The non-university higher education sector in NorwayMay 2 2013
The higher education system in Norway has been continuously reformed over the last 10-15 years. This reform process started at the end of the 1980s, when many politicians seemed to regard universities and colleges as slowly adapting institutions with little ability to adjust to new social needs. The general discontent led to the establishment of a governmental commission set up in 1987 to evaluate the goals, organisation and priorities of higher education towards the years 2000–2010 (NOU 1988: 28). Nearly all aspects of higher education were discussed by the commission, including the organisation of non-university higher education. The outcome of this process was a major reorganisation of this sector in 1994. A formal binary system was established through the merging of 98 vocationally-oriented institutions into 26 state colleges (statlige høgskoler). The majority of these new institutions are multi-disciplinary and multi-programme colleges encompassing the previous specialist colleges of teacher training, engineering, health education, and social work, as well as the district colleges and various other institutions offering a specialist range of teaching programmes.