Pupils and students1 October 2003


About the statistics


Name and topic

Name: Pupils and students
Topic: Education

Responsible division

Division for Education and Culture Statistics

Definitions of the main concepts and variables

Definition of the main concepts

Enrolled students: Pupils or students that are registered at an educational institution. Reform 94: gives youth from 16 to 19 years old a legalised right to education at the upper secondary level. Field of study: a common description of related subjects in upper secondary education. Upper secondary education exists of a one-year basic course, advance course I and II. Basic requirements for higher education: Pupils who have completed and passed upper secondary education in general areas of studies meet the basic requirements for higher education.

It is also possible to meet these requirements by an additional year of general studies supplement in certain vocational studies. Occupational skills are synonymous to vocational areas of study in upper secondary education after Reform 94.

Definition of the main variables

Type of school: When grouping the different types of schools, the Standard Industrial Classification of 1994 is utilized. Earlier the Standard Industrial Classification of 1983 where used. Course level is used to classify the different levels of courses in upper secondary education for example the basic course (GK), advanced course 1 (VK1) and advanced course 11 (VK11).

Educational activity: is classified by the Norwegian Standard Classification of Education (NUS2000) that groups different types of educations by level and field of orientation. Part time/full time : Part time studies are defined by students with less than 70 percent progression of their studies for students at the universities and some colleges. For some of the upper secondary schools and colleges, part time is connected to courses that are organised as part time studies. Ownership of school: Divides the schools into public, municipal/county, and private ownership. County of school: the county in which the school is situated. Municipality of school: the Municipality in which the school is situated. Municipality of residence: Is based on the registered address as of 1st October the current year. Age: is calculated by 31st December each year.

Immigrant category includes persons who have two foreign-born parents, or more precisely: Persons who neither have parents nor grandparents born in Norway. The immigrant population thus covers first-generation immigrants and persons born in Norway of two foreign-born parents.

Standard classifications

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).

Administrative information

Regional level

The statistics provide figures for the municipal, county and national level.

Frequency and timeliness


International reporting

Not relevant


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

Other documentation

The series "Official Statistics of Norway" has been published almost annually. The latest is: "Education Statistics. Universities and Colleges 1 October 1995"


Background and purpose

The purpose of these statistics is to collect data on all education in Norway, from completion of lower secondary education to all higher education. It is in the public interest to create as accurate data as possible for research and planning. The statistics is individually based, and report each educational activity for each pupil and student. The part of adult education which is individually based is also included, as well as pupils at folk high schools. Every part of the Norwegian education statistics went through a structural readjustment in the beginning of the 1970. All education statistics on higher education were then collected individually based, and all educational activities were attached to each person's Personal ID-number.

Users and applications

Important users of the education statistics are public administration, special interest organizations, the media, researchers, business and industry. Key users are among the ministries are, in particular, the Ministry of Education and Research, the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Government, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Children and Family Affairs. The statistics is also used by international organizations such as the EU, the OECD and UNESCO.

Coherence with other statistics

The statistics is reported to the OECD in accordance with the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED97). Norway is obliged to make use of ISCDE97 in all international reporting to UNESCO, OECD and Eurostat.

Legal authority

Sections 2-2 and 2-3 and the Ministry of Finance's delegation letter of February 13. February 1990.

EEA reference

Data are delivered pursuant to EU Community 1921/99, 1925/99, 557/98, 3711/91.



The statistics include all pupils registered at upper secondary education and all students registered at educational institutions which are classified as universities or colleges in the International Standard Industrial Classification of all Economic Activities. The statistics on upper secondary education encompasses pupils who participates in a programme of at least 300 hours of teaching per year. The statistics on higher education encompasses students at universities or colleges that are officially approved by the Ministry of Education and Research.

Data sources and sampling

Within upper secondary education, the counties own administrative data system: VIGO is the main source. For higher education the universities and colleges own administrative systems: FS and M-STAS, is the most relevant data sources. Some institutions have their own administrative systems. Earned Doctoral degrees in Norway is provided by the Norwegian institute for studies in research and higher education's (NIFU) Doctoral Degree Statistics.

Collection of data, editing and estimations

Data is collected from the various administrative systems at the institutions as authorised in The Statistics Act of June 1989. No. 54. Statistics Norway also receives data from other administrative registers, and directly from some of the schools.

Response burden

The response burden at the various institutions is relatively small as the statistics is mostly based on information already in the administrative systems. Directions for reporting data to Statistics Norway exist for most areas.

All education data undergo various on-receipt controls. It encompasses deletion of duplicates (units with identical Personal ID-number), a control of correct and valid values for each variable. The data is also recoded so they are comparable. All Personal ID-numbers are checked for errors.


Not relevant

Comparability over time and space

Individually based education statistics was collected for the first time in 1974, and has been published annually since then. Most variables are comparable, but some have changed. The Norwegian Standard Classification of Education has been revised to secure comparability over time.

Accuracy and reliability

Sources of error and uncertainty

A statistical investigation may be encumbered with various sorts of error. Errors may occur during the collection of data if units being investigated are not identical to the mass of units we aim at describing. Other types of error may occur during the coding the data collected.

Most errors in the education statistics are caused by errors in the foundation of the statistics, especially when the students themselves provide the information. The statistics include students who have paid the registration fee for students at the University of Oslo, Bergen and Tromsø, and the Norwegian University of Technology and Science. The number of students may therefore not be correct as persons registered at doctoral programmes does not have to pay at student fee and are rather employees at the institution. Some students pay the student fee but decide not to participate in any lectures or exams. These figures are not possible to identify.

Statistics Norway compiles data for students registered as of 1st October. Some of the providers of the data can have given information on students as of a different date, which can lead to inconsistence in the data. Other possible errors is persons registered as studying, which have already completed their studies.

Figures of students abroad from the State Educational Loan Fund may deviate from the actual number of students abroad because not all students abroad are financed by the State Educational Loan Fund.

Education statistics are not based on sampling, and Statistics Norway tries to include, insofar as it is possible, all pupils and students that the statistics by definition are to cover. It is possible that not all pupils and students are represented in the figures. This may be due to Statistics Norway not receiving responses from all known respondents or not being aware of all relevant respondents.

Non-sampling errors

Register errors: errors may be due to self-reported information from the student or erroneous reporting from the data provider. However, a number of these non-sampling errors will be identified as part of control and revision routines. Statistics Norway strives to include all students. If some students are missing form the data it may be due to insufficient reporting from institutions or that some educational institutions are unknown for Statistics Norway.