Knowledge builds competence
Adopted by the national conference of Norsk Lektorlag on 15 November 2019
The school system’s most important remit is to communicate knowledge and let the students develop their different skills. School subjects must be based on academic, professional and craft traditions. The Norwegian school system shall provide all students with equal opportunities to realise their potential and participate actively in society. Education is one of the most important pillars of our welfare, and students therefore have an independent responsibility to develop their knowledge and skills. This responsibility expands as their school career progresses.
Knowledge is the core element of all competencies. In a knowledge-intensive and specialised labour market, there is an increasing need for solid practical and theoretical knowledge that can be applied in many different domains. It is therefore more important than ever to base school subjects on updated knowledge. In a society with a fast pace of change, the labour market needs more competence, creativity and adaptability. Solid professional skills are a precondition for all this.
Knowledge is fundamental to both education and personal development. The task of letting the students develop as individuals and citizens must be integrated into the school’s work on improving students’ knowledge and skills. Knowledge is necessary to enable the students to engage in critical reflection and to recognise unfounded and unscientific claims.
The subject teacher is a custodian of our knowledge traditions, a cultural mediator and a role model, and plays a crucial role in the students’ learning processes. The graduate teacher shall have sufficient professional latitude. External control of the didactics, the pedagogical processes or the relational work in teaching is neither desirable, nor possible.
The main goal of Norsk Lektorlag’s programme is for all students to attend a school where they can acquire knowledge and develop their skills in preparation for further education and training, a professional career and coping in life. Competent graduate and other teachers who enjoy good working conditions, salaries and framework conditions are the key to a good school system.
1. The graduate teacher’s autonomy
The subjects are the school’s foundation
A solid foundation in the subjects is a precondition for developing understanding and in-depth learning, and this must therefore be the key focus from the first day at school. Clear academic and methodical progress ensures that the students learn better, and reduces attrition.
2. Time for teaching
Teaching is the school’s core remit. Bureaucracy, student diversity and learning resources of inconsistent quality make good teaching increasingly time-consuming. To ensure sufficient time for this, the concept of teaching must be clearly defined, and students must be given the number of annual teaching hours to which they are entitled.
Eliminate time thieves and bureaucracy
Much of the reporting and documentation in schools is unnecessary. ICT systems must be used to ease the working day. Graduate and other teachers should spend most of their time on teaching-related work.
3. A democratic and open school
The training shall promote a scientific mindset, democracy and equality. School employees have broad and comprehensive freedom of expression regarding the conditions in schools. The Norwegian Association of Graduate Teachers calls for more openness within and regarding the school system.
Competent teachers for all
The graduate teacher plays a crucial role in the students’ learning process. Graduate and other teachers with high academic competence ensure better performance in students and help boost their social mobility. Students deserve teachers with in-depth specialisation in the subjects that they teach, and the titles of graduate teacher and teacher must therefore be protected. The Norwegian educational system must introduce competence requirements for all grade levels and in all subjects.
Further and continuing education
Students and society need updated graduate and other teachers. Public school owners are obligated to identify and plan the need for competence development.
Graduate and other teachers have the same need for regular professional updating as a range of other professions where this is a statutory entitlement. Relevant further and continuing education at an academically satisfactory level must be offered to all school employees.
A good school system depends on enabling graduate and other teachers to develop as educators throughout their careers. Professional competence in the teaching staff adds value at all stages of primary and lower secondary school. Professional career pathways must be available in the school system, not only administrative career pathways.
Graduate and other teacher training
The school system’s fundamental role in society and the graduate teachers’ importance for school quality mean that it is essential to continue raising the requirements for quality in the graduate and other teacher training programmes.
Combined pedagogics and didactics training (PPU)
Academic specialisation combined with pedagogics and didactics training is the main path to a career in school for academics and other professions with or without vocational experience, and the one-year combined training course in pedagogics and didactics (the PPU programme) should therefore gain wider national recognition.
5. Higher education
Quality must be the key focus throughout the higher education sector. Higher education programmes in Norway must be of a high international standard. Excellence in teaching must be better recognised in academia.
6. Professional school leadership
Good school leaders have a background in educational and pedagogical sciences, hire highly qualified graduate and other teachers and base their development efforts on the subject teachers’ assessments. The outcome of measures that are not directly associated with the subjects must be critically appraised and evaluated.
7. Responsible school owners
The school owners must ensure that their school has sufficient resources and is run in compliance with statutory legislation and agreements. The right to a permanent position and the preferential access to a larger FTE must be respected. All school teaching must be provided by competent personnel.
A good working environment
The employer must make the necessary physical infrastructure available, such as staffrooms, quiet rooms and interview rooms, mobile telephones and other technical equipment. The school, the students and their guardians must respect the fact that graduate and other teachers have working hours.
A safe workplace
Graduate and other teachers have the same right to a safe working environment as employees in other workplaces. The students’ rights must not come at the cost of the health, safety and legal protection of the employees.
8. Good school quality nationwide
All students are entitled to adequate primary and lower secondary education. A consistent system of school research is required to ensure a high academic level in Norwegian schools. Norsk Lektorlag takes a positive view of online teaching, which opens new opportunities for teaching as well as for further and continuing education.
The purpose of assessment is to promote learning and reveal the student’s level of knowledge. Learning materials and teaching plans must ensure predictability and impartiality in the assessment of students.
The subject teacher must judge whether the frameworks and basis for the overall achievement mark are adequate. It is important to ensure that the subject teacher is well qualified, and that sufficient time is allotted to the assessment work and to continuing education and training in assessment.
The examination is a key component of the assessment work, and the central authorities and the school owners must provide sufficient time frames and remuneration to encourage highly qualified educators to accept work as examiners.
Equal frameworks for assessment
The examination and assessment systems in Norwegian schools must be reliable and ensure that the students are assessed on an equal basis, and that each pupil is assessed with regard to their actual knowledge of the subject concerned.
10. Adapted education and training for all
All students shall have a real entitlement to adapted education and training provided by qualified subject teachers. Special needs education requires teaching personnel with competence in the subject concerned as well as in teaching students with special needs. Good development support requires school owners to also introduce other professions into the school to the extent needed.
11. Learning materials on the subject’s premises
Well developed learning materials are required teaching tools. The teacher shall have real influence over the choice and use of all types of learning materials, such as excursions, digital learning resources and printed textbooks. The learning materials must not be outdated.