Norway derives from Nordvegr, the road to the N, a path that also brought luck to the descendants of the ancient Vikings, both for the leading role played by ocean fishing and for the discovery of huge oil fields in the Norwegian Sea. Ancient land of conquest, coveted by neighboring peoples and beyond (Vicking indicated the leader of the maritime expeditions of the western populations of Scandinavia), is now in first place in the world for the quality of life index. Indeed, it is characterized by an excellent economic and social situation, a precious result of a system, known in the recent past as “Scandinavian socialism”, capable of combining economic well-being with social security. The secret of its success lies in all probability in the coexistence of factors capable of promoting development, such as a “mixed” type economic structure, based on the free market and on the intervention of the State through its large companies in the most important sectors, an imposition reduced and sustainable taxes, full employment, an economic structure in continuous renewal and an efficient school system that has completely eradicated illiteracy. They are territories of Norway: in the extreme N of archipelago of Svalbard and the island of Jan Mayen, in the southern regions the islands of Bouvet and Pietro I, as well as the Land of Queen Maud, a vast sector of Antarctica. Norway adheres to many international organizations including the UN and NATO, but two popular referendums, held in 1972 and 1994, sanctioned the country’s refusal to join the EU. However, in 1994 the country signed an agreement for participation in the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and in the European Economic Area (EEA), and is part of the Schengen area.
Norwegian education policy is strongly influenced by efforts to ensure equal opportunities and access to education for all. The highest administrative body in education is the Ministry of Education and Research. The government and the Norwegian National Assembly set educational goals, the national curriculum and the financial framework for educational expenditure. In Norway there is a right to free schooling and higher education. The language of instruction is Norwegian, learning two foreign languages is compulsory. In areas with a high percentage of Sami-speaking population, there is a right to a separate curriculum and Sami as the language of instruction.
Pre-school education is optional in kindergarten. Since 1999, the municipalities have been obliged to offer children in grades 1–4 day care before and after school. The Norwegian school system is characterized by the unified school and the state curriculum. General ten-year compulsory schooling begins at the age of 6. The primary school combines the primary level of grades 1–4, the intermediate level of grades 5–7 and lower secondary level of grades 8–10. Schoolchildren with special needs are integrated into regular lessons. The further three-year upper secondary level brings together courses leading to a general higher education entrance qualification or a vocational qualification. According to mcat-test-centers, there are six universities in higher education: in Oslo (founded in 1811), Bergen (1948), Tromsø (1968), Trondheim (1968).
Freedom of the press is guaranteed in the 1814 constitution. The media with a strong public service sector is free and can broadcast and report unhindered. Three groups, Schibsted, A-pressen and Edda Media, have a strong position in the print media market and are also involved in private television.
Press: The newspaper and publication density is very high; there are more than 60 daily newspapers. The Schibsted papers »Aftenposten« (founded in 1860, with an additional evening edition for the Oslo region, and »Verdens Gang« (VG, founded in 1945), one of the tabloid newspapers, achieve the highest circulation. in Oslo, “Bergens Tidende” (founded 1868), “Adresseavisen” (founded 1767) in Trondheim and “Stavanger Aftenblad” (founded 1893) as well as “Dagsavisen Arbeiderbladet” (founded 1884, social democratic) and the business paper “Dagens Næringsliv” (founded 1889).
News agencies: Norsk Telegrambyrå (NTB, founded in 1867, a cooperative company since 1918), Avisenes Nyhets byrå (ANB), Nynorsk Pressekontor (NPK).
Broadcast: Radio and television are organized in the state-run Norsk Rikskringkasting (NRK), an organization set up by the government but independent of it. The NRK broadcasts three national and 13 regional programs as well as several special interest programs, one of which is in the Sami language. There are also three advertising-free television programs financed by license fees. After the abolition of the state radio monopoly (1981) and the legalization of radio advertising (locally in 1988, nationwide in 1991), numerous commercial local radio stations emerged; broadcast nationwide, among other things. “P 4 – Radio Hele Norge” and “Radio Norge”. There are also three major private broadcasters: “TV 2”, “TV 3” (Modern Times Group, Sweden) and “TV Norge”. In addition, there are several local television stations, numerous domestic and foreign cable and satellite channels, as well as pay-TV offers.