Main platform for the National Union of Students in Norway 2016-2019 – English
Adopted by the NSO (National Union of Students in Norway) at its 2016 National Conference.
The Main Platform specifies the fundamental principles of the organisation and takes precedence over other documents of the NSO.
The student and higher education
The principle of a free education and an equal right to education
Public higher education in Norway should be free of charge. Everyone should have the same rights and access to higher education. To reduce the inequality that prevents this, the needs of the individual must be accommodated. Positive action may be necessary in some cases to ensure diversity within academia.
The legal protection of the students’ learning environment needs to be strengthened. The government should insure students against accidents and injuries in the same manner as employees. To ensure that the legal rights of the students are protected, all students should have access to a student ombudsman, who should provide an independent source of assistance.
Student welfare services must create a secure framework which allows everyone to begin and complete higher education. It must be possible to be a full-time student. All students must have a safe and reliable place to live during the course of their studies.
Quality in education
Higher education must be of a high quality, internationally-oriented, research-based and socially relevant.
The evaluation of a student’s performance must be fair, based upon sound professional judgement. It should also contribute to the student’s learning process.
The student should be recognised as an academic resource, and student participation maintained at every level.
To achieve increased quality in higher education, the same emphasis should be placed on teaching qualifications as on academic qualifications when appointing academic staff. This should be reflected in the formulation of national career policies for academics.
Higher education should be an arena for accessibility and internationalisation of education, knowledge and culture.
Internationalisation should be perceived as a resource for educational institutions and therefore prioritised, both financially and administratively.
National Union of Students in Norway
Each individual institution must work towards including and integrating international students and researchers into the community of the institution.
Development through education
Higher education should lead to academic development. It should develop each student’s ability to think critically, enabling them to participate in and reflect over society, both as private individuals and as professionals.
Students are both participants and resources for the academic community; it is therefore their right and duty to take responsibility for the development of academia.
The right of students to security, academic freedom, democratic rights and education is global and must be protected. In cases where the rights of students are restricted or under threat, the National Union of Students in Norway will offer its united support as part of the international student movement.
Academia’s social responsibility
Education, research and innovation are of great value to society. Therefore, academia has a social responsibility. It is of importance in relation to how we build up and further develop society. Consequently, academia needs to be able to respond to the challenges humans are faced with, both at a national and global level. To ensure transparency and the greatest possible value to society, all publicly-funded research should be published through open channels and freely available to all.
Academia’s social responsibility also encompasses the international community through its inclusion of particularly vulnerable people in the education system.
Academic freedom is an important pillar in academia. It includes freedom of expression, the rights connected to one’s own work, and the right to choose theme, method, sources and conclusions.
The autonomy of institutions
The academic autonomy of institutions is vital to the development of independent, critical research and education. Independent research and education is valuable for society, contributing to its continual development and to the critical assessment of social institutions.
While individual researchers must have academic freedom, both research and education are dependent upon funding. It is important that this funding doesn’t come from unethical or environmentally-harmful sources.
Each individual institution should be allowed to prioritise the areas they wish to invest in through their own strategies. To ensure breadth in research however, there must be sufficient independent funding and positions to allow a significant number of researchers to carry out research outside of these prioritised areas as well.
Higher education in Norway is publicly funded and offered free of charge by public educational institutions. Private institutions may provide a supplement to what is on offer in public institutions and should be subject to the same demands. Private institutions may be partially financed by public funding, providing they don’t make a profit.
Diversity within academia
Equal opportunity is vital to create diversity in education and research. Diversity among students and researchers gives added value, in the sense that people from different backgrounds and experience provide variety in ways of thinking. Therefore, education must be accessible to everybody. Academic recruitment should be adapted to the need for ensuring diversity.