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Norway: challenges for the higher VET recognition scheme

Challenges for the higher vocational education
And training recognition scheme.

An evaluation of the recognition scheme for foreign higher vocational education and training shows its limited impact in the country, and highlights the challenges associated with this level in an international context.

In 2019, Norway established a recognition scheme for foreign higher vocational education (EQF5) as part of its efforts to develop recognition schemes for all education levels. The main aim of the scheme was to make it easier for people with foreign higher vocational education to find jobs and responsibilities that match their qualifications, and for employers to obtain proper documentation of such education from abroad.

Challenges

The evaluation report yielded the following main findings:

  • Many applicants were rejected without explanation because there are no common criteria for higher vocational education in Europe. In Norway the equivalent level is level 5, but in other countries it includes levels 4 and 6. The report suggest that the scheme communicates poorly with those who apply for recognition, as they do so through the wrong recognition scheme.
  • The recognition system is intended to improve employment opportunities for people with foreign vocational education. However, most tertiary vocational education programmes have only limited recognition in the Norwegian labour market and there are currently no jobs that require such qualifications. Nevertheless, people with vocational training and experience can secure jobs in industries with a high demand for skilled labour. Language skills are also highlighted as important for employment.
  • Those who had their education recognised highlighted its importance for job security, skill recognition, pay and responsibilities.
  • Employers have limited knowledge of the recognition system. However, with the increase in labour migration to Norway, it is expected that the recognition system for tertiary vocational education will become more important in the future.

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