Family and children
Many mobile researchers bring along a spouse or partner who needs to find a job or gain admission to higher education.
Some also bring their children or plan to have a child while in Norway. Norway is considered to be a family-friendly country. Relatively generous child and parental benefits and childcare provision make it easier to combine career and children.
Moreover, employers and colleagues are normally understanding when you have to leave work early to pick up your child or when you have to stay at home with a sick child. At the same time childcare centres and teachers expect parents to play an active role in their children?s learning.
I have come to Norway with my researcher partner. What opportunities to work or study are open to me?
I am pregnant. What are my rights and which services are available to me?
What are the rules regarding maternity leave in Norway?
Am I entitled to receive parental or child benefits?
What are the options for child care?
Is any after-care programme provided outside school hours?
Which school should my child attend?
Are there any international schools available?
Is my child entitled to upper secondary education?
The brochure on Pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period in Norway provides useful information about health care assistance during pregnancy and at the hospital, about your rights, physical changes in your body and much more.
You may be entitled to pregnancy benefit if you are pregnant and your work entails a risk of injury to your unborn child. This applies for instance to stressful jobs, physically tiring work, work with chemical substances or to psychosocial conditions at work. You must have been working for at least four weeks in Norway to be entitled to pregnancy benefit. And it is a requirement that no other arrangements can be made at your work to reduce any possible risk to your child. Read more
You may be entitled to receive parental benefit from NAV, the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration, on the birth of a child, if you have worked for a minimum of six of the last ten months in Norway or in any other EU/EEA country. The benefit period for parental benefit is 46 weeks at full benefit, or 56 weeks at 80% of full benefit. The choice you make at the beginning of the benefit period applies throughout the whole period and to both parents. Read more
Lump sum maternity and adoption grants
A woman who is entitled to parental benefit may also be entitled to a lump sum grant paid in connection with childbirth or adoption.
Child benefit (family allowance) can be granted from the month following the child’s birth or the month after you arrive in Norway. If you have a Norwegian national identity number, child benefit is normally granted automatically. Child benefit is given until the child is 18 years old. Read more
Child benefit and cash benefit for parents
You or your partner may also choose to stay at home with your child. Cash benefits for parents may be granted for children between one and three years of age, and for adopted children who have not started school. The benefit can be provided for a maximum of 23 months and the child must not have a full-time place at a publicly-funded day-care institution. Read more
Pre-school day-care centres are for children between the age of one and five.
The Norwegian Government aims to provide full kindergarten coverage of high quality and at a low price. Kindergartens are to provide children with good opportunities for development and activities in close cooperation with the children’s homes. Read more about the objectives.
Public kindergartens are owned and run by the municipality or local government. The admission application deadline is 1 March for the following autumn and spring terms. There is a high demand for kindergartens and you may have to wait for an opening for your child to become available.
There are also many private kindergartens. Normally the same application form as for the public kindergartens is used to apply to these as well. Rates and admission requirements vary.
You can find a list of kindergartens on the municipalities’ webpages (in Norwegian).
Research institutions may also have kindergartens for their students and employers, so it is a good idea to start with your host institution.
Children spend some time outdoors every day, even during winter. Your child must bring appropriate clothing for outdoor activities. Some kindergartens serve lunch, while others require your child to bring a packed lunch.
School after-care programme (SFO)
School after-care (SFO) is offered to all children from grades 1-4. SFO offers assistance with homework, play and educational activities after school until you are able to leave work and pick up your child.
The application deadline is 1 April for grade 1 and your child is automatically enrolled for four years. However, it is also possible to enrol at other times. Ask your child’s school for more information.
Primary and lower secondary education (grunnskole) in Norway is based on the principle of an equal education for all, in inclusive co-educational schools where tuition is based on a single national curriculum that can be tailored to needs of individual pupils.
In Norway school is compulsory for ten years. Children start primary school at the age of six and finish secondary school by the age of 15. There is no tuition fee at state schools.
The national curriculum includes core subjects, curricula for individual subjects and principles and guidelines for primary and lower secondary education. Read more
You can find a list of state and private schools on Pedlex (in Norwegian) Ask your local municipality which school has openings available for your child.
Schools expect parents to play an active role in their children’s learning. Teachers maintain a close dialogue with the children’s homes through regular parent-teacher meetings. There are also parent conferences twice a year where you are able discuss your child’s development and progress at school.
The Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training is responsible for the development of primary and secondary education and is the executive agency for the Ministry of Education and Research. You can find useful information on training and schools on their website.
You might want your child to attend an international school. Here is a list.
From the age of 16 three years of upper secondary school is voluntary. There is no tuition fee, but you will have to cover equipment costs. You may apply for up to three different programmes and will be given admission to one of them. There are vocational programmes and programmes that qualify pupils to enter higher education. Pupils who have completed vocational training courses can take supplementary courses to gain higher education entrance qualifications.