Norway has hit a record number of enrollments at universities and colleges across the country, the Ministry of Research and Higher Education has announced through a press release.
The press release highlights that over 154,000 individuals have applied at higher education institutions this academic year, marking a 2.2 percent rise with 3,304 more students compared to 2020.
Vocational schools have also reported great interest among applicants, with 13,000 of them applying for admission at these schools alone, Erudera.com informs.
Minister of Research and Higher Education Henrik Asheim described the news as positive, saying, “it is very good that so many people want to pursue higher education.”
“Experience from previous crises shows that more people want to get an education when times are bad. We saw that last year, and we see that again this year. For the knowledge nation Norway, this is good news because we need more wise minds in all sectors,” Minister Asheim added.
Health Sciences Continue to Be Top Study Choice
Many applicants have shown interest in education programs related to health and social work, with one in four applicants choosing health sciences as their field of study, counting over 39,389 first-choice applicants.
The most desirable are the nursing programs, with almost nine percent of all applicants showing interest in this field of study and 13,370 applicants racing for 5,145 study occupations. However, there are fewer students pursuing this program this year, marking a decrease of 1.6 percent compared to the 5.8 percent status of 2020.
“We are completely dependent on more good people who can contribute to the health and care sector. Therefore, it is good that every year more nurses are trained than the year before and that there are still far more applicants than there are places,” Asheim commented on the matter.
Number of Applicants for ICT & Technology Increases by 4.2%
Studies in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) have been the choice of study for 1.6 percent more applicants, gradually rising since 2007. Only technology programs have experienced a 4.2 percent rise in first-choice applicants compared to 2020.
Following this increase, Minister Asheim said that the smart use of technology would play a significant role, especially when society begins to slowly open up and jobs start returning.
Significant Increase Reported Among Older Applicants
In comparison to 2020, there are 4,253 more applicants between 30 and older who decided to apply to universities and colleges during this year.
On the other hand, there are fewer 18 and 19-year-old applicants. A substantial increase of 11 percent has been reported among applicants who came straight from high school. This year, a decrease of 3.3 percent has been seen in the number of youngsters’ applications, compared to last year.
Nordland Attracts First-Choice Applicants With NORD & Police Training Programs
Universities in Nordland, the farthest north county, have experienced an increase of first-choice applicants, especially in Rogaland, due to the new study “Customs, goods movement & border control” provided by Stavanger University.
The growth reported in first-choice applicants to Nordland is attributed to the high number of applicants pursuing NORD and PHS police training programs in Bodø.
Furthermore, the increase in first-choice applicants to Innlandet is a result of the good application numbers at HINN and many applications for the new paramedics’ program, at the educational institution in Gjøvik.
Remarkable Surplus of 37.4% Applicants in Vocational Schools
Vocational schools have experienced an increase of 12,806 applicants compared to 2020. Most of this increase is attributed to the fact that more vocational schools now participate in coordinated admission.
“There has been an impressive growth in the number of applicants to vocational schools. I think this may be due to the fact that many of those in vocational education are relevant to jobs in industries where many are now out of work. The government has prioritized vocational schools, both with money for more study places and for quality improvement,” Minister Asheim asserted.
More applicants have been interested in vocational schools for both online and part-time studies. These schools provide flexibility for students and are more accessible for people who work or do not live near the school. Technology and health courses count the most first-choice applicants and the most advertised study places.
Teaching Education Program Applicant Numbers Plummet
This year, the Education Program has experienced a decline of 4.3 percent, with only 12,421 applicants choosing to attend this course, especially compared to 2018 and 2019. The lowest hit was reported in applications for primary and lower secondary teacher education.
On the other hand, vocational teaching programs have increased, with many applicants interested in pursuing a career as kindergarten or school teachers.
“Of course, I wish even more people had applied. I hope as many as possible say yes, show up for the autumn, complete and come out in Norwegian classrooms and kindergartens. After all, how many people complete is the most important thing,” Asheim said, commenting on the numbers.
Minister of Education and Integration Guri Melby emphasized how difficult it was to recruit upper secondary students due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
According to Melby, the government will continue to work and strengthen the national recruitment project and further develop the digital mathematics courses at a national level.