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Topic: School closures and local centralization in education in rural Northern Norway

Keywords: Rural education, assimilation, school closures, teacher’s work experiences, centralization


Students from rural areas seem to do worse on scores for student attainment than their urban counterpart, and differences in attainment levels between rural and urban education in Norway are well documented but underresearched (Bæck, 2016, Roberts and Green, 2013, Kvalsund, 2009, Solstad and Andræ Thelin, 2006).

The main goal for this paper is to contextualize aspects of rural education, and this paper will discuss two specific issues and processes in rural education; how a history of assimilation on one side and school closures on the other can affect both school status, the work experiences among teachers, and in the end, affecting student results. The consequences on local communities and their opportunity structures are also of interest, as this relates to access to important services in rural areas.

The focus for this paper is the teachers’ perspective, as teachers are one of the most important factors in explaining student result (Hattie and Yates, 2014, Kristiansen, 2014, Bakken and Seippel, 2012). The data material were collected through qualitative interviews with teachers and participant observation in the first half of 2018 in a case municipality in rural Northern Norway.


BAKKEN, A. & SEIPPEL, Ø. 2012. Framgangsrike skoler under Kunnskapsløftet. Oslo: Norsk institutt for forskning om oppvekst, velferd og aldring.

BÆCK, U. D. K. 2016. Rural location and academic success—remarks on research, contextualisation and methodology. Scandinavian journal of educational research, 60, 435-448.

HATTIE, J. & YATES, G. C. R. 2014. Visible learning and the science of how we learn, Abingdon Routledge.

KRISTIANSEN, A. 2014. Teachers as Rural Educators. Alberta Journal of Educational Research, 60.

KVALSUND, R. 2009. Centralized decentralization or decentralized centralization? A review of newer Norwegian research on schools and their communities. International Journal of Educational Research, 48, 89-99.

ROBERTS, P. & GREEN, B. 2013. Researching Rural Places: On Social Justice and Rural Education. Qualitative Inquiry, 19, 10.

SOLSTAD, K. J. & ANDRÆ THELIN, A. 2006. Skolen og distrikta : samspel eller konflikt?, Bergen, Fagbokforl.

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