The Norwegian Government's vision is to boost the already high attractiveness of post-secondary vocational education (nationally referred as tertiary). The education quality award contributes visibility and attractiveness for the labour market.
The first quality award was made in 2017 and there has been one annually since then. Establishing an award is one of 50 measures the education ministry published in its 2016 white paper for improving vocational college quality, environment for learning, student welfare, funding and management. Its purpose is to reward outstanding quality in education and encourage institutions to improve systematically the quality of the education offered. The vocational colleague winning the award receives NOK one million.
The first award in 2017 went to vocational colleague Fagskolen i Vestfold for the pilot project Electro technician, aimed at offering continuing education in the field as an incentive to continue in the job. Vocational colleague Fagskolen Innlandet in Gjøvik won the prize in 2018 for the initiative Automation of the learning arena: operationalisation of Industry 4.0. The main emphasis was to develop vocational education programme content that operationalises Industry 4.0 in everyday educational practice. In 2019, the vocational college Fagskolen Oslo Akershus received the award for their project on digital interaction (Digital samhandling); this project aims to train students in integrated concurrent engineering (ICE).
Quality of education
The Norwegian Agency for International Cooperation and Quality Enhancement in Higher Education (DIKU) is responsible for the award. Information about the outstanding work taking place, and the award itself, is important in improving post-secondary vocational education attractiveness for both students and the labour market. The winner of the award commits to participating in an event hosted by DIKU aimed at increasing awareness of the award and the great projects being conducted.
The impact of the 2016 white paper can be observed in the increasing number of vocational college students. Ahead of future government planning, DIKU will evaluate the quality-enhancing measures described in the white paper. An interim report should be completed in 2020 and a final report in December 2022.
The next quality of education award will be made during the conference Fagskolekonferansen on 12 November 2020.
Read more (in Norwegian):
- Meld. St. 9 (2016–2017) Fagfolk for fremtiden — Fagskoleutdanning [Report No 9 to the Storting (2016-2017) – Skilled Workers for the Future – Vocational college education]
Utdanningskvalitetsprisen for høyere yrkesfaglig utdanning [The education quality award for higher vocational education]
Fagskolesektoren i vekst [Status report on vocational college education]