Contact

Phone

2180 2180

E-mail

Postal address

Rådhuset, Rådhusplassen 1, 0037 OSLO

Visitor address

Rådhuset, Rådhusplassen 1, 0037 OSLO

The Vice Mayor for Education and Child Services

Vice Mayor for Education and Child Services Inga Marte Thorkildsen (Socialist Left Party)

Vice Mayor Thorkildsen is responsible for kindergartens, primary and secondary schools, vocational education and training, the after school activity program (AKS), school health service, child welfare and school construction, in Oslo.

Oslo, like most cities, has social divides, and it is a prioritised political goal to make children’s education a tool and a force to limit social inequalities. All children shall have equal opportunities to realize their talents and potentials as a means to live good and independent lives.

Thorkildsen is concerned with strengthening pupils’ participation and democracy in schools, and she firmly believes that a greater variety in teaching and pedagogical ways of approaching the school curriculum will give more children and young people a stronger motivation to learn.

Thorkildsen emphasises the importance of early intervention in the education system, more highly skilled teachers in primary education, and closer cooperation between vocational training and universities, colleges and businesses.

She has been particularly concerned with how violence, abuse and neglect of children represent a public health problem. She has initiated several programs to reform, develop the organisation of the municipal child welfare services and strengthen the professional competence within the service, for instance through «Barnehjernevernet» and «Oslohjelpa».

«Barnehjernevernet» offers employees knowledge about the potential consequences of early age trauma on further development of the brain and social attachment.

Oslohjelpa is an easily accessible service offering help free of charge to families with various challenges. The service focuses primarily on the youngest children and their families, from pregnancy to six years, but it is a long-term goal to extend the service and offer service to families with children of all ages. 

Inga Marte Thorkildsen (b. 1976) was the Minister for Children, Equality and Integration in the Stoltenberg II-Government (2012-13). She was a Member of Parliament for Vestfold from 2001-2013 and she was the deputy leader of the Socialist Left Party from 2012-2015. As an MP, Vice Mayor Thorkildsen has been member of the Standing Committees of Finance, Energy, Environment, Health and Care Services, and justice. Thorkildsen also led the parliamentarian network for children’s rights. Inga Marte Thorkildsen holds a bachelor degree (2000) in Political Science and History of Religions from the University of Oslo.

In 2015 Thorkildsen published a book on violence, neglect and sexual assaults against children. She was a Special Adviser in the foundation Forandringsfabrikken (The Change Factory) from 2014-2016 and in the same period she worked with the national competence network for children as next of kin, Barns Beste (Children Carers).

Areas of responsibility

Kindergartens

Oslo has 712 kindergartens with children aged 0-6 years. More than half of the kindergartens are municipal and the other half is private. Kindergartens may have different educational profiles or put special emphasis on various themes, such as recreation, art or music. All kindergartens are obliged to follow the Kindergarten Act and the national framework plan for the contents and tasks of kindergartens. Further, the city government will ensure that all children in kindergartens in Oslo will have a safe and inclusive environment, with highly skilled employees supporting the individual child's play, development and learning. Children's language development is a prioritised area of focus.

Schools

Oslo has approximately 180 schools (including primary and secondary schools, adult education centres, music and culture schools, and special schools) with altogether 85,000 pupils, students and apprentices. The schools' objectives are to strengthen the pupils’ key competences and progression, and make pupils and apprentices able to complete and pass secondary education.

All students and apprentices shall be provided with good learning - and working environment. In Oslo, the pupil population is diverse, with different social, cultural and linguistic backgrounds. The educational system aims to limit social inequalities and to provide equal opportunities to all, regardless of background.

Vocational education and training

In the coming years there will be a great need for skilled workers with certificates of apprenticeships. The city council prioritises quality in vocational education and training and further aims to stimulate cooperation between schools, university colleges and businesses to provide a sufficient number of apprenticeships. Vice Mayor Thorkildsen is particularly concerned with the unacceptably high dropout rates, and the implications of this on social inequality in the population.

After School Activity Program

The After School Activity Programme is for pupils from grade 1-4, before and after school and in parts of the school holidays. Pupils with special needs can participate until 7th grade. Each school is responsible for preparing local plans to ensure coordination between the school, the After School Activity Programme, homework and leisure. The After School Activity Programme target areas are nature, technology and environment, food and health, homework, arts, culture and creativity, as well as physical activity and play. Vice mayor Thorkildsen has worked purposefully to limit social inequalities in schools, and from 2019 The After School Activity Programme admission fee was removed for all 1st grade pupils in Oslo.

Participation has increased significantly since then, and now almost one hundred percent among those who receive a free offer takes part in the programme. The free offer is now expanding gradually for pupils in 2.-4. grade.

In 2021 approximametly 17500 children take part in the programme that offers play, learning, language training and social development.

Child welfare services

The Child Welfare Services provide help and support to children, adolescents and parents who are experiencing challenges or difficulties.

Consideration of the child's best interests is a central focus in child welfare cases. The main goal of the child welfare services is to ensure that children and adolescents who are living under conditions that represent a risk to their health and/or development receive the help they need when they need it, and further to contribute to children and adolescents growing up in safe, secure and caring conditions.

School health services

All schools have a school health service with a public health nurse. Several schools also offer a doctor, physiotherapist and psychologist as a part of the school health services. Everyone who works in the school health service has a duty of confidentiality.

The school health service is free and available to all school students. Public health nurses offer guidance and advice for pupils and their families, and can provide further help from the specialist health service when needed.

Construction of schools in Oslo

The student population in Oslo is growing rapidly in both primary and secondary education. In addition to building new schools, the city has an urgent need to rehabilitate existing buildings to maintain capacity for the future.  In the period from 2021-2024, 13 billion NOK has been earmarked for investment in new schools and rehabilitation to meet future capacity needs.

All school construction projects in Oslo are adopted by the City Council in a school needs plan (skolebehovsplanen). The plan is an overall presentation of all planned and proposed construction projects in the Oslo School, including new buildings, expansions and rehabilitations of already existing buildings. The school needs plan is a capacity plan, but also contributes towards high quality in education both in primary and secondary school. A new school needs plan is presented every second year.