New Norwegian law makes creating Christian schools difficult


Northern Europe

Photo ANP, Robin van Lonkhuijsen

With the implementation of a new school law on Wednesday, it is now more difficult for Norwegians to start private schools.

The founding of new private schools "affects Norwegian society, which should be open and tolerant when people with different social and cultural backgrounds meet to a lesser extent in the same classrooms. Therefore, we cannot continue to privatize and split up our school system", said Minister of Education Tonje Brenna in a press release on Wednesday.

Statistics of the Norwegian government show that in the last decade, one private school was established every month on average. In the same period, an average of three public schools closed per month.

That is a problem, according to the government. "The prerequisite for Norway to be a country with small differences and high trust is a strong public common school, where children and young people from different backgrounds meet each other and learn together."

To be approved, private schools must now show that they are a real supplement to the public school system. This reports the Christian Norwegian daily Vårt Land. They can, for example, be approved on the basis of a recognized pedagogical direction, as international schools.

Problems for Christians

That the new law could form problems for Christians shows an example from early June. Then, the Christian KrF MP Kjell Ingolf Ropstad sent questions to the Minister of Education because of a fictional example in a social studies book for 11-year-olds. Sixth-grader boy Emil is in love with the boy Anders but does not dare to tell him about the feelings of his Christian family. "His parents would have been so furious and ashamed that they might have died,if people had known what kind of sinful thoughts Emil was thinking", reads the book "Arena 6" by Aschehoug.

This worried Norwegian Christians. "I think a child will quickly feel that this applies to all Christian families, said Ingunn Ulfsten, general manager of the Pentecostal movement, to Vårt Land.

Politician Ropstad found it unbelievable that this book was used in class. "Many Christians find it difficult to live openly with their faith at school. Such a mention in a textbook can make it even more difficult", he said to the Christian Norwegian daily Dagen.

Tonje Brenna, the Minister of Education said in response that she believed that teachers assess the books before using them in class. "Based on these assessments, they thus also choose alternatives that they believe have poor quality or is not comprehensive enough to take care of the intentions in the curriculum."



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