Upper secondary education

Updated: 13 February 2023

Next update: Not yet determined

Pupils, apprentices and trainees in upper secondary education
Pupils, apprentices and trainees in upper secondary education
251 477

About the statistics

The statistics gives number of pupils, apprentices, students and participants in upper secondary education.

Enrolled pupils: Pupils, apprentices or trainees 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. This right was extended to all from 2000.

The Knowledge Promotion: New reform in upper secondary education. This reform was introduced in autumn 2006 and replaces the Reform 94. The new reform involves a transformation of the contents and structure of upper secondary education.

Course level: This is used to differentiate the three class levels in upper secondary education. The first year: Basic course or level 1, second year: advance course I/level 2 and third year: advance course II/level 3.

General areas of study (Reform 94): Includes courses in general, economic and management studies, music dance and drama, sports and physical education.

Programmes for General Studies (The Knowledge Promotion): Includes courses in specialization in general studies, sports and physical education, music, dance and drama, art, design and architecture and media and communication.

In autumn 2016 media and communication went from being a vocational education programme to a programme for general studies. Pupils who began in autumn 2015 or earlier continue this education.

Vocational areas of study (Reform 94): Includes courses in health and social studies, agriculture, fishing and forestry, arts, crafts and designs, hotel and food processing trades, building and construction trades, technical building, electrical trades, engineering and mechanical trades, chemical and processing trades, woodworking trades, media and communication, sales and service.

Vocational Education Programmes (The Knowledge Promotion): Includes courses in agriculture, fishing and forestry, building and construction, design, arts and crafts, electricity and electronics, healthcare, childhood and youth development, restaurant and food processing, service and transport, technical and industrial production, crafts, design and product development, harirdressing, floral, interior and retail design, information technology and media production and sales, service and tourism.

From the autumn of 2020, a new structure of courses and apprenticeships in vocational education programs was implemented. Design, arts and crafts and service and transport was split up, and replaced by four new education programes (crafts, design and product development, harirdressing, floral, interior and retail design, information technology and media production and sales, service and tourism). Those who startet autumn 2019 or earlier, complete their education according to the old structure. From the autumn of 2020 electricity and electronics was renamed to electrical engineering and computer technology, and technical and industrial production was renamed to technological and industrial production.

Trade and journeyman’s examination: Final examination taken on completion of an apprenticeship at a workplace or upper secondary school. Successful candidates are awarded a trade or journeyman’s certificate entitling them to practice the trade concerned.

Trainee: A person who take a less comprehensive test than the vocational examination.

Skills test: A test at a lower level than the vocational examination, a test in terms of the goals that are established for the training.

Alternative education program: Pupils in alternative curriculum. Former a separate education programme. From fall 2010 pupils in alternative education is primarily reported under the ordinary education programmes where they are connected.

Type of Education: Educational activity is classified by the Norwegian Standard Classification of Education (NUS2000). It groups different types of educations by levels and fields of orientation.

Ownership: Schools are classified into state, county, municipal and private schools.

Social background: Mother or father’s education background. The highest education level of one of the parents defines the pupils social background.

Basic requirements for higher education: Pupils who have completed and passed upper secondary education programme for general studies meet the basic requirements for higher education. Basic requirement can also be gained in vocational education programmes. Occupational skills can be attained normally after two years in school and two years of practical training in an organization (differs in some subject areas). Occupational skills can equally be attained after three years of vocational training, then attaining a certificate. A trainee take a less comprehensive test than the vocational examination, a skills test.

Adults in upper secondary education: This involves both adults in ordinary courses and others in specialised courses for adults.

Completed education: Educational activities completed at an educational institution within a specific period and apprentices and trainees who have taken a vocational examination.

Completed and passed: Among pupils, apprentices and trainees completed education also means that the individual has passed all courses that can lead to a certificate, vocational qualification or skills test. In folk high schools and other education programmes it means the pupil has completed the educational activity and may not have passed.

Municipality of residence: Is based on the registered address as of 1 October the current year.

School residence: Is based on the address of the school or apprenticeship workplace as of 1 October the current year.

Age: Per 31 December the current year.

Immigrants: These are persons born abroad of two foreign-born parents and four foreign-born grandparents. Immigrants emigrated to Norway at some point.

Norwegian-born to immigrant parents: Persons who are born in Norway of two parents born abroad.

Other upper secondary education: Includes pupils in approved private schools. Also, pupils in a few other schools that has approval for economic support to upper secondary education by Lånekassen, and where the schools are not approved by the directorate for education and training.

Labour marked courses: Courses for adults arranged at upper secondary schools on behalf of NAV.

Foundation Course for Engineering Studies: A one-year course that provides the qualifications necessary for admission to and Engineering Bachelor programme in Norway.

Folk high schools: These are independent schools with an integrated goal and usually without a curriculum and normally without examinations.

Long courses in folk high schools: These are courses with a duration between 16.5 and 33 weeks.

Wishes for education programme - Primary wish: Primary wish for education programme fulfilled. Based on the wish-number on the applicants file. Lower wish: Primary wish for education programme not fulfilled, but a lower wish for education programme. Unknown wish: A small percent of the pupils did not apply for upper secondary education through VIGO. This is mainly pupils in adult education and pupils in private schools.

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: Upper secondary education
Topic: Education

Not yet determined

Division for Education and Culture Statistics

The statistics provide figures for the county and national level.


The statistics is reported to UNESCO, OECD and Eurostat.

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

The purpose of these statistics is to collect data on all upper secondary education in Norway, as regulated by the Education Act and also other upper secondary education programmes. 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, apprentice and trainee. All educational activities were attached to each person's Personal ID-number. Data on adult applicants and participants reported at individual levels with personal ID-numbers are included in the data. Individualized personal data on education has been collected since 1970.

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 Development, 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.

No external users have access to the statistics and analyses before they are published and accessible simultaneously for all users on ssb.no at 8 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 on upper secondary education is included in the Norwegian National Education Database (NUDB). NUDB collects all statistics on ongoing and completed education from 1974/75 and BHU since 1970 in a common database.

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

Data is delivered in accordance with EU legislation 1925/99 3711/91

The statistics include all pupils, apprentices and trainees registered at upper secondary education under the Education Act and completed education at upper secondary as well as folk high schools, vocational schools (as of 2015, vocational schools are not included), employment training and other upper secondary education programmes. There is also an annual collection of data on adults in specialised courses for adults since 2004.

Within upper secondary education, the counties own administrative data system, VIGO, is the main source as well as special registration systems for adults in the counties. For folk high schools, data on applicants and pupils is sent electronically to Statistics Norway. The various institutions are the source of data of the other areas within upper secondary education. Accredited web-based schools are included from 2012.

Data is collected from administrative registers from the counties main enrolment system, VIGO. The main purpose of VIGO is the management of the enrolment of pupils in upper secondary. The database however contains data on all pupils registered in county upper secondary schools. Data from private upper secondary schools are also reported through VIGO. VIGO also includes vocational education, which are persons in apprenticeship training or trainees, and sit for qualifying examination. The folk high schools report their data to the administration system NAVI. Statistics Norway gather necessary statistics from this server. Statistics Norway also receives data from the Labour Directorate and other upper secondary institutions.

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.

The statistics is based on enumeration of the number registered pupils, apprentices and trainees, completed education or vocational examination or skills test, and adults registered in an educational activity as at 30 September in the reporting year.

Not relevant

The general rule is not to publish data if less than 3 pupils are found within a cell or unit in a table. This is to prevent identification of individuals within the statistics.

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. Data on trainees was collected for the first time in 2006.

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.

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