Modernising education: New Public Management reform in the Norwegian education system
Since the end of the 1980s, the Norwegian education system has gone through major reform, influenced largely by new managerialist ideas. Strategies to renew the public sector were promoted as the new public management (NPM). This paper investigates the way ideas connected to NPM reforms have been introduced and interpreted in the Norwegian education sector. Based on our studies of selected policy documents from the last two decades, we have identified three areas of discursive struggle. The first one is linked to ideologies and the national history of schooling, the second to contested issues of teacher professionalism and the third is associated with strategies for modernising and improving education. A main argument is that NPM reforms changed direction and sped up when Norway was listed among the 'lower-performing' countries according to Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and other international tests. Leadership and accountability became the dominant themes in Norwegian education.
Journal of Educational Administration and History
Education Systems not elsewhere classified