Introduces national rules for free school choice – VG

NEW RULES: Now the admission systems in upper secondary school are changing. Minister of Education Guri Melby says it is up to the county municipalities to decide which scheme they choose, but the local school principle is a thing of the past. Photo: Terje Bringedal

Now six counties have to change the rules.


From the spring of 2022, the county municipalities cannot divide the county into more than six intake areas for upper secondary education, the government has determined.

The government decided last week that there will be freer school choices throughout the country. The county municipality must be able to choose between free school choice throughout the county or within different intake areas.

It has now been decided that the counties cannot be divided into more than six areas.

– We have followed the Directorate of Education’s recommendation to set an upper limit for the number of intake areas, with one adjustment. We have designed a model that gives the counties a room for maneuver to create a scheme for free school choice that suits their county, says Minister of Education Guri Melby (V).

– It is up to the county municipalities to choose whether they want to divide the county into intake areas or have free school choice throughout the county. Admission areas can help maintain a decentralized school structure in the county and will also help prevent students from having a long journey, says Melby.

Must say goodbye to the local school principle

Today, the county municipalities have different intake systems. Oslo, Rogaland and Møre Romsdal already have free school choice throughout the county, while Troms and Finnmark and Nordland are divided into five and three intake areas, respectively.

Agder, Innlandet, Vestfold and Telemark, Vestland, Viken and Trøndelag follow different variants of the local school principle and must therefore change this from next year.

The government introduced freer school choices across county boundaries in 2016. Pupils can apply for offers in other counties, but the county municipality in question is only obliged to make an offer if they have available capacity.

– To be stopped immediately with a new government

FRP’s Roy Steffensen, who is chair of the education and research committee, is critical of the decision.

– To be able to divide counties into as many as six regions limits the students’ freedom of choice, it is highly regrettable. FRP believes it is more important to ensure students ‘freedom of choice than the county politicians’ right to decide on school, he says.

If the red-greens win the election this autumn, the decision will be reversed, promises SV’s parliamentary representative Mona Fagerås, who is the party’s education policy spokesperson.

– Can’t the government just give up? The battle for grade-based admission is a lost cause. This will be stopped immediately when a new government takes over, she says.

Correction: In the first version of this case, it was stated that the government last year decided that there should be freer school choices. The right thing is that it was decided last week. The error was corrected 22.37 June 21, 2021.

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