Primary and upper secondary educationThe education system for children and adolescents in Norway is divided into three stages: primary school, lower secondary school, and upper secondary school. Due to the increase of people aged under 16 in Norway, the number of pupils in primary schools increased by 20 thousand; from nearly 616 thousand in 2009 to over 636 thousand as of 2019. Despite the growing number of pupils, the number of primary schools declined over the same period, reaching 1,548 in 2019. At the same time, however, both the number of private schools and pupils admitted to private schools rose significantly.
While primary and lower secondary school is mandatory for children between six and 16 years, upper secondary school is optional for the 16 to 19-year-olds. Most upper secondary schools offer both general and vocational education. While the general program prepares for university studies, the vocational program focuses on careers in a specific trade or industry. In 2019, 196.6 thousand students were admitted in upper secondary education. Both the number of students, and the number of upper secondary schools decreased slightly over the past years.