What are the main differences between the Norwegian and Spanish education system? I have looked closer into the matter.
I conducted an interview with a future Norwegian Primary School (1st to 7th grade) teacher, Anna Buvik. We discussed some topics regarding our Education Systems.
In Spain, kindergarten students have books and subjects. In Norway, I found out that they do not.
– No, in kindergarten there aren’t subjects like maths or science. They work on projects with them. The children can learn some mathematics, language, etc. So, in this moment of education the teacher introduces the subjects as games. That’s the reason why they don’t have maths books, etc., said Anna.
In primary school in Spain we have many subjects and books too. It is the same in Norway.
– Yes. In primary school we have a book for every subject. So, each student has a book for History, Norwegian, English, etc., added Anna.
In Norway when you are in primary school, you cannot repeat one course. However, in Spain, when you are in primary school, you can repeat a full year of school.
In Norway, in high school, the marks range from 1 to 6. 1 means a fail and 2 to 6 means a pass. In Spain, in high school, the marks range from 1-10. 1 to 5 is a fail and 5 to 10 is a pass.
This last point is the most important difference for me. You can see that in Spain we have to do 50% of our exam correctly in order to pass it. However, in Norway you only have to do 33.33% (2 of 6) correctly and you pass it. Personally, I think that the Norwegian academic system is more attractive to students and helps them to improve their marks. This is especially helpful for the students with Special Education Needs (SEN).
Taking the classroom outside
While I was talking with Anna, I got the feeling that in Norway they take advantage of the environment. Norwegian kids do many activities outside of the class (e.g. maybe they do Maths outside). In Spain, except for the subject of Physical Education, we are generally inside during classes. Another aspect is that in Norway they eat lunch in class and they eat their own food. In Spain, the most common thing to do is to eat lunch in the school cafeteria or to go home for lunch and come back in order to take the afternoon classes.
Personally, the most important aspect is that in Spain we do not have the freedom that Norway has to teach. Here, the teachers decide on their individual method for teaching the subjects the way they think that is the best for their students. Anna said,
– You can do it the way you think is the best.
It is different in Spain. In general, all of the teachers have to teach the same with a similar method and with the same resources. So, this freedom exists but not in the whole meaning of the word.
To conclude, despite the differences found between our educational systems, we agreed upon the importance of teachers in society. As Anna stated:
– We have an important role for many kids because the students learn about subjects but also about life in general. School is a big part of people’s lives. After the parents, you are the person who spends the most time with students, so it is a job that requires a lot of work.