, and Udir.

Not relevant

The lowest level for publishing is the municipal level. For special teaching and minority language teaching, cells with less than 3 are not published.

GSI is the source of the primary and lower secondary school statistics from 1992 and later. Tables based on earlier statistics are comparable to tables based on GSI. The time series might be interrupted by changes succeeding amendments to the Education Act. There is no collection of data regarding classes after 2003, as teaching from then on was organized in groups rather than classes. From 2011/2012 special schools and ordinary schools are merged. In order to have comparable figures, special schools and ordinary schools have been merged also for previous years. For this reason, statistics published before 2012, will diverge from the statistics published in 2012.

Errors in data collected from administrative registers can be caused by uncertainties in the definition of variables and values between those responsible for the registers and others responsible for data collection from the registers.

Other sources of error can be the quality of the personal and school data in the registers or the registration process of data input into the registers. Such errors can affect the quality of the data if the control and revision processes in Statistics Norway are not comprehensive enough.

Not relevant