A total of 10,211 international exchange students flocked to Norway for their education last year, more than ever before, the Norwegian Ministry of Education has said.
According to figures from a state report on higher education released by the ministry, Norwegian higher education institutions have recorded an increase mainly in the number of students from the EU, in particular from Germany and France, but have witnessed a sharp decrease in students from Russia and China, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
Norwegian Research and Higher Education Minister Ola Borten Moe described developments in higher education in Norway as good, pointing out that the number of graduates from Norwegian universities and colleges has increased and that more and more people find relevant jobs after graduation.
“In this way, we create opportunities for more people and ensure Norway’s access to important expertise. It is also very positive that Norway is an attractive study country for foreign students and that more Norwegians are traveling abroad,” Borten Moe said.
Minister added that the intention is to see more international students studying in Norway as exchange students as those who come through exchange programs demonstrate academic and strategic priorities.
Data show 297,775 students were studying in Norway in 2022, the second-highest number; the highest number was registered in 2021. Nonetheless, the number has slightly dropped by two per cent compared to the previous year.
Similarly, more Norwegian students have also chosen to participate in exchange programs and study abroad. Last academic year, more than 7,000 Norwegian exchange students were studying abroad, quickly reaching pre-pandemic levels. EU’s Erasmus+ strongly motivates students to decide on exchange studies.
However, a few of them completed their degrees abroad. The percentage of Norwegian students completing the entire degree abroad has dropped by 19 per cent since 2015 when around 17,400 students earned a degree in another country. In the 2021/22 academic year, the total number of Norwegian students abroad was 14,000.
Popular among students are flexible and part-time programs, and the number of individuals interested in pursuing such programs has increased by 33 per cent. The ministry states this proportion is far more than the overall student growth.
“In 2022, 25 per cent of all students either attended a decentralized or online education, or they studied part-time,” the ministry’s press release notes.
According to OECD, Norway is one of the countries that has the highest proportion of part-time learners.
Earlier this year, Norwegian authorities introduced tuition fees for all international students from countries outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland. The government’s plan to end tuition-free enrollment at higher education institutions caused discussion in the Norwegian parliament.