26 September 2023

NORWAY: Staff shortages threaten early education

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Finland’s largest cities want Government action to address the shortage of qualified personnel in early childhood education.

Currently, there are vacancies for more than 2,600 early childhood education teachers and social workers in these cities, with the situation likely to worsen when the proportion of qualified staff to children is increased under current legislation.

The cities, Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim, Stavanger, Kristiansand and Fredrikstad, estimate they will need more than 9,000 new early childhood education professionals with a higher education degree by 2030.

Early childhood educators say the reasons for the shortage of personnel are clear.

First, the number of children and the participation rate in early childhood education in cities has increased significantly since the 1990s, while the number of qualified teachers has decreased by half.

Although efforts have been made to increase the number of teachers in recent years, it has not been enough to address the shortage.

Without significant measures to address the problem, cities will not be able to provide early childhood education to all, and the quality of education will suffer. This will have far-reaching effects on children, families, and the functioning of the labour market.

In addition, the eligibility requirements for the person in charge of day-care operations will also change in 2030.

The person in charge must have a qualification as an early childhood education teacher or social worker, adequate leadership skills, and at least a master’s degree in educational science.

This means that a higher education degree will no longer be sufficient, and the career path for social workers, for example, will be cut off for this position.

Early childhood education directors hope that Norway’s new Government will work with municipalities to take measures to address the shortage of qualified personnel.

Oslo, 29 April 2023

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