Administration, Finance & Educational Research
Almost all types of education are legally regulated, in most cases placing the responsibility for the direction and quality on the Ministry of Education. The Ministry of Labor has developed training and general education for the least educated and skilled members of the labor force, sometimes in competition with the Ministry of Education. In the new millennium, the trend is to bring all education and training into one comprehensive system. Most education is provided in public institutions; in most private institutions, there is public recognition and a legal framework as well as substantial public funding. Within this standardized framework, there is, guided by relative political consensus, a strong tradition for delegating responsibility to local authorities for primary school administration. While the State had a more direct influence on universities and vocational education from the 1950s to the 1970s, since then there has been a political struggle between a market-oriented management style and a local democracy based on self-administration.
The executive governing is, however, quite different in the various educational domains. Primary schools and the academic secondary schools (gymnasiums) are state-regulated but run by local authorities—municipalities for primary schools, counties for upper secondary. Likewise, municipalities and counties are responsible for general adult education in community colleges and evening classes within the legal regulation of their minimum provision. Fundamentally, these schools have been controlled and developed by teachers. Today, we see new relations: The school management is strengthened in relation to teachers while held responsible to school boards in which parents have direct executive influence. Furthermore, the pupils' council is, in general, entitled to influence all matters deemed to concern them.
Though formally State-owned, vocational schools and labor-market training centers are governed by boards with a strong representation from local and national employers' associations and trade unions. On a national level, advisory councils also play a role in the development as well as in setting priorities. The State control has been strengthened, but is now being delegated while school management is strengthened.
Universities and folk high schools are both characteristic—although very different—sectors of selfmanaging institutions funded by the state. They both feel the indirect but persistent pressure to adapt to societal trends and government concerns.
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