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Inclusion is the basic principle and goal of the Government’s educational policy. This is supported by a wide range of services focusing on in inclusion in mainstream education. The Education Act which concerns primary, lower-secondary and upper-secondary education ensures the pupils right to special needs support. The Education Act also ensures the right to adapted language education for pupils from language minorities who have a mother tongue other than Norwegian or Sami. If necessary, such pupils are also entitled to mother tongue instruction, bilingual subject teaching, or both. The formal responsibility for adapting education to the needs of all pupils, including those with special needs, lies with the county municipality and municipal sector. In higher education, there is no legal basis for the policy of equal right to education. However, according to the Act on Universities and University Colleges of 2005, higher education institutions should, where possible, provide facilities suitable for students with special needs.
The most recent policy document reinforcing the principle of inclusion in schools is White Paper No. 6 (2019-2020) [Tett på – tidlig innsats og inkluderende fellesskap i barnehage, skole og SFO]. The paper spells out early intervention and inclusive measures to ensure opportunities for all children and young people - regardless of social, cultural and linguistic backgrounds, gender, cognitive and physical differences. The paper is primarily concerned with measures relating to kindergartens, elementary and lower secondary education and after school facilities, but several measures also apply to upper secondary education. Other defining policies with emphasis on early intervention and effective learning environments for children and adults with special needs are White Paper No. 18 (2010-2011) [Læring og fellesskap: Tidlig innsats og gode læringsmiljøer for barn, unge og voksne med særlige behov] and White Paper No. 20 (2012 – 2013) [På rett vei: Kvalitet og mangfold i fellesskolen]. The Government's action plan (2016) on universal design is another important policy document dedicated to removing obstacles to the participation of young people in education and training.
Statped is the national centre of expertise within the field of special pedagogics in the education sector. Statped’s social mandate is help children, youth and adults with special education needs in the best possible way can master their own lives and participate actively in education, work and society. Statped may offer programmes for young people to overcome obstacles to their participation in formal and non-formal education and learning. These services neeed to be accessed through municipal and county-municipal agencies.
As most special needs provision and adaptive education measures are provided at local level (county municipal and county municipal level, the amount of funding and services offered vary greatly.
The legal an policy framework seeks to esnure equal access to and equal opportunities to succeed in, and successfully graduate from, formal education. Important priorities in formal education are democratic participation, cultural development and each individuals’ sense of self-esteem and identity.
Policy documents relating to social cohesion and equal opportunities through education are the Government’s action plan against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression (2017-2020) and the action plan against discrimination based on ethnicity and religion (2020-2023).