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Norway's Regional Colleges

Frederick C. Kintzer
Higher Education
Vol. 3, No. 3 (Aug., 1974), pp. 303-314
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3445869
Page Count: 12
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Norway's Regional Colleges
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Abstract

The regional college movement in Norway is in direct response to societal pressure felt worldwide to democratize and decentralize higher education. Created in 1969 as a three-college system coordinated by the Regional College section of the Ministry of Education, the current six institutions represent Norway's attempt to extend equal opportunity and employment-oriented education to rural and remote areas. Although initially established on a five-year experimental basis, the institutions appear to be in a solid position, having university endorsement as well as strong support of the local community constituencies. Another prominent factor giving support to the regional college movement is the egalitarian nature of Norwegian society. The "folkekögskole" (folk high school or people's college) which had become the accepted preparation for teacher training institutions throughout Scandinavia, helped to strengthen the case for short-term career-oriented education. The regional colleges operate with a high degree of administrative autonomy to allow each institution maximum freedom to develop regional identities. From the beginning, innovation and experimentation have been officially encouraged. Faculty and students participate broadly in institutional policy development, and at several colleges, in the actual day-to-day decision making process. The Ministry and institutional leaders appear firmly committed to goals expressed in the planning reports and in the enabling legislation: to prepare students for immediate employment in specific occupations and for further education in universities and professional schools, and to offer educational opportunities, including general education, for adults. Consideration in long-range planning should be given to: (1) Faculty development programs and training for administrators, (2) Perfecting communication channels, and (3) Improving instructional efficiency through such means as an instructional resource center and an educational development team on each campus to encourage new ideas on improving instruction.

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